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As I am sampling beers all around the world on my travels, I’ve noticed that I’ve grown increasingly fond of craft beers in recent years, especially in the U.S. where you can find some extraordinary micro brews. And over the past few years I’ve noticed that this craft brew trend has spread all over the globe – most recently, I’ve tried some very good craft beers in Mexico and Colombia. But what about my home country Germany?Germany is famous for its excellent beer, yes, but did you know that up until a few years ago it was nearly impossible to find IPAs, Stout’s, Porter’s and other such varieties of craft brews? That’s because of a thing called the German Reinheitsgebot, which translates to German beer purity law and regulated what was allowed to be called beer: only water, barley and hop were allowed ingredients.
So an IPA or a Stout couldn’t even be sold as beer! Given the fact that craft brews have become so popular in other countries, however, and German beer manufacturers feared they were missing out on the chance to make more money, they started to forgo the typical German brewing techniques and ingredients and have started varieties of beers that you wouldn’t find anywhere in Germany as little as ten years ago.And because of the rapidity this trend is growing with, people are talking about a craft beer revolution in Germany. If you think this might be a little exaggerated, look at the numbers: within a decade, the number of micro breweries in Germany has tripled from 300 to 900, and in Berlin alone more than 20 micro breweries have popped up! Berlin is one of the best cities in Germany to visit for craft beer aficionados, and if your trip to Germany’s capital is too short to try all of them, I’ve put together a list of the 5 very best places for craft beer in Berlin:
Vagabund Brauerei, created by three friends from the U.S. with the help of a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 is a must-visit for craft brew lovers in Berlin. Located in Wedding, you find American Pale Ales here, a Coffee Stout, and other seasonally changing beers. In addition to the beers on tap, you find two fridges filled with a superb selection of craft brew bottles from the UK, US and Germany.
Address: Antwerpener Str. 3, 13353 Berlin
Hops and Barley is one of the most popular craft brew bars in Berlin, and rightly so! Not only can you find an excellent dark beer, wheat beer and Pilsener here, but they also make their own Cider. Hops and Barley also has some excellent snacks to go with their brews, for example the brewer’s grain bread.
Address: Wühlischstraße 22/23, 10245 Berlin
3 Das Meisterstück
Das Meisterstück might seem like a classic German beer stube (beer pub) at first, but don’t be fooled: you won’t find just lame ol’ German Pilseners here – instead the restaurant defines itself as craft stube, because, you guessed it, only craft brews are on tap here, including a badass Pilsener that puts German pilseners to shame. While you’re here, make sure to also try the excellent German food they serve.
Address: Hausvogteiplatz 3-4 10117 Berlin
4 Eschenbräu Brauerei
Eschenbräu Brauerei is one of Berlin’s oldest craft brew establishments, if not the oldest one. Here you find German-style brews as well as seasonally varying beers, and there’s a beer garden during the summer months that makes for a wonderful German beer garden experience – not to be missed! Plus: it’s in the Wedding neighborhood, like Vagabund, so can you visit two of Berlin’s best craft brew pubs in one go.
Kaschk is not only a place for beer lovers, but also for coffee lovers – so of course this place had to make my list.. Where else in Berlin, or the world, can I drink first-rate versions of both of my favorite beverages?! During the day, baristas serve professionally made espresso drinks, and at night you can talk beer with the knowledgeable bartenders. Although, thinking about it, I had a beer flight here at around noon, so don’t worry about being too early for a beer. The bar itself has a hipster vibe, and the various craft beers on tap are all topnotch micro brews – not only local German brews but also a number of tasty Scandic beers, since Kaschk is run by a Norwegian
Address: Linienstraße 40, 10178 Berlin
Other places to sample craft beer in Berlin:
If you’re not necessarily interested in trying a local beer but want a wide variety of global craft brews, head to Monterey Bar in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, where you find over 80 different craft brews from all around the world. Address: Danziger Str. 61, 10435 Berlin
Berlin Bier Shop
The Berlin Bier Shop probably has the largest craft beer selection in any of the city’s many beer stores, and you’ll find an extensive selection of unusual craft beers here for you to take back home. Address: Kirchtraße 23, 10557 Berlin
This is a fantastic map of all the places that offer craft beers in Berlin – I recommend dedicating an entire day to touring Berlin’s craft brew temples, and this map is the easiest way to make sure you hit up all the right spots.Original Berlin craft beer tour
On this 3-hour tour, you’ll get to sample at least three local craft brews with guide Cliff, who is clearly passionate about everything beer and will introduce you to some of the city’s best breweries. Of course you could visit them on your own, but the experience will be much enhanced with Cliff’s entertaining and informative narrative. Not only will you learn some interesting facts about craft beer, but also about the craft beer scene in Berlin, and recommendations for other places to check out.
Still looking for accommodation in Berlin? Check out Expedia’s top picks for hotels in Berlin.
Gadget tip for craft beer fans:
Check out the BottleKeeper, a must-have gadget for craft beer fans who dislike warm beer as much as I do! As the name suggests, BottleKeeper keeps your favorite beer cold and safe with its neoprene lining, extra padding and custom designed caps that seal the inner beer bottle. The BottleKeeper comes in several colors and the best thing: it fits not only one size of bottles, but several ones! And it looks like an unassuming water bottle, should you ever want to consume beer where it might not quite legal 😉 Order your BottleKeeper here.