If you’re planning a trip to the German capital and you’re packing an unquenchable thirst for craft beer or live in the Hauptstadt and are looking for a new drinking hole, It Must Beer Love has you covered with this Berlin Beer Guide – a list of the best craft beer locations in the city with a handy map to help you plot your route.
If you asked 100 people to name a country associated with beer, I’m sure a very high percentage would say Germany. Ask specifically about craft beer though and you’d get a very different answer. The Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) and the weight of tradition have presented significant resistance to the craft beer revolution but slowly drinkers are being won over and new breweries are opening to satisfy the growing demand. Now that the ball is rolling, it is quickly gathering pace.
Berlin is at the forefront of these developments and over the last few years has become home to some world-class bars, breweries and bottle shops. So here’s my take on the best the Berlin craft beer scene has to offer with some tips on what to eat and see along the way.
If you want to skip all the blah, blah, blah, the map of all my Berlin Beer Guide recommendations is at the bottom of this post. There’s also a more comprehensive map of the bars, breweries and bottle shops of Berlin on the Berlin Craft Beer page, along with more in-depth reviews, news and upcoming events in the city.
Most of the city’s bars serve great German beer and plenty have some craft beer on offer but if you’re after new brews, rarities or expert advice, here’s my pick of the bunch. Be sure to check out my Berlin Craft Beer Events Listings so you don’t miss out on any tap takeovers, showcases or beer releases.
Biererei Bar & Vintage Cellar
Slap bang in the heart of Kreuzberg, Biererei has 20 taps and a bottle list that will have you salivating (check it out on Untappd) – owner Cihan’s passion for beer was ignited during an internship in Brussels so expect some killer Belgian Lambics among an eclectic and international lineup. The glass-fronted cellar at the rear of the bar is temperature controlled with moss on the walls to regulate the humidity, providing the perfect conditions for bottle ageing some knockout beers. Take a Crowler (a can filled fresh from the tap) or pop into Biererei Store across the road if you’re after a nightcap or some beery souvenirs
Oranienstraße 185 – Kreuzberg | Facebook
Protokoll has an impressive 24 taps lined up against the distinctive (and very instagrammable) bright yellow tiles behind the bar. While local breweries are generally well represented, the beer list is an international affair, regularly including Russian breweries not often seen in Berlin (perhaps unsurprising given Zagovor has a stake). For me, Protokoll has absolutely nailed it when it comes to the holy trinity for a craft beer bar: a well thought-out and executed interior design and concept; a varied and well curated selection; and patient and knowledgeable staff, who are willing to make recommendations but don’t talk down to customers who are just beginning their craft beer journey.
Boxhagener Straße 110 – Friedrichshain | Website
Jenia Semenova and Corbin Crnkovic brought their enthusiasm and thirst for good beer from Vancouver and unleashed Muted Horn into a burgeoning Berlin craft beer scene in October 2016. It’s been winning hearts, minds and awards ever since. A bar doesn’t get voted Best Bar in Germany by RateBeer users two years in a row without good reason. The 22 taps here (2 of which are Nitro) are rotated regularly and they have an epic bottle list. There are always a few surprises – some of the world’s best brewers have shown a lot of faith in what these two Canadians are doing and they get some exceptional and rare brews.
Flughafenstraße 49 – Neukölln | Website
Foersters Feine Biere
This family run bar is outside the city centre but those who make the trip will be rewarded with an outstanding selection of German beer, with the focus on traditional styles from independent breweries, especially from the south of the country. I recommend starting with a Schönramer Hell, which is always on tap, but be warned you probably won’t stop at one. If you can bring yourself to drink something else, check the blackboards for the latest draught specials. Soak up the beer with some traditional German food – you can’t go wrong with the Knacker mit Kartoffelsalat (sausage and potato salad) or the Leberwurst Brot (paté on bread).
Bornstraße 20 – Steglitz | Website
Brewing in Berlin is booming. Breweries of all shapes and sizes are springing up in basements, shipping containers and repurposed industrial sites. CraftZentrum in Spandau provides a professional brewing setup to committed gypsy brewers and those who are yet to find a permanent home. Mash Pit, which opened the doors of its brewing supplies store in December 2018, with pay monthly access to brewing facilities to follow, could well be an incubator for the Berlin breweries of the future. To get beer direct from the source hit up:
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
When Stone Brewing chose a disused gas works in the south of Berlin as the centre of its European operations it caused quite a stir. One local paper described co-founder Greg Koch, tongue-in-cheek, as the Beer Jesus of America. But Stone’s ambitious yet sympathetic makeover of the red brick behemoth (the main hall is 3,200 square metres), extensive beer list (they have 50 taps) and its seasonally adjusted menu, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, has won over skeptical locals. In summer, few locations can match the beer garden at Stone Brewing Berlin and the interior is equally impressive – the brewery comprises a 100 hectolitre main tank and an additional 10 hectolitre tank for experimental and small batch brews. If time is an issue and Mariendorf is a train journey too far, Stone also has a tap room in Prenzlauer Berg.
