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New alternatives to German beer

Weary of Weisse? Kein Bock for Maibock? Exberliner found some corners of Berlin offering the best beer from some smaller corners of Europe.

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Guests outside Herman. Photo by Christophe Gruny

Herman bears no sign. Instead, a small chalkboard promises “Belgian Beer!” This is something of an understatement. Behind the bar, a set of brashly well-lit shelves exhibits nearly 100 available bottles. Charismatic and well-versed West Flanders owner Bart guides clientele – once nearly all international, now increasingly German – through the hulking menu, which offers everything from quotidian but refreshing Leffe to tangy, bafflingly delicious Petrus Aged Pale. Décor is minimal, and summer drinkers are better off slipping out to quaff streetside. Import costs can make Herman a somewhat wallet-lightening option (prices tend to hover just under €5), but with the punch-packing alcohol content of these beers, maybe a financial limit is just as well.

Herman, Schönhauser Allee 173, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelder Platz, daily 18-4.   

From “Santé!” To “Sláinte!”, fledgling nook Grogan’s (formerly Sona Sásta), has already garnered a reputation as the place to find “real Guinness” in Berlin. Energetic owner Keith is keen to assure patrons that he forgoes the concentrate-based brew common to other overseas pubs, shipping kegs directly from Dublin (you can take that with your preferred dosage of salt.) Does it really measure up? Happily, the friendly young staff pull with a practiced patience and serve up a settled and smooth two-tone pint with a creamy head. At under €4, the price is right, too. The bar itself is a smart mix of Rixdorf and Ranelagh – a German railway clock nestles comfortably among a better class of Irish bric-a-brac, and intrigued young natives mingle with expats in varying states of homesickness. 

Grogan’s, Schudoma Str. 3, Neukölln, S-Bhf Sonnenallee, Mon-Sat 18-close

Originally published in Issue #118, July/August 2013