Rachel Stern took a tour of some of Berlin's best breweries, sampling their unique and often unconventional array of flavors.
No one needs their arm twisted to sample their way through Berlin's best breweries.
There is no doubt that Germany is known worldwide for its beers. Yet only over the past few years have a handful of artisan crafters been hitting the established scene, bringing inspiration from around the globe. Read on for some of our favorites.
Named after the old Slavic origin of the word “Berlin”, BRLO (Schöneberger Str. 16, brlo.de) is one of the newest additions to Berlin's craft beer scene. Situated in a metallic and sprawling two-story space next to Park am Gleisdreieck, the brewery not only offers a creative selection of craft beers, but also delicately layered food platters which appear to be abstract works of art. Wash down the beet and ricotta cheese appetizer with some of their beer tasters, including the slightly bitter German IPA and fruity pale ale. Migrate to Neukölln's neighborhood newbie
Berliner Berg (Kopfstr. 59, berlinerberg.com), known for its five distinct handcrafted flavors. Try the light and fruity California Wheat, made with hops from America's Golden State, or the darker Irish Stout, made from Irish and German malt, lending it a rich chocolate and coffee flavor. Situated in a polished but sparsely lit space, with candles burning from empty beer bottles, the brewery boasts a distinctly hip Berlin atmosphere to match its trendsetting tastes.
Head to Wedding in northern Berlin where the Two Fellas
Brewery (Hochstr. 2, twofellas. beer) is hidden in the Castle Pub, known for its packed sports viewings and Monday Trivia Nights. Especially worth sampling are the Rogue Agent Pale Ale, which pairs a slight maltiness with whirlpool chinook hops, and also the unique and refreshing Blood Orange Wit, a Belgian-style witbeer paired with natural blood orange juice and coriander.
Run by three Americans who brew their own beer, the nearby Vagabund Brauerei (Antwerpener Str. 3, www.vagabundbrauerei. com) in Wedding is a cozy but perpetually packed nano brewery. The brews are prepared in batches to allow the distinct flavors to seep in. Try the smooth and crisp Szechuan Saison, made with wild yeast and crushed coriander seeds, or the malty Social Smoker. While they don't serve food, they allow you to bring in your own eats from outside – a notable trait in a 'hood with many good late-night döner kebab options.
Also well worth the trek up north is Eschenbräu ( Triftstr. 67, www.eschenbraue.de) a homey hidden gem that brews a unique assortment, such as the surprisingly tasty Rauchbier (smoked beer with a meaty flavor). If you feel like branching out from beer, the establishment also distills its own fruit schnapps and squeezes all-natural apple juice. In warmer weather, bask outside below the stars in the massive patio.
The beer variety at BRLO. Inset, below: Vagabund Brauerei.