Tag Archives: Beer

The International Berlin Beer Festival – Craft Beer on the Biermeile

The crowd at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

It’s International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) time in Berlin so this weekend is the perfect time to expand your drinking horizons whilst you catch some sun.

Karl-Marx-Allee during the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Now in it’s 18th year, the festival takes over the 2.2km stretch of Karl-Marx-Allee from Strausberger Platz to Frankfurter Tor (the Biermeile) and 240 breweries from 87 countries are serving 2,400 different beers.

A Mobile Brewery at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) Craft Beer Sign at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) Englische Biere (English Beers) stand at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

The motto of the 2014 event is “craft-brewed beer specials”.  Craft beer is a real buzzword at the moment and there is a huge appetite in Berlin for beers that depart from the German tradition and the strict laws of the Rheinheitsgebot.

Störtebecker Strandkorb (Beach Basket) at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Beer Contraption at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Buildings on Karl-Marx-Allee during the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) If you would like to sample a lot of different beers I would suggest that you buy a glass – €3.50 at one of the Information stalls.  A 0.2l refill at any of the beer stands will then cost you €2 and you don’t need to queue to get your Pfand (deposit) back.

Sunset at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Beer fans should download Untappd to keep track of the beers they taste – the app allows you to rate and comment on the beer you drink, with the option to add photos to your ‘untaps’ and the usual social features.  If you’re on Untappd you can find me – andberlin.

Brauerei Zwönitzer India Pale Ale at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

My beer recommendations? My favourite beer of the evening was the India Pale Ale from Brauerei Zwönitz – their stall is towards the Frankfurter Tor end of the Biermeile.  For fans of Weissbier, a friend told me (enthusiastically and repeatedly) that the Weisse from Hofbräuhaus Traunstein is the best in the world – you can find it at U-Bahnhof Strausberger Platz.

The eighteenth International Berlin Beer Festival (18. Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) is on from 1 to 3 August 2014.

Photos From My Phone – May

Here are my May highlights from Berlin as illustrated by the photos I took with my phone.  Some of these photos have appeared in my Twitter feed, on my Facebook page or my Instagram account.

Early in May I went back to Burger de Ville and tried the Funky Pommes, which come drizzled in Garlic butter and topped with parsley – I recommend you try them for yourself.

Funky Pommes at Burger de Ville in Berlin

I finally made it to see the Wannsee in daylight and it was so good I made a second trip and both times I stopped for a drink in the Biergarten at Loretta am Wannsee.

Beer in the Biergarten at Loretta am Wannsee

And I was joined by an uninvited guest…

Hornet  on a beer glass in the Biergarten at Loretta am Wannsee

Street Food Thursday has become one of the highlights of my week and I was back again almost every week in May.  The sandwiches at Big Stuff Smoked BBQ are just that good.

Pork Belly Sandwich from Big Stuff Smoked BBQ at Street Food Thursday at Markthalle IX in Berlin

I spotted this drunk Octopus looking for a fight at Burgeramt

Drunk Octopus looking for a fight at Burgeramt in Berlin

A brief spell of sunny weather (a false summer) meant that the flowers started to bloom in all their glory.

Summer Blooms in Berlin

I took a wander around the Hansaviertel for the first time in ages and marvelled at the architecture.

Balconies in the Hansaviertel in Berlin

Mauerpark is only a short walk from my flat so I made my first (of many) visits of the summer to the Bearpit Karaoke.

Bearpit Karaoke at Mauerpark in Berlin

I spotted a beautiful old Ford Falcon parked on Paul-Lincke-Ufer…

Ford Falcon Details

And I was back at Mauerpark to take in the sunset

Sunset From Mauerpark in Berlin

Fingers crossed and thumbs pressed (even though doing both at the same time is painful) that June’s selection will involve a lot more sunshine.

Reasons I Miss Berlin #2 – Schmankerl-Hüttn (Fun With Friends)

Schmankerl-Hüttn at Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin

Photo courtesy of Gilly – http://blog.gilly.ws

Schmankerl-Hüttn is an Austrian ski hut themed bar and restaurant at the Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz, open from 10:00 every day until 6 January 2013, which has an Aprés-Ski-Party every night 19:00 to 24:00.

A night out at Schmankerl-Hüttn is all about Schlager, which is the kind of cheesy pop music that you would hear at the Eurovision Song Contest, beer and Jägermeister.

Beer and Jägermeister at Schmankerl-Hüttn at Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin

Photo courtesy of Gilly – http://blog.gilly.ws

You can expect to see people dancing on the benches, though getting up on the tables is not allowed.

The Hüttn experience is made all the more enjoyable if you have friends who seem to know the lyrics (and in some cases the actions) to every song.

