Berlin excels at the Handgemacht-Brauereifest
Berlin excels in beer. Berlin excels in breweries. Berlin excels in beer festivals. And the 2019 spring edition of Handgemacht-Brauereifest will once again excel in Berlin.
Taking its cue from the weekly Street Food market in Berlin’s KulturBrauerei — the industrial landmark in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district, the former home of the Schultheiss Brauerei — the Handgemacht-Brauereifest first combined the best in local food with some of the best local beers and breweries in 2016
The event continues to satisfy and delight visitors in 2019, with 15-20 local, national and international breweries presenting their best beers alongside some of the finest local Street Food on Friday, May 17 and on Saturday, May 18. Add live music, beer tastings, free admission, a great atmosphere and an excellent location, and Handgemacht-Brauereifest is promising to be another great couple of days. It’s one of the Berlin beer year highlights, so an event not to be missed.
Bräugier BrewPub Prenzlauer Berg
It is a rare thing to fortuitously encounter for the first time a brewery that makes a long-lasting impression. It happens occasionally. It seems to happen a lot in Berlin — whether it’s a Berlin or German brewery or not. BRÄUGIER is a great example. At a beer event last year alongside hundreds of other breweries, the quality of the beers from BRÄUGIER placed it amongst only a handful of outstanding brewers; and the attitude and conviviality of the team involved propelled what at first seemed a great brewery with great beers into the realm of astonishing.
If you’re in any doubt, visit Handgemacht-Brauereifest to meet BRÄUGIER, try the beers and understand the sentiment.
Despite still being a relatively new brewery with an attitude that many others spend years trying to develop, BRÄUGIER recently opened its own brewpub in Prenzlauer Berg – a short stroll from Handgemacht-Brauereifest; ideal for a side-visit – in which it serves 8 of its own beers and 4 guests. The brewpub’s atmosphere and design, of course, aligning with the general industrial chicness and mid-20th century architectural gems of Prenzlauer Berg.
The beers themselves are either contemporary versions of German classics or a variety of international favourites. Either way, the beers are authentic, innovative and diverse.
BRLO is one of the big names on the Berlin Craft Beer scene. From its bottling facility in Spandau and its monumental Kreuzberg brewhouse and taproom (adjacent to the Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station and constructed from almost 40 shipping containers), BRLO sends its beer to stores, bottleshops, bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants throughout the city, throughout Germany and to an increasing number of international markets. Not to mention the scores of visitors enjoying the affiliated restaurant and vast beergarden at Gleisdreieck.
Berliners and visitors to Berlin need not visit Gleisdreieck on 17th and 18th May — although a visit to BRLO is always recommended — because BRLO will be presenting its great beer at Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
BRLO stands for high quality, handcrafted Berlin beer with excellent location ingredients and a desire to be sustainable and keep everything ecologically-sound and completely natural without losing any healthy nutrients.
BRLO is therefore another great reason to visit Handgemacht-Brauereifest and try some excellent beers.
It’s a rolling craft beer pub. A bar on wheels. It’s the “tap & tent” principle: it arrives, it takes its pitch, it opens its tent and starts tapping beer. It’s simple. It’s CraftBeerMobil, and it will be exclusively serving beer from two Hamburg-based breweries (Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei and Landgang Brauerei) at Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
CraftBeerMobil brings with it a large number of taps and is consequently able to offer a wide variety of beers at events both large and small. The tent itself is flexible and can form a variety of different formats, depending upon the event — it can accommodate up to 80 people at larger events.
Founded in 2018, Einbar Brauerei is one of the newest Craft Beer breweries presenting its beers at Handgemacht-Brauereifest. Einbar Brauerei is part of a new breed of producers striving for something special that represents the uniqueness of Berlin in its small-batch beers — nothing less can be expected from a brewery with three brewmasters.
Currently building its own brewery in the city, Einbar Brauerei has a mission to raise the bar for handcrafted beer, change the way people think about and drink Craft Beer. And it’s an approach that is likely to be successful.
Southern Denmark’s Fanø Bryghus is one of the handful of international breweries bringing great beer to the German capital for Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
2019 is the tenth anniversary of Fanø Bryghus relaunching its operations after addressing the challenges of the previous couple of years, so visitors can expect great beers from Nordby on the island of Fanø, fine beers produced by a brewery with a solid history of delighting drinkers. Fanø Bryghus is a small, local brewery with a big reputation.
Fanø Bryghus is one of the most recognised Craft Beer Breweries in Denmark, so whichever beer it brings to Handgemacht-Brauereifest — some from its core range or some seasonal specials — the expectation is high for something memorable and rewarding for enthusiastic beer drinkers.
Feisty Goat Brewing
A feisty goat is the least expected thing to encounter at a beer festival, unless it’s the description of a funky beer style. The feisty goat at Handgemacht-Brauereifest will be the city’s Feisty Goat Brewing.
