However, we landed at Berlin Tegel and were heading out to our hotel by 4pm EU time. Unfortunately from Tegel you have to get a bus. If you go to Schonefeld (S9) with Ryanair then there is the metro but it is a lot further out. From Tegel you want the TXL service which goes right into the heart of Berlin or there are some local buses that will get you to the metro.
Our hotel was about a 5 min walk from the tube near the stop "Bulowstrube" (U2) and was cheap and cheerful. There was a nightclub directly across the road but we didn't hear it. For hotels try the very helpful Berlin tourist office website.
A little word about the excellent tube system. Best value is a day ticket for 5 euros 80 cents which gives you tube, s bahn and bus travel in zones A and B. It lasts until 3 in the morning and, yes, some of the tubes do run till that time on a Friday and Saturday night. There is also an excellent night bus service. Adding C zone on to your ticket makes the cost 6 euros which is still excellent value if you want to go to Potsdam. Some of the older tube lines are "dinky", but the system works very well.
Anyway on to the beer. After dumping our bags, we headed out to Wedding (U6 and S 41+42) and Eschenbrau Hausbrauerei. From Wedding S Bahn, head north down Mullerstrube and after about 100 yards turn left into Triftstrube. Stay on the left and look for a small fenced park. You should see a sign for the Brewery. If not, go into the park turning almost immediately left, through the archway and black gates. The brewery is to your right and downstairs. There is also the beer garden in the little square with trees. Service is at table from the garden hut!
The brewery has only been going just over a year, but the beers are good. Best was the unfiltered Pils which had some strong flavour. The Dunkel also impressed, but with not as much thump as the pils. The Weissbier was a little too sweet and a bit thin for our tastes, but still quite good.
Note that the brewery is only open from 1900 during the week and 1700 fri, sat and sun. It is supposed to shut at 11, but we were in there on a second visit till 1am!
From here we went back to Mullerstrube and to Leopoldplatz U bahn station (U6 and U9) and took the tube to Spandau (U7 and S9 and S75). On arriving at Spandau U Bahn, turn right out of the station, cross the dual carriageway and go straight ahead across the river. The brewery is looking at you. It's a big place with emphasis on food. It has charm and the brewing kettles are lovely copper to look at. Built in Bamberg!!!.
The bar is also divided into sections regarding food, either table service or self service.
Unfortunately the beers were quite plain. The best was probably the Special, a Dunkelweisse. The normal Hefewisee was also OK. The Havelbrau was again an unfiltered beer, but I don`t think it's a Helles at all.
We had that rarity of German things, poor service. Also, the taxes are added on after the bill, which turned a slightly expensive Euro 3-10 beer in to an expensive Euro 3-50 beer. You have been warned.
From here we pushed back into Luisen Brau alighting at U Bahn station Richard Wagner Platz (U7).Again head north along Otto Suhr Allee for about 5 mins to the corner of the main road with Kaiser Friedrich Strube and the brewery is on the corner on the right hand side. The Helles is more like a helles here and a Dunkel on as well. Both the beers were ok, but again a bit disappointing.
From here we headed back to the U bahn, in a pensive mood. On the way we noticed a Gaffel Kolsch bar and then further along the road a bar selling beers from the far west of Germany if you fancy something a little different.
So back into the centre to Alexanderplatz S and U bahn. Come out the SW corner of the station and if you haven`t seen the huge sign for the brewery then it should be visible. Built into the top of a shopping centre, it's a nice wooden panelled bar. Unfortunately again, to us the beers didn't have much taste, but the Weisse was probably the best we'd had up to this point. The food was quite good though so after eating we pushed rather despondently on to Georgbrau. This is about a 10 minute walk from Alexanderplatz, and is on the banks of the river on Spreeufer. This is a lovely multi roomed old style bar, with of all things a locals room, not just a table!. The evening also picked up again as the beers were really good. The Pils was creamy and unfiltered with some hop flavours; the dunkel also had some bite. Don't miss this one.