With a little help from Shazam and a song lyrics website, I’ve had my share of sing-a-longs too.

Singing along to Westerland at Schmankerl-Hüttn at Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin

Photo courtesy of Gilly – http://blog.gilly.ws

As an example of the Schlager that gets played here’s Cowboy und Indianer, the first song I heard at Schmankerl-Hüttn.

Olaf Henning – Cowboy und Indianer

 

A night at Schmankerl-Hüttn certainly wouldn’t qualify as sophisticated entertainment but for me it’s everything a good night out should be – it rivals Rock n Roll Bingo in the fun stakes and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Internationales Berliner Bierfestival (International Berlin Beer Festival)

Strausberger Platz during the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

A little over a week ago, Berlin hosted the 16th International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) with the theme ‘Beers of the region of the Baltic Sea’.

In 2011 the festival set a Guinness World Record for the longest beer garden in the world at 1,820 metres.  This year the Beer Mile (sic) was 2.2 km long and stretched all the way along Karl-Marx-Allee from Frankfurter Tor to Strausberger Platz.

Crowds line Karl-Marx-Allee during the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

The beers available weren’t just confined to the festival theme though and there were some ‘exotic’ flavours including a Banana Beer that got the big thumbs down from James of überlin.

A Banana Beer stall at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

The stallholders had lots of ploys to entice the crowds: some were decorated in bright colours; some covered in merchandise; but the most popular stalls were those staffed by young women in sexy nurses uniforms – the owners having realised that cleavage, stockings and suspenders were a big hit with beer drinkers (sorry no pictures).

The Augustiner stall at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Balloons at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

A sweet stall at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

Eis Pavillon: A stall at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

There were plenty of musicians along the length of the festival entertaining the crowds with everything from classic rock to German Schlager.

An Accordion Player entertains the crowd at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

There was even a piper playing.

An Piper entertains the crowd at the International Berlin Beer Festival (Internationales Berliner Bierfestival)

One thing that struck me as very different to beer festivals in the UK was the cross-section of people who were there.  And the atmosphere was certainly a stark contrast to Berlin’s (often self-consciously) über-hip bar and club scenes.

The eighteenth International Berlin Beer Festival (18. Internationales Berliner Bierfestival) will take place from 1-3 August 2014.

Biergärten in the Tiergarten

The Biergarten at Café am Neuen See in the Tiergarten in Berlin

As well as being an oasis of calm in the heart of Berlin and a great place to lay in the grass and catch some sun, the Tiergarten is home to two of my favourite outdoor drinking spots in Berlin.

Walking around such a huge park can be very thirsty work and the Biergärten (Beer Gardens) of Schleusenkrug and Café am Neuen See are great places to have a beer by the water.

Schleusenkrug

The sign of Schleusenkrug, a Biergarten in the Tiergarten in Berlin

Schleusenkrug is just a short walk from Tiergarten or Zoologischer Garten S-Bahn stations and alongside the fences of the Berlin Zoo.

As well as serving great beer (I like the Veltins here) there is a kitchen and barbecue grill serving sausages and some traditional German dishes.

Those customers lucky enough to get a seat by the Landwehrkanal can watch boats negotiating the locks after which the Biergarten was named.

The one drawback of the location is the proximity of the rail tracks, which means that the peace is broken by passing trains.

The bar at the Biergarten at Schleusenkrug in the Tiergarten in Berlin

Veltins at Schleusenkrug and the pirate ship in the background in the Tiergarten in Berlin

The Biergarten at Schleusenkrug in the Tiergarten in Berlin

Café am Neuen See

The sign of Café am Neuen See in the Tiergarten in Berlin

Café am Neuen See is a larger Biergarten and gets its name from its position on the banks of the Neuer See (New Lake), where you can work up a thirst by rowing a boat.

Löwenbräu is my drink of choice here and, though I haven’t eaten them, the stonebaked pizzas look and smell great and there is a restaurant in addition to the Biergarten.

The bar at the Biergarten of Café am Neuen See in the Tiergarten in Berlin

Löwenbräu at the Biergarten of Café am Neuen See in the Tiergarten in Berlin

People in the Biergarten of Café am Neuen See in the Tiergarten in Berlin

You can walk from one Biergarten to the other with the Zoo on one side and the Landwehrkanal on the other.  You even have a view into some of the animal enclosures and can see the Llamas for example.

The trees at both Schleusenkrug and Café am Neuen See are strung with lights so that the drinking can continue into the night.

Aapka Indian Restaurant

The logo of Aapka Indisches (Indian) Restaurant in Berlin from the menuFollowing hot on the heels (pun intended) of my Thai restaurant recommendation, a great curry in Berlin.