Feisty Goat Brewing is the brewing project of a prodigal son who is now back in Berlin, despite beginning the journey to beer greatness in Beijing, China, where the Chinese lunar calendar stated he was born in the Year of the Goat. The hobby-turned-career is built upon many years experimenting with beer styles and improving the techniques of brewing — and the results are impressive.
Taking its inspiration from life’s many wonderful flavours and experiences, Feisty Goat Brewing’s mission is to apply its philosophy and bring new a dimension to the German beer culture. And it is proving successful in that approach. Focusing on lesser-known beer styles, the motivation is to produce something new and different — an experience with a tale to tell.
A feisty goat may be the least expected thing to encounter at a beer festival, but Feisty Goat Brewing is certainly one of the most anticipated.
The similarities between beer and coffee certainly extend far beyond being two of the most popular drinks on the planet, and we are seeing more and more Craft Beer breweries moving into the production of coffee as a complementary offering to their beer brewing.
Berlin’s Motel Beer is a great example of a beer producer that also produces flash-brewed cold coffee (canned with liquid Nitrogen). Or is it a coffee producer that produces a core range of beer that includes a Kellerbier, an IPA and a Pale Ale, plus a number of special editions. Either way, Motel Beer makes great drinks. And there’re cocktails in kegs, too.
Motel Beer offers something for everybody, which visitors to Handgemacht-Brauereifest will be extremely pleased about. However, it is the beer that may prove the most popular.
Motel Beer also excels at the final piece of a jigsaw that comprises producing great beer and being a commercial success. Motel Beer seemingly places as much emphasis on its visual theme as it does on its beer perfection: imaging, marketing, social presence and brand consistency. It is a joy.
Perhaps one of the most visible and well-known of the Berlin-based breweries attending Handgemacht-Brauereifest is Schoppe Bräu, based in the historic art nouveau Colonnades on nearby Schönhauser Allee.
For many beer-loving visitors to Berlin, Schoppe Bräu is one of the highlights — for us too.
Schoppe Bräu is the initiative of respected local Master Brewer Thorsten Schoppe, who utilises over 20-years’ brewing experience (mostly in Berlin) to craft some great, unique beers.
Schoppe Bräu not only produces beer for the Pfefferbräu Restaurant in which the brewery is based, but also for Berlin’s large supermarket chains, department stores and many other bottle-shops, bars, restaurants and hostelries. The brewery can be producing around 18 distinct beers at any one time (plus special brews) — such are the calls of Berlin’s discerning beer drinkers who demand both the traditional styles of last year and the new, upcoming styles of next year!
Schoppe Bräu even has the Bierkombinat Kreuzberg (BKK) — its own taproom in Kreuzberg, just south of central Berlin — and a new Schoppe Bräu outlet in Prenzlauer Berg should be opening sometime soon.
Trying Schoppe Bräu at Handgemacht-Brauereifest is highly-recommended.
Despite having its origins in St Pauli, Hamburg, Simian Ales is now based in nearby Elmshorn, where its taproom offers a range of contemporary and traditional beers produced in its microbrewery, as well as collaboration beers produced with some of the finest Hamburg and international breweries.
Its core beers range from classic regional beer styles (a North German pilsner) to modern classics (American IPAs and Red Ales). Already distributed across Germany and Europe, Simian Ales’ reputation is on the rise.
Simian Ales will be presenting its beers to anticipant Berlin drinkers at Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
The Circus Hostel Brewing Co.
As the name suggests, the Circus Hostel Brewing Co. is a bar and brewery situated in the Circus Hostel. Known locally for its great vibe, live music, fine Scottish whiskeys and signature cocktails that kickstart the Berlin nights, it is the in-house beer that attract the aficionados from across the world down into this basement of delights.
Reinheitsgebot is evident in the microbrewery’s range of beer, from the pilsner to the amber and all other seasonal points in-between.
The Circus Hostel Brewing Co. will be presenting not only its beers but also its vibe as the hub of city-centre life at Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
Berlin’s Unverhopft is one of the interesting breweries attending Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
Not only does it produce beers that are somewhat unique in their style and taste, but it also produces incredibly drinkable beers that demand to be drank a second time. Or third. Or fourth. The passion for experimenting with exciting tastes and styles is a success.
Consider Mate, for example, the traditional South American caffeine drink prepared from the dried leaves of yerba mate. How often have you tried a Mate beer? How often have you tried a delicious Mate beer? Unverhopft’s Mate Bier is certainly worth trying.
The South American taste explosions continue with the Ale Comandante, a chocolate, roasted stout with Guarana – the Amazonian climbing plant known for its caffeine-rich seeds. If something more traditional is your thing, try the American hoppiness in the Hopfungsvoll.
Whether you’re interested in trying a beer flavour that’s new, unique and exciting, or a beer flavour that’s traditional, unique and exciting, Unverhopft has a taste to suit.
