Germany

Berlin: Greatest Hits

After two visits to Berlin, both being focused on Stone Brewing and their European invasion I've found a couple of gems among the jungle that is the Berlin beer scene. Not the most advances scene, but one that seems to be blossoming and probably will grow with the addition of Stone. These here are my favourites.

 Lager Lager

Lager Lager

Lager Lager functions as both tap room, growler station and bottle shop. Despite it's small looks from the outside, it can seat a good amount of people. I was pleasantly surprised during my first visit, with a well coordinated tap list and a massive selection of bottles from near and far. The place is driven by to passionate people and it shows. The selectionincludes BRLO, Beavertown, Heiden Peters, The Kernel and of course Stone.

 Moneterey

Moneterey

Where Lager Lager had a more relaxed atmosphere, still seeming like a hidden gem, Monterey could be the exact opposite. Rock music blaring from the speakers, a showcase of beers enjoyed in the bar, some suggestive pictures on the walls and even an arcade table in the back. This place seems to have it all. Seemed to be heavily focused on American breweries during my first visit, but settled back on some locals during my second. Well worth a visit!

 Kaschk

Kaschk

I'm still not entirely sure what shuffleboard actually is, or at least, I don't know how you play it. None the less, this is something as rare as a shuffleboard/craft beer hybrid. The service was very laid back, almost too much, but the beers they had on tap seemed carefully selected, although for me a little disappointing, as there was quite a few 'To Øl' beers on tap. Not that it's a bad thing, I just get them so frequently in Copenhagen. None the less, the vibe and location speaks loud for Kaschk. In the middle of the city and seems to attract a crowd bringing their computers to work.

An American comes to Europe

When you take a good look at Stone, it's hard to combine that with the words micro brewery. But 'craft' is still deeply ingrained in their DNA. With several outlets in the US, they're the first American brewery to open their own facility overseas. Something like that doesn't go un-noticed. With such a name and brand behind you, there's bound to a grand opening party. And as a participant, I can guarantee they succeeded.

 Part of the restaurant.

Part of the restaurant.

This is my second visit to Stone, as I was there only two months ago. Back then there was still a lot left to be done, but everyone pulled through and out of seemingly nothing an enormous beer garden rose. My partner in crime for the opening was Andrew and according to him, the Berlin chapter looks and feels quite a lot like the one in Escondido - in a really good way. Big, open, spacious and playful comes to mind, but organic and friendly shouldn't be left out. This place is massive, even if I tried to not count the outdoor area, which seems to be taken directly from California and planted in Berlin.

 Andrew with our first couple of beers.

Andrew with our first couple of beers.

But what makes this so special, is not only the restaurant and beer garden. If not even more important, the brewery. The corner stone (pun intended) is the beer and all of the flagship beers will now be brewed in Berlin, with local, fresh ingredients. And that's important, especially for Berlin!

A city that seems to be in it's infancy when it comes to craft beer. Double IPA's are a rare sight, Imperial Stouts are far between, and craft beer places are in general hard to come by, spread across the city. With a giant production like Stone, the small brewers have got some serious competition on their hands.

 One of the out door bars. Notice the Stone Farking W00tstout.

One of the out door bars. Notice the Stone Farking W00tstout.

 Previously mention w00tstout posing for the camera

Previously mention w00tstout posing for the camera

I won't go into too much detail about what was present at the opening, mostly because I didn't take notes, but also because that list would be massive. I believe to have heard there was 88 different beers on tap during the opening night, where most was in the main bar located in the restaurant, some were in the library bar and yet some more were located outside at smaller stands. 

 Fresh hops.

Fresh hops.

My hope is for Stone to bring their Enjoy By series to Berlin and start putting some much needed focus on freshness. Whether that'll be the case or not, Stone is here to stay and I'll be on the sideline, watching, waiting. Anticipating!

 The happiest man at the opening

The happiest man at the opening

On a sidenote, I got to meet Greg (the happiest man at the opening) while he was in Copenhagen only a couple of weeks later. I even got to serve him food at Banksia, before bugging him about various beer related geeky questions at Taphouse.

Stone Brewing, welcome to Berlin and welcome to Copenhagen. 

Sneak Peak: Stone Brewing Berlin

In what was a record for both crowd funding and craft brewing, Stone announced their entrance to Europe. Although the premises are not finished yet, I was fortunate enough to get a tour and a glimpse of what will be the final product after years of work. 

 Directions

Directions

The ambitions are obviously high and owner Greg Koch is ever so often present on social media showing his excitement. Latest was a video showing the first canned goods coming from the German brew house. With a rich history in hoppy beers and pushing boundaries for bitterness, it was of course the legendary Stone IPA.

That same beer was also on tap at the temporary outlet dubbed 'The Library Bar'. Located somewhat out of Berlin, public transport isn't the easiest task (yet), but even if it's not completely finished, it's still worth a visit. No other places can brag about a tap list this magnificent. Just from the in-house brewery you can get hopped up on three different levels, with both a session IPA, American IPA and Imperial IPA. But even if you're not feeling the bitter craze, you still have options in the Porter with vanilla beans or the infamous Arrogant Bastard. 

And I haven't even mentioned the 25 other taps available, but I could easily mention Buxton and the local guys from ... 

Definitely worth a visit, and will be even more so when the restaurant and kitchen is up and running. With 500 seats indoors and another 300 outside (if my memory serves me correctly), there'll be heaps of food and beer to enjoy. Also worth noting is the additional 75 taps that'll be located in the restaurant.  

Now, picture time...

 The kitchen is almost ready to serve! 

The kitchen is almost ready to serve! 

 Stone branded kitchen ware.  

Stone branded kitchen ware.  

 The restaurant area as it looks for now. Will seat hundreds of people when it's done. The trees and  wood will be a prominent factor in the decor.

The restaurant area as it looks for now. Will seat hundreds of people when it's done. The trees and  wood will be a prominent factor in the decor.

 When the sun is shining, the beer geeks come out to drink. Luckily there's a huge outdoor area, waiting to be turned into a giant biergarten.  

When the sun is shining, the beer geeks come out to drink. Luckily there's a huge outdoor area, waiting to be turned into a giant biergarten.  

 Matt, who's responsible for most of the bar work, is here seen talking about beer, surrounded by eager listeners. 

Matt, who's responsible for most of the bar work, is here seen talking about beer, surrounded by eager listeners. 

 A brewpub wouldn't be complete without an option to fill growlers.  

A brewpub wouldn't be complete without an option to fill growlers.  

 The first canned beer from the new brewery is hitting shelves as I type this. Tried it from kegs and it's as delicious as ever. Will be interesting to see the impact fresh hops will have on the German and European market. 

The first canned beer from the new brewery is hitting shelves as I type this. Tried it from kegs and it's as delicious as ever. Will be interesting to see the impact fresh hops will have on the German and European market. 

 Trink Echtes Bier, Drink Real Beer. 

Trink Echtes Bier, Drink Real Beer. 

 For now, the outdoor seating is limited. The food equally limited. For now at least... 

For now, the outdoor seating is limited. The food equally limited. For now at least... 

 Apparently, ideas for what to do with this beauty is still being discussed. Can be seen from afar, so a good indicator that you're on the right path. 

Apparently, ideas for what to do with this beauty is still being discussed. Can be seen from afar, so a good indicator that you're on the right path.