My first Berlin curry experience was a massive disappointment – salty but bland – so when überlin recommended Aapka Indisches Restaurant in the comments on their Buddha Republic post I was keen to give it a go.  James and Zoë had visited the restaurant on Maybachufer but in a stroke of good fortune there are two Aapka restaurants in Berlin and the other one is on Kastanianallee, a short stroll from my flat.

I know it’s stereotypically British but I love Chicken Tikka Masala and it’s the dish that I use to gauge the quality of an Indian Restaurant.

The Chicken Tikka Masala at Aapka Indisches (Indian) Restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

This wasn’t like any Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve had in Britain though – the sauce wasn’t creamy and was much spicier than I’ve had before – more like a Tikka Green Masala – but it was absolutely delicious.

I had a Naan too but was too eager to eat to delay my meal any longer by taking a photograph – sorry.

I had my first meal at Aapka with friends visiting from England, one of whom, Gareth is a bit of a curry connoisseur, having spent his University years in Bradford, the curry capital of Britain.

Gareth had the Mutton Gosht Banglori and declared it to be delicious.

Aapka proves that you can get a curry that is packed full of flavour and well spiced in Berlin.

If that has made you hungry I may as well complete the set and make you thirsty as well.  What else could you wash a curry down with?

A glass of Veltins Pilsner at Aapka Indisches (Indian) Restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Like most restaurants and cafés on Kastanianallee, Aapka has outdoor seating, ideal for hot summer nights.  Watch out for the gang of sparrows though – they are happy to attempt daring raids on the rice bucket on your table while you eat!

Barcomi’s Deli – Lunch in a Berlin Courtyard

Paulaner Münchner Hell & Menu at Barcomi's Deli in Berlin

Having worked up an appetite walking in the snow I decided that today would be a good day to go back to Barcomi’s Deli.

Barcomi’s Deli isn’t the kind of place that is easy to happen upon.  It is in a back Hof (courtyard) between Sophienstrasse and Gipsstrasse in the art gallery district of Berlin’s Mitte.  I had seen it in an edition of Real Cities on the BBC News website so knew where to find it when I first visited.

Cynthia Barcomi moved to Berlin from New York in 1985, working as a professional dancer.  She opened her first café and coffee shop, Barcomi’s in Kreuzberg’s Bergmannstrasse in 1994, selling her own cakes and Barcomi’s Deli in Mitte followed in 1997, offering a more extensive menu.

Barcomi’s has seating for 90 indoors and 50 outdoors (in warmer weather) and I was lucky enough today to get a booth in the ground floor of the Deli, which wasn’t as busy as on my previous visit.  It’s also possible to get food to takeaway for those who want to eat on the hoof or who have only temporarily escaped the clutches of work.

As before, I ordered the Club Sandwich auf Kartoffelbrot (A smoked turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise double-decker combination on Potato Bread) and a half-litre of Paulaner Münchner Hell.

The Club Sandwich auf Kartoffelbrot (Potato Bread) at Baromi's Deli in Berlin

Now, that’s what I call a sandwich and it’s big on flavour as well as size.  The bill for the sandwich and a beer was EUR 10.50 (plus a tip) and great value in my opinion.

My only problem with the Club Sandwich at Barcomi’s is that it’s so good and so filling that on both of my visits I haven’t had any room left to try one of the delicious cakes, or four of them – they offer a Probierteller (tasting plate), which is 4 half pieces of your choice.

I had a look at the Deli counter on my first visit and the Devil’s Food Cake was virtually screaming ‘EAT ME’ at me.

There’s only one answer – I’m going to have to go back to Barcom’s Deli one day after a smaller lunch elsewhere and have cake.

BIER

Bottles of BIER, produced by a Berlin Brewery with a no advertising policyOn my travels today I stumbled across a beer called BIER in a supermarket near Treptower Park.  I read about this relatively new Berlin beer on Slow Travel Berlin the other day and was keen to try some.   The non-brand was started by two Berliners who describe the concept on their website as a reaction to ‘the visual pollution of the people of the urban living environment’.

They describe the difficulty of marketing to an over-stimulated consumer.  And state that they have chosen not to create even more publicity, the solution of most marketing professionals they suggest, but to ‘do without all the glitter and gold and gilt-edged promises and concentrate on the essential, the content’.

Of course, what they are doing is creating their own kind of publicity, slow-burning but effective, in the mould of Banksy’s secret identity – create a story rather than an advert.  Let others advertise for you.

I wanted to try it because it is called BIER.  Simple, straightforward and what I like drinking.