The Vagabund Brauerei story is a classic. Three Americans who met whilst living in Berlin: formed a band, got bored of the homogenous German beers of the time and decided to start home-brewing to satisfy their cravings for something tasty. Add the demands of family and friends for their great beers, and starting their own brewery was the next logical step. The award-winning brewery and taproom opened in Berlin in 2013, a result of the first successful Crowdfunding campaign for a craft beer brewery in Germany.
Demand for the beer remains high. To learn what may be the next chapter in the story, visit Vagabund Brauerei at Handgemacht-Brauereifest. The background story is little more than a teaser for the main attraction: the beers themselves. The brewery’s website states a vagabond is a wanderer – a nomad with no home – so if you love great beer, stop drifting aimlessness and visit Vagabund Brauerei and the other great breweries at Handgemacht-Brauereifest.
Maybe we’re slightly biased about Van Moll — a compatriot brewery of ours in the Netherlands — but any bias shown is not without good reason. Any suggestion of nepotism on our part can be decisively quashed by letting the quality of the beer speak for itself. Van Moll’s star is rising — evident by the high demand for its beers locally, nationally and in an increasing number of international markets. Wherever appreciative drinkers are located, there’s a desire for something special; and Van Moll is taking great strides into foreign markets to successfully address that desire.
Van Moll’s presence at high-profile international beer events is not only assured, but it is somewhat expected. One of its many appearances in Berlin this year is Van Moll’s participation in Handgemacht-Brauereifest As one of several international participants, expectation is high, and visitors to Handgemacht-Brauereifest are unlikely to be disappointed.
(The following was published on Social Media on 18 May, 2019)
The sun shone. The beers poured. The singers sang. The people came. The great food was consumed with relish. Oh, how the beers poured.
Berliners know what’s good for them. And they’re aptly followed by the hundreds of expats who call Berlin home. Berlin oozes brewing talent; and visiting breweries from across Germany clarify that the skill is not just limited to the capital. Berliners, old and new, appreciate great beer and are thirsty for something new, something unique. And there’s an evident passion for something international – how do the breweries from the Netherlands and Denmark compare with home-grown (home-nurtured) talent, for example? Does Canadian cider really taste that good? And on-hand to adequately answer the million and one international questions we have Eindhoven’s Van Moll, Denmark’s Fanø Bryghus and Canada’s Bulwark Ciders.
Welcome to Handgemacht-Brauereifest. Day one of two was a raging success. Day two seems likely to be another must-visit event. The sun is shining, the beers are pouring, the singers are singing and the great food is enticing the food-lovers who relish taste and flavour. Oh, how the beers are pouring are pouring, too, for the beer-lovers who relish taste and flavour.
The battle is on, there’s a challenge to win. Which region will claim to have presented the best beers: the greater Berlin or greater Hamburg regions? The latter challenge to Berlin supremacy is ably demonstrated by Simian Ales (actually representing Elmshorn) and Craft Beer Mobil (always bringing us great beer). And yet. The Berlin heavyweights are in the ring, too. Schoppe Bräu and BRLO, for example, And yet. There are contenders aplenty.
It’s not a competition – great beer and cider has already claimed the title and will continue to dominate the championship in perpetuity – but the Berlin beer scene is presenting some of its finest this weekend. Bräugier is turning heads, Einbar Brauerei is proving popular, Unverhopft is unique, Feisty Goat Brewing is a bit special, The Circus is proving that classics brewed well remain popular, and Vagabund Brauerei are extremely popular. For example. The list goes on.
Handgemacht-Brauereifest is an event not to be missed. Day one has already passed. Day two is upon us and the omens are good. Don’t miss it.
(The following was published on Social Media on 14 July, 2019)
Here are a few memories of May’s Handgemacht-Brauereifest, held at Berlin’s KulturBrauerei.
It was an event reminiscent of the good times. When friends gather to enjoy the highest quality beer from the best breweries at a convenient city location that stylishly reeks of industrial chicness. A gathering of friends that shifts from an excellent get-together to a superb party as the day progresses. A celebration of German Craft Beer, plus a cosmopolitan visitor or two.
Handgemacht-Brauereifest is not a ‘beer festival’ in the conventional sense. And that is a good thing. All the elements are in place: beer, brewers, food trucks, music, great weather and a friendly warmth created by a pleasant cross-section of Berlin life. But this is much more of a social happening that promotes a community spirit. It’s an open-door event, welcoming.
The beer-aficionados are here. And so are the interested locals, a few tourists, the hippest of hip hipsters, the key players in the Berlin Beer Scene, and a handful of minor beer celebrities.
It’s a two-day event that is highly recommend. Berlin itself is rapidly asserting itself as a major destination for beer tourism, attracting fans of contemporary or traditional beer alike. Handgemacht-Brauereifest forms part of the icing on the cake.
It’s one to visit in 2020.