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This is the first article in our three part series ‘The Berlin Beer List’. The second article in this series will go through our Berlin Beer List in detail, and the third will feature the individuals who contributed to our beer list and their stories. 

As the wheels hit the pavement my heart skips a beat. I’ve travelled here without a plan to discover a place I’ve always wanted to go. Berlin. I’m here for you and I’m so keen to explore your city and drink beer. After a long wait in the cabbie queue I find myself racing down the Autobahn 100km an hour in the pitch black of night to our Airbnb. My colleague, illuminated by the glow of her phone in the darkness of the backseat, searches for the directions to our new home for the next three days. I crane my eyes from the car window in an attempt to see beyond the fuzzy electrified line of street lamps blurring together. I’m searching for graffiti as the broken buildings blend in with the neon signs, and I think quietly to myself, I know there is so much more to come.

It’s unclear what time zone I’m in mentally, so it seems appropriate for us to head to a 24-hour beer bar, which means I don’t really have to be sure. The bar is a cloud of smoke. Through the haze I notice the red brick is fully exposed with etchings from lovers and past lives, intermixed with a healthy array of carefully hand drawn dicks. I shuffle up to the bar and order my first beer in Berlin: a Berliner Kindl Weisse. The bartender hands me the bottle and the long glistening glass. I pour on the angle and swirl the yeast in the last remaining drops in the bottom of the bottle and tip. The head puffs up and dips as the beautiful aromas unfurl like the vapours coming from the regulars sitting at the bar nearby eyeing us shrouded in a cloud of smoke. It fills my nose with the scent of banana, coriander, lemon and perhaps a hint of baking spice – but I might just be delirious. It’s dry and subtly tart, balanced in an amicable marriage of yeast meets lactic acidity, and it’s my beer of choice for the evening.

We sit at a table tucked away in the back next to a man who will sit on a stool pumping change into the casino machine for the rest of the night. After hours, we finally settle up just as a man starts strumming lightly on his guitar. We consider another round but the bartender puts his foot down on the impromptu jam session. We walk home in the cool and inviting, fresh and crisp late summer night’s air. I hope that man becomes rich tonight, I think to myself, like the way I feel.

Berlin Beer List - Street at Night

While this late night experience is the perfect foray into our Berlin beer coverage, I’m focused on finding our next pursuits to round out our time in this ever-evolving city. Let’s hit the ground running by talking to beer loving locals to get the latest and greatest insight into the city’s dynamic beer scene. Berlin is rife with expats and beer enthusiasts, and beer is inherent to the history and cultural make-up of the country. They bring to the table (or bar) a creative infusion of forward beer thinking that is paving the way for a new generation of beer drinker in Germany.

Anywhere you travel, you can gain access to invaluable beer advice and suggestions of the best places to go by picking the brains of hard working people fuelled by their passion for good beer, whom you’ll often find behind the bar. A polite conversation with the bartender at the next place that entices you can provide you with all you need to know to enjoy the best beer bars of the city, giving you what I like to call “The List” – the gateway to the best beers in a city.

Berlin Beer List - Bierkombinat Kreuzberg

If your travels, like mine, are heavily motivated by suds, the best way to avoid the tourist traps, save time and start drinking the good stuff is to seek out “The List”, a roundup of local haunts from those in the know. The following are four important rules of thumb to affectively procure “The List” along your travels:

If you’re on a time crunch be sure to ask for suggestions on the best time to visit each bar, the suggested order and how much time you should allocate at each location. This way you ensure that you visit when the bar is open and bumping and avoid finding yourself held up in a taxi with a mounting meter or derailed by long transit times.

A little self-research in advance goes a long way. Jot down a few places you might like to visit beforehand and cross-reference your list with theirs to decide the places you simply can’t miss out on.

If you’re old school like me you always carry a notebook, but if not just jot the info down on your phone or bar napkin or whatever suits your fancy (or just write it on your palm – I’ve done it).

Share the wealth. If there is a particular beer that you love from back home bring it along to sweeten the exchange. Pop that bottle and pour one out for the buds. Beer is a great way to make connections to last a lifetime and you will be well prepared to hit the bricks with beer on the brain.

During a few beer fueled days in Berlin with my fellow Prostly writers, we were lucky enough to procure our list from three expats stationed in the city. Clifton, Matthew and Daniel each have a unique beer background and were able to provide a local’s perspective on how to best experience the city’s beer culture. The list may look like chicken-scratch, but it is a beautiful gift when visiting for a short or long while in a foreign land. Stay Tuned!

My second article in this series will go through our Berlin Beer List in detail, while the third will delve into the individuals, and their stories, who contributed to our coveted beer list. Stay tuned!

Berlin Beer List - Aynsley

XO Ayns

Photos by Lauren Barth, Flo Karr and Paul Schmuck

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