Berliner Braufest is already in full swing at RAW Tempel. Before it’s over tomorrow (Sep 14), Exberliner presents the grande finale of our inaugural Craft Beer Week with a look at two Wedding nano-breweries that are making big waves. Go forth, drink and be merry this weekend.
As students in TU’s brewing science programme, the twentysomething boys of Beer4Wedding are learning by doing – though ironically, laments Andre Schleypen, “our studies have suffered” since starting their project. He, ex-vintner Sebastian Mergel, and Franconian homebrew enthusiast Julian Schmidt operate as “gypsy brewers”, producing limited amounts of Wedding Pale Ale via Schoppe in Brauhaus Südstern. Right now, you can find it at three Wedding bars and Das Maisterstück in Mitte (where it costs €6, over twice as much as in its home Kiez). Why aren’t they called Bier4Wedding? The ale contains rice, a no-no under the Reinheitsgebot, and they’re hoping the English spelling will provide legal cover.
Beer to try: Have a “WPA” while you wait for their next creation: a stout brewed with locally roasted coffee and fresh oysters.
Not too far away, another three-man Wedding-based brewing team is churning out a similarly crisp and drinkable pale ale at their brewery and taproom. The sole Americans of the bunch, East Coast expats Matt Walthall, David Spengler and Tom Crozier are all English teachers who hatched the idea for Vagabund after years of Youtube-assisted homebrewing. A 2008 Deutsche Welle article about the lack of craft beer in Germany provided the impetus, says Walthall. Aided by friends, their students’ parents and over €21,000 in crowdfunding, the “community-sponsored brewery” founders found overwhelming support. Though some might be put off by the idea that Americans would proclaim themselves “part of the first wave of influence” in creating a Berlin craft beer scene, the trio claim that “nine out of 10” of their crowdfunding supporters were German. And as Spengler says, “There are haters and there are haters. This is our thing. We’re happy with it.”
Beer to try: The trio’s American Pale Ale will satisfy homesick expats and then some. Look for more at their taproom, open since July 25.
Beer4Wedding, check sales points at online here. Vagabund, Antwerpener Str. 3, Wedding, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 19-2, vagabundbrauerei.com.
Originally published in Issue #118, July/August 2013. Updated September 2013.