This is the second article in a three part series ‘The Berlin Beer List’. The first article was an introduction to Berlin and the third will feature the individuals who contributed their best beer picks and their stories. 


When I last left off in the first-parter of this series, we had just been given the gift that all traveling beer lovers cherish – a list of Berlin’s top beer spots compiled by three expats all making waves in the city’s evolving beer scene. We now had an expertly crafted game plan for exploring the best of beer in Berlin.

I can say without a doubt that this list features some of the best craft beer options at the moment in Berlin. For the most part, it steers clear of big beer conglomerates and focuses in on the quaint yet quintessential businesses and breweries making waves in Berlin’s emerging craft beer scene.

If you manage to pull off a visit to each and every one of these spots you will cap off your day with a smile, likely a stumble in your step and, chances are, a bit of a slur in your speech. For lasting power I would recommend sticking by the more sessionable sensibilities on the taps list, but if you like the stronger ABV’s make sure you familiarize yourself with the U-Bahn and keep some extra cash handy for a cabbie ride home. Alright, let’s take to the streets of Berlin!

The Berlin Beer List

The Barn

First things first! You’re going to need to build up a good beer-belly base. Have a little something to eat and get some caffeine in ya at local fave The Barn: world renowned specialty coffee roastery; global recognition and reach; sustainable and traceable farming; small batch; high quality beans; no blends; workshops; pop-ups; modern cafe designed with natural wood. The Barn’s got you covered for the necessary caffeine hit to propel you through a day of beer drinking, eating and exploring Berlin.

“All we do is handmade with attention to detail”

Stone Brewing Berlin

The iconic American brewery newly expanded to Berlin; huge 3,200 square meter brewery & brewpub; picturesque beer garden; retail shop & event space; set in a former gasworks facility built in 1901; red brick buildings & cobblestone streets; industrial & historic; off-the-beaten-path in the heart of Mariendorf; 100 hectolitre custom stainless steel brewhouse with a 10 hectolitre experimental system; 65 beer taps; extensive cans & bottle beer list; focused toward American hop-forward beers, Belgian & Wild Ale styles, and experimental brews.

Don’t miss the Stone beers brewed exclusively in Berlin like the Stone IPA unfiltered and dry-hopped with Callista Hops. Be sure to try experimental beers marked ‘prototype’ to catch a potentially limited brew in a moment in time. Grab a bite while you’re here: small-farm organic ingredients; sustainably sourced; slow food movement; environmentally responsible; diverse food & beer pairings.

BRLO

Named for the Slavic origin of ‘Berlin’, BRLO is a home-grown truly authentic to the core brewery located in the heart of Gleisdreieck. The brewery & brewhouse opened in late 2016 after years of nomadic brewing; the space has been constructed out of 38 shipping containers (think industrial wasteland vibes); community supported & built from the ground up by the hard work and resiliency of friends; focus on beer quality over quantity; have set out to reclaim the authenticity of traditional German beer styles brewed in small-scale batches; unfiltered (the Helles is the only exception); strong mandate to fight against large beer companies pumping out mediocre brews on a mass market level; open door policy when it comes to the source of their ingredients; hyper local.

I am a big fan of BRLO’s Berliner Weisse: 4% ABV; light malt bodied and the colour of straw; plenty of citrus fruit & floral German noble hop character on the nose; clean balanced acidity finishing with a dry tart snap on the palate. It’s a truly refreshing sour beer served sans syrup, of course.

“As a Berlin craft beer brand, we are active in our communities and sustainable in our practices”

Kaschk

Where a good quality caffeine hit meets beer buzz. Chill & cozy wood interior vibes with small picnic style outdoor seating for the warmer months; eclectic Nordic style; a good mix of local and imported craft beer; 12 rotating taps updated on their website with each beer listed alongside it’s corresponding Untappd rating; wicked bottle list with unique offerings; other booze; great music; free wifi; healthy competition on the shuffleboards; super close to the U2 Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz station.