Im Marienpark 23 – Mariendorf | Website
The BRLO Brwhouse on the edge of the Park am Gleisdreieck is a combination of brewery, bar, restaurant and beer garden made up of 38 recycled shipping containers. The 20 hectolitre brew kit can be seen through a window above the bar. The range of BRLO brews is supplemented by a rotating cast of guest beers. Under the guidance of head chef Ben Pommer, the food concept at BRLO Brwhouse has been designed to complement the beer line-up. The BRLO philosophy of ‘sustainability, regionality, quality’ carries through from their brewing to the food. Pommer’s bold move to give vegetables the lead role on his restaurant menu (meat lovers: fear not, it isn’t a vegetarian restaurant) has earned him much praise and the BRLO Brwhouse was named “Berliner Szenerestaurant 2017”.
Schöneberger Str. 16 – Kreuzberg | Website
BrewDog Berlin Mitte
OK, so they don’t brew any beer on the premises but I think BrewDog deserves a mention here. Their Berlin bar has a good range of BrewDog beers on tap backed up by an ever-changing list of guest taps.
Ackerstraße 29 – Mitte | Website
The Bottle Shops
If you’re here on holiday and want to stock your hotel room fridge or pack your suitcase with the most tradable beers, or you live in the city and simply want to give your beer collection a boost, Berlin has some stunning bottle shops.
The neon CRAFT BEER sign in the window of Biererei Store is a beacon to beer geeks, heralding the Aladdin’s cave of beery delights within. An epic selection of Berlin, German and international brews lines the shelves and fills the fridges (over 500 according to their website), so dedicated craft beer drinkers and Untappd junkies are sure to find beers and breweries that they haven’t come across elsewhere.
Oranienstraße 19 – Kreuzberg | Facebook
There is an internationally diverse assortment available at Bierlinie but the Belgian beer selection is the star attraction. The shop hosts regular tasting events for enthusiasts looking to broaden their beer knowledge.
Schliemannstraße 2 – Prenzlauer Berg | Website
Not just a bottle shop, Lager Lager has indoor and outdoor seating options and 8 taps, with beer also available to take away in Growlers. The Landwehrkanal is only a few minutes walk away and is the ideal spot for waterside drinks on warm summer evenings.
Plügerstraße 68 – Neukölln | Website
The Beer Gardens
Berlin is a marvellous city all year but it really comes into its own in the warmer months. The winters are dark and cold so as soon as temperatures creep back into double digits (Celsius) Berliners take full advantage of any outdoor eating and drinking options.
Prater Beer Garden
Berliners have been enjoying a beer under the chestnut trees in Berlin’s oldest beer garden since 1837. Row after row of trestle tables and benches provide seating for 600 so there is a real buzz in the air when Prater is full, and in summer it often is.
Kastanianallee 7-9 – Prenzlauer Berg | Website
Birgit & Bier
If you prefer your beer garden with a more modern twist head to Birgit & Bier. Here you’ll find mis-matched armchairs and sofas, a merry-go-round, dodgems, a table tennis table and a Photoautomat (an old-school black and white photo booth). Birgit & Bier serves Pilsner Urquell tank beer, delivered direct from Plzen, unpasteurised and unfiltered, which means a fuller flavour and deeper taste. This is the original Pilsner and the recipe hasn’t changed since the first beer was brewed in 1842.
Schleusenufer 3 – Kreuzberg | Website
In Berlin you don’t have to go to a beer garden to enjoy a few drinks al fresco. Drinking in public spaces is not only allowed here it is an integral part of the Berlin culture. It is a very green city and one of the real joys is to get a beer from a Späti (an off-licence for the English and bodega for the Americans) and sit by the Spree, Landwehrkanal or in one of the many parks.
This is primarily a Berlin Beer Guide but anyone planning to do any more than scratch the surface when it comes to exploring the Berlin beer scene will need more than just liquid fuel. Luckily, there are tonnes of tasty treats that won’t break the bank. The places that have made this list have done so not only because they serve some of the best food in the city but also for their proximity to the drinking options already listed.
If you’re looking to refuel on your way to or from Biererei, the Köfte sandwich (I recommend the XXL) from Konak at Kottbusser Tor is the nuts.
Reichenberger Str 10 – Kreuzberg | Website
This small Arabic eatery on the edge of Boxhagener Platz is just a short walk from Protokoll and they serve incredible Schawarma and Falafel. My top tip here is the Al-Ghazale sandwich – Schawarma, Falafel, salad and sauces wrapped in bread – which is a full-on meal in itself for 3,50€.
