Saturday, August 10, 2013

Berlin Beer Festivals: Internationales Berliner Bierfestival

Though I've posted about  festivals in Berlin and drinking quite frequently (some would say too much - sorry parents), somehow I have managed to avoid writing about Berlin's Mile of Beer at the Internationales Berliner Bierfestival. We've managed to drink there each year, just not take pics or impressions of note...which seems like a pretty ringing endorsement.

Much to our surprise on first arriving in Berlin, the variety of local beers can be limited compared to the boozey Northwest. Seattle is full of breweries and local alcoholic specialties, but Germany's Reinheitsgebot (literally "purity order") closely regulates the production of beer in Germany making sure nothing too exciting can happen. In the original text, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops.

Beers are also largely regional, with most people drinking the local specialty while frowning on other region's offerings. In Berlin, this means there are lots of pilsners. And they are delicious! But as Americans we crave variety and all pilsners all the time isn't really doing it.

Berlin Beer Festival

Hence our excitement for the 17th International Berlin Beer Festival - a 3-day beer fest with offerings from around Germany and the world! There is literally more than a mile of beer (hence the nickname Biermeile) along the ΓΌber DDR style Karl-Marx-Allee. A perfect setting for people from all over the city to get together, dress in silly costumes, and get down to the serious business of beer sampling.

Beer Festival Berlin

Frankfurter Tor flames

Berlin fesitival bier

IPA beer festival

Berlin Biermeile festival

Berlin Beer festival
Though you've sadly missed the 2013 celebration, there will certainly be another beer fest next year (we'll be there!) Here's what you need to know...

Biermeile Information

    Berlin German food festival
  • First weekend in August from Friday to Sunday
  • Entry is free - just wander in! The festival runs along one-side of Karl-Marx-Allee with the beginning/end at either Strausberger Platz/Frankfurter Tor
  • Beer is not. Prices vary widely, but expect to pay between 1.50-4 euro for the sampler size of .25 liters. More exotic = more expensive. Some of the usual heavy hitters like Becks are around for some of the lowest prices - but don't get Beck's. You
  • Handy souvenirs mugs can be bought at info stands at each end for 3.50 which saves you from paying a pfand (bottle deposit) at each stand. However, note that there are some beautiful glassware on display that you can purchase for the price of the pfand (usually around 3 euro). We bought a lovely Chimay glass to add to our growing collection. 
  • Get a map! Free at information, this fold-out map provides a loose layout of where each brewery is with beers grouped into regions. If you do the festival right, it will be hard to remember exactly what beers you sampled throughout the day so we like to mark where we've hit. 
  • Feel free to dance. One of my favorite things about the Germans is that they never seem to feel awkward dancing and will do it anywhere. Add beer and live music to the occasion and Germans are maniacs. Music ranges from American classics to Schlager to truly bizarre miscellaneous.
  • Costumes and props are encouraged. Did you see those banana suit guys!? However, do not ask a black man if his afro is a wig and try to touch it. C'mon Germs. Not cool.
  • Eat & drink water! Recipe to any good day in the sun. 
  • Enjoy. You certainly won't hit everywhere, so just enjoy the time with friends and the wander through Berlin masses. 


And as the beer gods smile down upon us, I came across this beer video that I. Cannot. Stop. WATCHING.


 Berlin Craft Beer Festival

If you prefer something smaller with more craft brewers, try Braufest in Friedrichshain's RAW Temple. Currently held in the spring and the fall, it has glorious IPAs, beer fans, and new friends (and a shitload of expats). We woke up with heartburn and it was so worth it.

Deutsche, bitte! had a great write-up of the event (complete with models aka us).

Berlin Beer Festival RAW hops & Barley

Beer festival Germany

Hops & Barley Beer Festival


Global Craft Beer Festival

Behold! Craft beer is (finally) a thing in Berlin. With two festivals, Stone brewing opening in Berlin and multiple US sources noting the taste for American beer in Europe - we may finally be getting one of our favorite bits of Seattle in Berlin. After bemoaning the lack of German IPAs, the beer purists are getting in on the game.

This festival, held way out in the boonies of Marzahn, hosted quality local and international craft beers and half the people we know in Berlin. Apparently, this is our crowd. Ian drank his way through the Rogue list with Czech, Israeli and German beers all on offer. I stuck to the non-alcoholic (sigh), but just the smell of these hoppy suds made us dream of home.
Berlin Bierfest Marzahn
Arriving at S-Bahn Friedrichsfelde Ost, info stand equipped us with how to get there & beer

Global Craft Beer Festival in Berlin

Global Craft Beer Festival in Berlin
Hello Good Pie & Rogue

Berlin Bierfest
The Crew


Holly Nelson @ English Girl Canadian Man said...

Oh wow - I wouldn't last very long, I am a notorious lightweight! Looks great fun though!!

Brittny said...

That looks like a ton of fun! My husband and I will have to remember that next year if we ever make it to Germany. :)


ebe porter said...

Thanks ladies! It was indeed very fun & boozy. We are profi drinkers, so all in a day's work for us.

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008