Hops & Barley

A small house brewery open since 2008 in Friedrichshain. Small and sporty; produce a blend of traditional German beers met with experimental or ‘special beer’ styles that are brewed and released weekly; all beers are unfiltered and brewed with the use of German and American hop varietals & ingredients; they offer beer courses taught by their female brewmaster Karin; focused on beer diversity and innovation.

Birra Italian Craft Beer Bar

Viva Italia in Berlin! This unique beer bar is nestled in next to a vintage bookstore in the Prenzlauer Berg area. This cozy and community sustained project complete with a small outdoor patio opened in May 2016 as the collaborative brainchild of two Italian Master Brewers: Manuele Colonna from Rome and Giampaola Sangiorgi from Milan; 16 copper taps with three cask ales on the hand pulls featuring beers from the highly prized Italian Brewery Birrificio Lambrete; also offers light and truly authentic Italian snack foods & fare to complement your beer drinking experience. 

Salt ‘n Bone

One of Berlin’s first gastropubs in the Prenzlauer Berg area, Salt ‘n Bone cares about craft beer, cocktails and meat. Five rotating beer taps featuring exclusively local breweries; well-curated monthly bottled beer list of about 20-30 bottles (Belgian beers are the focus at the moment); they partner with breweries to host beer & food pairing events; 20 different varieties of gin on offer; classic cocktails and in-house cocktail creations; slow cooked and consciously sourced local meat dishes; salt of the earth staff to season your stay. Beers on my radar: 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Cuvee Armand & Gaston (Lambic 6% ABV) and Lindemans x Mikkeller Spontanbasil (Basil Lambic 6% ABV).

Zum Starken August

Where beer meets burlesque in Prenzlauer Berg! They offer regional & international beers; an intimate but often lively circus themed bar complete with a small stage for local artists to perform; popular acts include Wild Bingo and Porn Karaoke held on the first Saturday of every month. Definitely worth a stop because who doesn’t love good beer and a good show!

Monterey Bar

An intimate rock & roll themed bar with 250+ local and imported beers on offer both on tap & in bottles; beer cocktails; spirits and fine brown liquors; opened by music lovers in 2013 in Prenzlauer Berg; the walls are filled with eclectic weird artsy shit and classic photographs of rock legends and iconic influencers (saddled up at a hightop table we had Betty Paige staring sassy dangers at us from across the room); DJ nights; tap takeovers; tastings & food stuffs; play the night away on their old school arcade machine; free wifi and a brooding warm atmosphere.

Brewdog Berlin

Not included in the original list as it was yet to open, Brewdog Berlin Mitte is worthy of a stop on any Berlin beer itinerary. The German outpost of the iconic Scottish craft brewery, Brewdog Berlin is making waves in the local beer scene. On offer are Brewdog’s own beers (mainstays & experimentals) alongside a healthy showing of local & international guest brews; gorgeous wooded brewpub & restaurant with a casual biergarten out back; central location; and stone oven pizzas to give some much needed sustenance!

Pfefferbräu

On the site of a former brewery that shuttered its doors nearly a century ago, Pfefferbräu began brewing its own beers and serving them up to locals and tourists in 2013. You can expect to find traditional decor, a large biergarten that’s popular in the summer, and great local fare; serves exclusively their own beers, which lean toward the traditional; located in Prenzlauer Berg near Senefelderplatz station.

Dr. Pong

How best to end a day of exploring Berlin’s beer scene than playing a communal game of Ping Pong with a cheap beer in hand. This one makes the list not for its impressive selection of local craft beers (which it doesn’t have) but for the atmosphere. A diverse crowd of locals, expats and travelers congregate at Dr. Pong’s for some competitive fun until the wee hours of the morning.

Making your way through this curated list of the best beer spots in Berlin is no easy feat, and congratulations are in order if you manage to pop in at them all. The Berlin beer scene is constantly in a state of flux and I personally look forward to watching it continue to evolve. Who’s to say what additions will hit the scene and make it onto the list during our next visit to Berlin!

The third and final article in this series will delve into the individuals who contributed to this coveted Berlin beer list. Stay tuned!

XO Ayns


Berlin Beer List photos from Instagram


 

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