Krossener Straße 20 – Friedrichshain
Salami Social Club
Also handy for Protokoll, Salami Social Club slings out delicious pizza, whole or by the slice. They have a small selection of craft beer if you decide to eat in.
Frankfurter Allee 43 – Friedrichshain | Website
Rüyam Gemüse Kebab
There are literally thousands of restaurants, shops and stalls in Berlin selling Döner Kebabs and Rüyam Gemüse Kebab is up there with the very best. My favourite here is the Gemüse Döner im Brot – a chicken kebab with roasted vegetables – which I take with garlic and spicy sauces. This place is between the Stone Tap Room and Bierlinie.
Schönhauser Allee 44A – Prenzlauer Berg | Facebook
This is the only place on the list not within walking distance of one of the bars or breweries mentioned earlier but you shouldn’t leave Berlin without trying Currywurst and this is my favourite. As it’s at the U-Bahn station Gesundbrunnen it’s not too tricky to get to.
Badstraße 1-5 – Gesundbrunnen | Website
Tommis Burger Joint
The burgers at Tommis are simple and straightforward but also consistently delicious. Don’t miss the sauce bar – it’s up to you to pimp your burger just the way you want it. There are 3 Tommis in Berlin but the original Mitte location is particularly convenient for BrewDog.
Invalidenstraße 160 – Mitte | Website
Chances are you’ve landed here because you want to know about Berlin’s beer highlights but there is plenty to see and do as you drink your way around the city.
Park Inn Hotel – Panorama Terrace
The Panorama Terrace on the 40th floor of the Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz serves up a spectacular view. At 120m it is dwarfed by Berlin’s highest point, the TV tower (Fernsehturm) but has the advantage of looking out on the city’s iconic needle. And all for the princely sum of 4€.
Alexanderplatz 7 – Mitte | Website
Friede sei mit Dir – Giant Penis Sculpture
It might not be the most conventional public artwork but Friede sei mit Dir is a boner fide must-see sculpture. The five-storey artwork was erected on the wall of the TAZ newspaper offices near Checkpoint Charlie to poke fun at the editor of a rival rag.
Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 23 – Mitte
When Tempelhof Airport closed in 2008 Berlin took the unconventional decision to turn the former airfield into the world’s largest inner city park. The 355 hectare site is a haven for cyclists, skaters and kiteboarders who cruise along the network of runways. It’s not all action sports though, in summer sunbathers dot the grass and the smoke of countless barbecues drifts across the field from the designated grilling areas.
Tempelhof/Neukölln | Website
Berlin Wall Memorial
It may not attract the same headlines as its colourful cousin, the East Side Gallery, but visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial is the best way to get a sense of how the world’s most notorious barrier dissected the city. Through a series of exhibitions and memorial sites, the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer seeks to tell the story of the lifecycle of the wall and its effect on the city of Berlin and its inhabitants.
Bernauer Straße – Mitte | Website
Spanning the Spree between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, the Oberbaumbrücke is a Brick Gothic bridge with two distinctive towers. The German army blew up the central section of the bridge as the Soviets advanced on Berlin at the end of the Second World War and the towers were demolished in the 1970s but he bridge was fully restored in the 1990s.
Formally opened on 5 December 1894, the Reichstag was built to house the German parliament. An alleged arson attack on the building in 1933 played a key role in the rise of the Nazi party. It wasn’t fully restored until after German reunification, when the current glass cupola, designed by Norman Foster, was added. Access to the roof terrace and Reichstag dome are free of charge but visitors need to register in advance.
Platz der Republik 1 – Mitte | Website
The Brandenburg Gate
Arguably one of the world’s most recognisable structures, The Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol for the city of Berlin. First completed in 1791, the gate has provided the backdrop to political upheaval, flashpoints and celebrations. Between 1961 and and 1989 the Brandenburg Gate was in the no-mans land between the walls separating East and West Berlin.
Pariser Platz – Mitte
Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park
The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park is a massively impressive monument and war cemetery. At one end is a Mausoleum crowned by an imposing statue of a Soviet soldier, a sword in one hand and a small child in the other, crushing a swastika underfoot. At the other, a statue of Mother Russia. Between them, five beautifully manicured lawns with their bronze wreaths, mark the mass graves of Soviet soldiers, flanked by sixteen stone sarcophagi.
Puschkinallee – Treptow-Köpenick
It’s always good to learn a few words of the local language when you’re heading somewhere new. Learning a language isn’t easy and remembering foreign words and phrases after a few drinks is especially tricky but I think all of us can manage a recognisable ‘thank you’ as a bare minimum. The German words are links to google translations so you can check the pronunciation.
Hello – Hallo
Good-bye – Tschüss
Please – Bitte
Thank you – Danke
Cheers – Prost
And as this is a beer guide it would be stupid not to include:
Beer – Bier
And finally, if you use this Berlin Beer Guide and find it useful (or not!) or if you have any tips for my next trip please let me know in the comments.