From here we pushed on to Lemke. This is tucked in one of the railway arches in between Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt S Bahn stations, closer to Markt.There is a small drinking area to the rear pf the bar. Also rather expensive, but the beers are worth it. On our visit there was the Original which is dark and full flavoured, a good unfiltered pils beer and the special was billed as a Trappist beer. It was very good, probably better than some abbey beers in Belgium
On consulting the guide, we decided to try for one more bar and headed to Marcus, a short walk from Alexanderplatz on Munzstrube. We arrived to the possibility that it was closed, but a couple of lights were on and the door was open. Apart from the barman and a friend of his playing chess with him, the place was deserted. A small bar in comparison to a lot of the bars but worth it. Again an unfiltered excellent pils and a very good dunkel were enjoyed. At this point it was 2.30 am so we thought we'd better head back to the hotel and this was when we discovered how late the tubes run!
Saturday dawned and fortunately our hotel did breakfast till 11!. We then headed out and did the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie etc i.e. the tourist bit.
We now felt thirsty so headed for Brauhaus Sudstern. Go to Sudstern U Bahn (U7) and walk down the Dual Carriageway (Hasenheide). The bar is on the right hand side. The back of the bar opens on to the park with a small beer terrace to the front and a larger drinking area out the back. Again the plant is inside the bar. The beers are brewed under the Stern label and consist of Heller Stern (an unfiltered pils and very good too). Dunkler Stern (brown in colour and slightly malty, also good) and the real star, the Weisse beer which has a smoky flavour to it and is not sweet. Nice. They also do seasonals of Marzen, Festbier and a Bockbier. Unfortunately none were available on our visit.
From here we decided to go out east, and caught the S Bahn to Friedrichshagen (S3) then a tram 60 or 61 to Muggelseedamm. You can walk but it's a good 20 minutes from the S Bahn. Turn right out of the station, cross over the crossroads and head down the shopping street. Braustubl is at the far end of the street. This lovely old building with its dark wood interior is worth the trek. On our visit they had a pils which was tasty and creamy, a Bock which was lovely and malty and the Rotkehichen which was also malty and good, reminiscent of the bock. We had something to eat and found the food good. We then caught the tram 60 from the front to Kopenick and Schlobplatzbrauerei. This was not at all what we were expecting. It was a tiny modern bar on the square of the town, with a small outdoor seating area. However don`t miss this one either. The Hell and Kupfer are both excellent beers.
By now time was getting on so we headed back towards town (take tram 60 to Kopenick S Bahn S3) to Brauhaus in Rixdorf. Get off the S Bahn at Hermannstrube (U8 and S45) and head south down the road of the same name. Then look for a left turn called Delbruckstrube. This is difficult to spot as it is really a right straight off the left turn. Go down the road about 70 yards looking for a car park. Go through the car park to the Brauhaus. Again a lovely old house that has been converted into a bar, with the large grounds being the beer garden. Both the Hell and Dunkel were very good, but the Weisse bier is Paulaners. Food is also good here. If you want a cheap meal, have the Goulash soup. It is in fact a bored-out bread roll filled with Goulash and is like having a Yorkshire pudding filled up, but thicker!
From here we headed to Brewbaker. Come out of Bellevue S Bahn (S5,S9 and S75) from the western end. Cross the road and the brewery is in one of the railway arches. A very interesting place with a tiny outside eating area to the rear.The food looked good as the preparation area was spotless (you can see all that goes on behind the bar). Only the pils was on, but this was very good. They also do seasonals. Couldn`t find out if he had opened the small bakery yet, but quite possibly as the bread looked fresh. We flagged out at this point and headed back to get some sleep.
Sunday again dawned hot and sunny and we headed out to Potsdam, right at the end of S7 line (sw of berlin). It's a lovely looking place but we would suggest you don`t go on a Sunday as there is limited public transport. The first port of call was to be the Meierei Brewery, which is in a park overlooking a lake. You need to get the bus as its an hours walk. To do so get Tram 92 from the station and change at Allee Strate on to bus 692 to Hohenstrube. Once the bus reaches the terminus at Hohenstrube, walk back down the road a little way and there is the bar. The bar itself is an old pumping station that has been done out very nicely. The outside area has a service and self service areas. Overlooking the lake it's a lovely place. The beers were Helles unfiltered, which was really nice, a Swarzbier which was good and also a dark Spezial which was nice.
