Back from Berlin (again)

As mentioned in the previous post, I just came home from a one week vacation in Berlin. The Berlin trip was quite relaxing, and I both drank some good beer there and brought home a couple of bottles. I visited Das Meisterstück, BrewBaker and Berlin Bier Shop. Das Meisterstück had some Firestone Walker (my absolute favourite brewery) and Braufactum beer available, so bought a bottle each of Pale 31, Parabola and 14th Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker and Progusta from Braufactum. From Berlin Bier Shop I bought a variety of different German microbrews, including Fritzale IPA, BrauKunstKeller Laguna IPA, BrauKunstKeller CaiPiEy, BrauKunstKeller Choco Chili Stout, Bavarias Best IPA, Hopfenstopfer Christmas Strong Ale, Camba Bavaria Nelson Sauvin Hefeweizen, Schoppe Bräu XPA and Tasty Lady (which is a Dutch beer). At Berlin Bier Shop I also had a nice chat with Rainer (the owner and a very friendly guy) and drank some Alesmith Speedway Stout with him. An incredibly complex beer, featuring tones of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and liquorice together with a full and thick body. A very good beer and well worth the hype.

At Brewbaker I had their IPA from tap, and it was an average IPA, featuring mainly grassy bitter hop tones. Nothing spectacular, but a tasty beer without any off-flavors (which was not the case when I tried the beer from bottle a year ago). As I wasn’t able to fit that many beers in my luggage home, I drank some in the apartment we were staying in. The Pale 31 was amazing and the best American Pale Ale I’ve ever had with its lovely hop aroma, amazing balance and high drinkability. Firestone Walker hasn’t disappointed me yet. Braufactum’s Progusta was also an average IPA (brewed with Citra hops), but it lacked a bit of hop flavour and aroma. I drank it directly after the Pale 31, and even though the Pale 31 has travelled halfway around the world, it still packed more of a hop punch than the Progusta. I’ve had Fritzale’s IPA before, but the beer seems to have had a slight recipe change, since Cascade had been added to the hop bill and the IBUs had dropped to 45. This was again a tasty IPA (and definitely one of the best German IPAs I’ve had), though maybe slightly light on hop flavour. Would definitely buy again. Camba Bavaria’s Nelson Sauvin Hefeweizen was a strange brew (nothing technically wrong with it), combining a traditional Hefeweizen with Nelson Sauvin hops (Schneider is also famous for this combination). I’m not a big fan of Hefeweizens, but the Nelson Sauvin hops actually made the beer more enjoyable. Not something I would buy again, but definitely worth a try. The final beer I had in Berlin was Bavarias Best IPA. I was very pleasantly surprised with this beer, and it was the second best beer on the trip for me (after Pale 31). The beer featured a combination of a caramelly maltiness with huge resiny hop flavours and a nice bitterness. Really my kind of IPA, and it was almost bordering to Imperial IPA-territory. My favourite German IPA thus far. Definitely try if you get the chance! The brewmaster is apparently American, and he seems to know how to brew a hoppy beer.

I’ve now been to Berlin six times, and it is nice to see that the craft beer scene in Berlin has grown a little every time I come here. The markets and pubs are still dominated by the traditional beer styles, but it is nice to see new craft brewers and brew pubs popping up in the city. Berlin has so much else to offer as well (I love photographing in Berlin), and am eagerly waiting to get back there again! Rainer (from Berlin Bier Shop) mentioned that a new craft brewer has started brewing and selling his beer in Markthalle IX (a market hall in Kreuzberg), and he recommended paying a visit, but I unfortunately didn’t have time on this trip. It is probably worth checking out, and I will definitely pay a visit on my next trip!

An unrelated photograph I took during the trip at an abandoned Jugendhochschule outside of Berlin.


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