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To start off our exploration of Berlin’s beers we headed over to the second-smallest brewery/pub in Berlin. This “nano” brewery, Vagabund Brauerei, was different from any of the places we previously visited. The start of this business began in the homes of three boys from Maryland, USA.
One of the three owners, David Spengler, explained the set up of the pub/brewery and showed how they were able to make a small budget cover ingredients, machinery, and amenities for the pub scene. Old windows transformed into chalk-painted signs above the bar, the tables were hand-me-downs from a pub down the street, and the beer taps were old handles handcrafted from different objects. The boys truly made their dollar stretch.
Apart from their practicality, Vagabund is the only brewery to ignore the purity laws and rely strictly on “experimentation.” It sounded like something many would be interested in doing, especially in comparison to all the schooling most brew masters in Germany must complete.
This small, unique and relaxed brewery/pub is competing in an industry that relies on meticulous training and preparation while dancing to the beat of their own drum, and it was some of the best beer I had while in Berlin.
Address: Antwerpenerstr. 3 | 13353 Berlin, Germany
One thing that caught our attention when we first arrived in Berlin was the growing trend of craft beer in this city. Through word of mouth we found out about a new craft brewery in Berlin called Flying Turtle Brewery, so we stopped by their grand opening celebration in a hip and trendy neighborhood of downtown Berlin. The brewery offered cups of beer for 1 euro and free pretzels, peanuts and and breadsticks. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed with people gathered around tables chatting and playing ping pong while the sun set. The craft beer scene in Berlin is definitely on the rise, with new breweries popping up every year. Check out some of these other craft breweries during your stay in Berlin to gain an authentic experience of this growing trend: Beer4Wedding, Eschenbräu, Leibhaftig, Vagabund Brewery and many more. The Flying Turtle had great beer, so be sure to keep this in mind when you are tasting all the different beers that Berlin has to offer.
Berlin’s Tiergarten is the biggest park in the city and the second largest urban park in the country. Inside this green oasis is Café am Neuen See, a fantastic beer garden situated on the banks of the river that runs through the park. Hundreds of tables fill the garden, and on a sunny afternoon they are packed with locals and tourists enjoying the warm weather and a cold beer. After enjoying lunch or dinner, guests can stroll through the park or ride a rowboat down the river. The beer garden serves a nice selection of König Ludwig beers and wines, as well as plenty of food and desserts.
We visited Café am Neuen See on a warm Wednesday evening. Almost every table was packed with people eating dinner and drinking beers. We spent several hours enjoying our food and drinks and talking to some local Berliners. We tried the König Ludwig Weissbier; it was a very smooth beer with light carbonation and a nice banana and wheaty flavor. This beer garden is on the top of our list of the best places to enjoy a great beer in Berlin; the atmosphere is calm and relaxed, the food is good and reasonably priced, the setting was gorgeous and everyone we met was very friendly.
Address: Café am Neuen See, Straße des 17. Juni, 10557 Berlin (located inside the Tiergarten)
When in Munich, any soccer fan makes a point to take a guided tour of the Allianz Arena, home of the FC Bayern Munich team. The tour itself is 10 euros and lasts a little over an hour. People are able to see the field, press conference room, locker rooms and athlete media room and access to other behind the scene rooms.
After our tour of the arena, we found ourselves at the beer garden located in the upper deck of the stadium. Personally, I enjoyed the schnitzel with some ketchup on a soft kaiser roll with a side of Paulaner beer.
Paulaner is the only brand of beer that is sold at the arena because they are one of the largest sponsors of Bayern Munich and own the rights to having their beer be the only ones served with in the arena limits.
The waitress told us about her experience of working a home FC Bayern Munich game last year. The beer garden was packed with fans of both teams, they were crowded around the long tables and large television screens. Elizabeth, the waitress, had never seen so much beer served before to support to rowdy fans as they cheered on their teams from above the field.
Her story made each of us wish we were there to experience it although it was hard to image as we sat in the nearly deserted beer garden. The season had ended only a few days before our visit so there were far less people frequenting the arena than usual. We spent the rest of our time mulling around the expansive gift shop and sipping on our favorite blend of Paulaner beer.
During our stay in Munich, Reise PR shacked up at AO Hostel and Hotel. In the lobby there was free wifi (yay!), coolers filled with all types of soda, water and beer as well as a full bar that doubled as a coffee shop in the mornings. On nights when a local soccer team played the lobby was filled with people watching the game and enjoying the refreshments the hotel had to offer.
Quick Tip: If you stay in for the night expect to pay a little more for the beer.
Reise PR did some research by asking locals where their favorite place is to grab a drink with friends. Time and time again we were told about the Tap House. This stirred our curiosity and we spent one night marveling at the rustic decor and hundreds (yes, hundreds) of beer options. It is truly a beer lover’s heaven.
We sampled three types of Camba beer that comes from a popular microbrewery in Bavaria. The beers were amber ale, hell and weissbier (wheat beer). All were delicious and available on tap. (pictured below is Camba Amber Ale, a Reise favorite)
The most memorable beer was Schlenkerla, a smoked beer that tasted like the a fresh batch of bacon. The beer gets its smokey flavor from smoking the malt in the first part of the brewing process. If you have never experienced a smoked beer before, it is not something you should miss, and Tap House provides it at a moderate price.
Take note that the Tap House does not open until 5 p.m., so it is best to visit before or after dinner. They do provide a lengthy snacks and entree menu for those who wish to stay all night and attempt to try all 100+ beers on tap. Our group decided on the pretzels served with a side of beer cheese dip (pictured below).
Address: Rosenheimer Straße 108, 81669 München, Germany
Below: The inside of the Tap House gives visitors a rustic feel