Are you buzzed yet? For the third instalment of our week-long series leading up to Berliner Braufest (Sep 12-14, RAW Tempel), Rachel Glassberg directs your attention to inventive brewpubs: a chill punk paradise in Friedrichshain, and a booming underground spot in Wedding.
Though Phillip Brokamp’s unpretentious Friedrichshain brewpub, open since 2008, is named after a song by Leatherface (showing the influence of Brokamp’s business partner Sven Gohdes, also of hardcore label Yellow Dog Records), Hops and Barley also refers to his brewing ethos. Before enrolling at TU, he worked in Bavaria near the famous hop-growing region Hallertau. Now, he prefers to play with the types and proportions of said Reinheitsgebot-kosher ingredients rather than go over the top with flavourings and high alcohol content. Lately he’s been experimenting with “dry hopping”, useful for imparting hops’ fruity aroma without the bitterness.
Beer to try: Where hefeweizen often feels like drinking a banana, Brokamp’s version has a pleasant sour tang. Have it at one of the bar’s Tatort Sundays, “where everyone drinks at least five litres”.
After cutting his teeth at Karlsruhe’s Vögelbrau and graduating from TU’s brewing programme, Martin Eschenbrenner noticed an opportunity in the basement of his Wedding apartment building. “My landlord was already keeping bees on the roof. He liked the idea.” His brewery and biergarten Hausbrauerei Eschenbräu (photo) opened in 2001 and quietly hummed along for the next seven years or so – and then, he says, “business exploded”. Alongside the standards, his seasonal brews include everything from the expected bock and märzen to hybrids like Panke Gold, an American-hopped version of the obscure Dortmund style Export. Also on the menu: fresh-pressed apple juice, cider and schnapps. And while other brewers are aging beer in whisky barrels, Eschenbrenner is doing the opposite: this November sees the debut of his beer-barrel-aged scotch, made with the same peated malt as his Scotty smoked lager.
Beer to try: If the seasonal beer’s all tapped out, try the dunkel, which has a delightfully toasty finish.
Hops And Barley, Wühlischstr. 22-23, Friedrichshain, Mon-Sun 17-3. Hausbrauerei Eschenbräu,Triftstr. 67, Wedding, Mon-Sun 17-24.
Originally published in Issue #118, July/August 2013. Updated September 2013.