Germany is world renowned for its beer culture, so it is no wonder that Germans pride themselves on drinking excellent beer. Though the scene is dominated by large scale breweries, in Berlin a craft brewery revolution is underway. So stop drinking that watered-down, industrialized Pilsner or Helles; with great choices like those on the following list, you really have no more excuses.
Zum Starken August
Zum Starken August is an unexpected treat in Prenzlauer Berg. This bar was completely renovated in order to pay homage to one of the owner’s circus roots. Personal touches, such as the old family circus photos which line the wall leading to the bathroom, lend a nostalgic quality and contribute to the overall theme. Take a seat on one of the comfy sofas and watch one of the many eclectic performances offered, such as burlesque shows, wild bingo stories, live performances, and porno karaoke. Zum Starken August offers six international and local craft beers on tap and has over 20 different styles of craft bottles on hand.
HOME is a must-see the next time you are out in Friedrichshain. This world beer bar boasts a chic interior with rustic floors and exposed brick walls that will make you feel right at, well, home. With more than 30 bottles from around the world and eight craft beers on tap, there are options for even the pickiest beer drinkers. HOME goes to great lengths to make sure it has unique beers, such as Yeastie Boys from New Zealand and Little Creatures from Australia. Try one of the guest beers on the rotating tap or HOME’s very own ‘beer float,’ made from Left Hand Milk Stout (Nitro). Stop by for a beer and join the soon-to-be weekly quiz night, or dance the night away at their next ‘HAUS Party,’ the first weekend of every month; be sure to check out their website for the party’s theme!
Vagabund Brauerei started when three American friends taught themselves how to brew. This nano-brewery and tap room, which is tucked away on a quiet street in Wedding, near U6 station Seestrasse, is the perfect place to enjoy a craft beer and talk shop with one of the founders, who usually tend bar. Vagabund only brews in small batches, which not only assures the quality and taste of the beer itself, but also allows for a little creativity in brewing different experimental ales. When The Culture Trip visited, on tap was Vagabund’s American Pale Ale, a Belgian-style Tripel double IPA and a smoked ale called the Social Smoker. Due to the small amounts brewed, the beer styles rotate quite frequently, though there are always a few regulars on tap. You can check the Facebook page to see what’s on tap for the current week. Even though Vagabund only brews ales, it also offers a variety of different styles of local and foreign craft beers in bottles for purchase.
If you are looking for something a little edgy, Monterey Bar in Prenzlauerberg might just be for you. Owners Adie and Vanessa opened the Rock n Roll styled bar in 2013. They pride themselves on combining their two favorite things, music and beer and creating a cozy, friendly, and unpretentious atmosphere where everyone is welcome. With over 150 beers from all over the world, Monterey’s beer is almost as eclectic as the music it plays, which encompasses everything from ’70s rock to metal. Monterey also has a wide variety of quality whiskey to choose from if you are looking for something a little bit stronger.
A Wedding institution, Eschenbräu has been brewing traditional German beer since 2001. It offers Alt Berliner Dunkel, Hefe Weizen, Pilsner, and Saisonbiere, though the line-up changes every so often. At prices that can’t be beat for craft beer, Eschenbräu is a great place to meet friends and drink the night away. If you’re the type of person who likes to enjoy a meal with beer, then why not bring your own picnic! The wait staff will even provide you with plates and cutlery. If you can’t be bothered to plan ahead, fear not, they also serve truly delicious Flammkuchen, which is a German-style pizza. Located near Leopold Platz (U9, U6) in the basement of a student dorm, Eschenbrau can be a little bit tricky to find, especially in winter, when the Biergarten is closed. However, on a cold-winter night this is the coziest place to go, as the bar gets nice and toasty. In the summer, the courtyard turns into a giant Biergarten, making it a great place to drink with a large group.
Located in the cellar of the infamous Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, Heidenpeters has been brewing small batch beer since 2012. Heidenpeters brews small batches, assuring the quality and taste of the beer, then kegs and bottles the beer for restaurants, bars, and bottle shops. It has a small ‘market stand’ inside the Markthalle where you can try six of the delicious craft brews. You can usually find on tap the American Pale Ale, IPA, and some experimental brews made with herbs or barrel-aged. As a German brewery, Heidenpeters pushes the boundaries of how one should traditionally make and brew beer, and experiments to produce unique-tasting beer. Whether you are a local, a tourist, a curious customer or a total craft beer geek, Heidenpeters is a great place to try something a little different.
Castle Pub – Craft Bar
A favorite among many locals and expats alike, Castle Pub – Craft Bar boasts the largest selection of craft beer in Berlin, with 20 different craft beers on tap each week and over 100 bottles. Castle Pub believes that ‘If you can’t enjoy a craft beer unless it is served amid chic, brown leather furnishings and quietly pumping house music, then Castle is not for you.’ Rightly so, as the atmosphere reflects an old-school dive bar that has taken root in a cozy Irish pub. At Castle Pub, the importance lies in the best tasting beer, and customers are encouraged to drink with purpose, as well as sample the many unique craft beers available. Castle Pub also hosts a variety of events, ranging from weekly quiz nights every Monday, comedy nights, and Nintendo 64 Mario Kart nights where you can enjoy your beer with a bit of nostalgic competition.
KASCHK‘s mission is to offer a space for people to enjoy a great coffee and craft beer. A modern and warm design offers the perfect setting to relax with friends. At KASCHK, you will find a selection of mostly Nordic and German craft beer, quality coffee from roasters in Berlin and other Nordic countries, and local baked goods. It also has something that no other bar on the list has: shuffleboards. In fact, KASCHK is the home to Germany’s first shuffleboards, where you can play a fun round while enjoying four different beers on a tasting board. Come test your shuffleboard skills at one of the shuffle tournaments, where you can compete against brewers and baristas from Berlin.