Next stop was to be Hofbrauerei Krongut Bornstedt. To get there either take Tram 92 from the station all the way to the end of the line or from Hohenstrube take bus 692 and change again at Allee strate.On reaching the end of the tramline, walk across the road and look for Ribbeck Strube. Walk down this road for about 200 yards and you will come across the brewery, which is in a converted manor house. The brewery is inside and there is a large courtyard to the rear. On arriving here we found they had some more important British visitors in the past, HM Queen had been here in 2004!
The beers were Braunbier which was good and an excellent Helles.Unfortunately they didn`t have any Spezial. We did get a bonus though as they had a live band on in the courtyard and 4 other brewery stands offering their own, Spandau, Braumanufaktur and Kneipe Pur from Plauen. We promptly had a Dampfer beer and a weissebier from Kneipe and both were excellent. Talk about a Brewery Bonus!
Anyway, with time pushing on, we got tram 92 back to the station and looked for Bus 607 to get to Braumanufaktur which is a 5km ride away at Forsthaus Templin. Unfortunately it turned out to be a 2 hour service on Sundays so we took a taxi which was exactly 10 euro. We caught the bus back though. The bar and brewhouse are tucked away in the trees just off the main road and the bus stops are right by it. Large outside eating area. First time I remember seeing a small kids menu section this trip. The beers were Potsdamer Stange, a revival of an old Potsdam beer (a bit neutral with a slightly strange taste but not bad), a Bio Pils and a Lager, also both not bad. The weisse bier was good, not sweet.
From Potsdam, we had a bit of a trip and headed to Alter Fritz. We got the U Bahn to Alt Tegel (u6 or S 25), and from there a bus 222 to Heiligenseestrube/Ruppiner Chaussee. Buses 124 and 133 also pass by the bar. We walked back so can tell you its about a 15 min walk. The bar has a large outdoor seating area, but the inside is all coloured walls and is lovely. You see the brew plant as you walk in the door. The food is good here if a little pricey. The beers were Messing, an unusual but not unpleasant earthy taste, a Kupfer which was malty and nice and a Weisse bier which was dry and fruity, nice.
On the way back we stopped again at Eschenbrau, which we feel was probably the best brewery. The lamps out on the tables were gas powered and they may date from W Germany days, although I think they were reproductions!
MondayAfter more of the tourist bit and a trip to the Olympia stadion, which was closed due to them clearing up after a Robbie Williams concert, we headed to the last brewery to visit at Potsdamer Platz (U2 and S1,S2 and S25) in the Sony Centre. This is the Lindenbrau and only brews a weisse bier on the premises. An impressive setting, with impressive prices to match, the beer was 3 euros and 70 cents, probably the most expensive beer we had. It was a good weisse beer though!
Having dealt with breweries, we thought we`d try a couple of the recommended bars before heading off to the airport, both being within 5 mins walk of Alexanderplatz. First stop was the Alt Berliner, which is lovely old wood panelled bar with old pictures hung on the walls. Cosy in the winter I should think. Out front is a small drinking area which was nice. Beers tried were the Schultheiss Pils which was good, and Berliner Pils brewed by the same people which had a crispier bite, the other being quite smooth.
We then moved on to Zum Nubaum, which is a reproduction of an old bar which was on the site but flattened during WWII. Tiny rooms make it very cosy and well worth a visit. It also has a small drinking area outside. On the food side is a locally produced meatball special which is very good.
Berliner Kindl Jubilaums Pils to start which was ok, but not much to it. The Potsdammer Rex Pils was dry, hoppy and nice. A Markischer Landmann Schwarzbier was also enjoyed and was probably the most flavoursome dark beer all weekend. Malt and chocolate tastes, very good.
And to finish, a Berliner Kindl Weisse. This was just as I remember it, sour and fruity, lovely. Usually you have it with a fruit syrup, but its best enjoyed without. The bags were then collected and we headed back off to Tegel for the trip home. Berlin, yup I'll go back, but I still prefer Bamberg!