Berlin Craft Beer Breweries and Bars


Since we are hitting the stride of Berlin Craft Beer Week I thought I’d give a list of some of our favorite places to get craft beer around the city. The list is diverse: from dive bars to expansive multi-continental breweries, but all of them deliver on cold and delicious craft beer.

Much like America, Germany, in particular Berlin, has seen a dramatic upswing in craft beer sales, production, and ingenuity. While you can still go to almost every bar and get a traditional Lager, Weiße or Dunkel, there are other styles (traditional, like Gose and adopted, like APA) edging their way onto menus. The young entrepreneurs of Berlin, seemingly always ahead of the crowd, are making some really great beer and are creating really cool spaces to drink said beers and have a good time.

While this doesn’t include every bar or brewery that serves craft beer in the city it should keep you busy and well sudsy in Berlin for at least a couple rounds of beers. If you’ve exhausted this list check out other craft beer havens like IPA Bar, Das Meisterstück, Brauhäus Südstern, Pfefferbräu, and BrewBaker (still kicking myself for showing up when it was closed).

While most of these bars are participating in craft beer week check out their websites to find the details about tap takeovers and special events.

As always, drink responsibly, but drink well!

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Berlin’s Weekly Markets


One of my favorite parts of traveling is checking out the local neighborhood markets. As a former cook, I like to see what produce is in season and what the local artisans are selling from their makeshift stalls. Every city has a different vibe, but most markets share the same qualities: the singsong of men hawking their goods, ladies trying to fill your hands with fruits, and somewhere there always seems to be someone playing music. Berlin’s markets are bustling. They are not only a place to do weekly shopping, but they are destinations—a place to meet up with friends, have a glass of wine, and get something to eat.

Every market has food vendors so go hungry and be sure to bring your reusable bag (as Germans are very keen on reducing, reusing, and recycling). While this list doesn’t include all of the markets in town, these are the ones I thought were well worth the visit. The places on the second list aren’t so much farmers markets, but more food parties (fairs? destinations? meccas?) that happen on a weekly (or somewhat regular basis). They are all great spots to try the many cuisines that run rampant on the German capital’s streets.

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Istanbul: Coming Back, Going Home


There has been a lot written about Turkey in the last month and particularly in the last week since the military coup. There is bound to be even more written about it: the militarization of the police, the waiving of human rights in light of the state of emergency, and the witchhunt that is bound to ensue. The first thing I noticed was the noise on the streets—that feeling of unease and energy that seems to be winding up to something. I want to read these accounts. I need to read these accounts. I am trying to understand what happened in this city in the month that I have been gone.

There are the facts: there was a terrorist attack at the airport that I both left and arrived back to; there were guns and bombs and 41 people who died and many more left wounded; it was the third major attack in the city since January. There was also a military coup—or there was an attempted military coup—one week ago, around the time you’d finish Friday night Meyhane dinner; everything stopped and nobody knew what was happening; there were fighter jets over Beyoğlu (the most populated section of the city), phones were alerting people to stay inside, and the president Facetimed his country, and the world, urging the people to take back the streets, which they did. 265 people lost their lives.

For the last week there has been an ongoing party, that positions itself as a national rally, happening two blocks from the apartment; there is colorful music and hundreds of Turkish flags waving loudly in Taksim square; the festivities lasts well beyond midnight into the morning.

It’s a celebration of an idea—an idea I’m not sure I fully understand.

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Three Berlin Bier Gartens


Summer in Germany can only mean one thing: afternoons at the bier garten.

The German beer garden is a perfect place; it takes the sodality of church, the craic of a good pub, and the liveliness of a community center and presents itself as a simple place to have a good time with friends and neighbors. Beer gardens range from small neighborhood joints to sprawling metropolises with seating for thousands.

Beer Gardens are undoubtedly German. They were first introduced in the Bavaria region in the early 19th century when a law was passed allowing breweries to sell their beer on their property. They set up large tables under the shade of chestnut trees and started pouring beers to keep the people entertained.

A beer garden must have cold beer, reasonably priced and delicious food, and gemütlichkeit, a German word that has no translation but roughly accounts for some state of familiarity, good atmosphere, homeyness, and belonging. The beer garden should be a place that you want to be. The beer, served cold because of the summer heat, is usually a local variety and poured in half or whole liter mugs. The food is through and through German with pig knuckles, various wursts, pretzels, and obatzda, a Bavarian cheese spread and a personal favorite.

There are thousands of beer gardens throughout Germany and Berlin is home to hundreds of them. We spent many afternoons in said beer gardens playing cards, relaxing in the shade of the chestnut trees, and of course drinking beer. Here are a few of our favorites scattered throughout the city.

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Back in Berlin


Berlin was our first stop in Europe last September. When we got to Berlin, we were both a year younger than we are now, we hadn’t been married a month, and we didn’t really know what we were doing. This time around, we smartened up (I hope so!). Instead of bringing what remained of our lives we each brought a back pack. Instead of spending our days trying to fit it all in we take it as it comes. We are more relaxed. The only agenda we have is to eat and drink, practice our German, and lay in the parks.

Our first trip to Berlin was exciting, but it was the kind of excitement that is mixed with the terror of being on the road for three months and the anxiety of a new city every week. While I tried to soak up as much as I could (the street food, the traces of WWII, and our eclectic Turkish/hipster neighborhood) while Rebecca played tour guide, there was a part of both of us that was thinking about our next move. After we left and in the months since, we came back to Berlin in our thoughts.

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A Saturday Market: Feira da Ladra


The Feira da Ladra is a market that pops up twice a week on the old streets of Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal. There are historical references of the Feira that date back to the 17th century and since my Aunt Kimberly is a lover and collector of trinkets, old and new, we decided to spend our Saturday morning walking the stalls and admiring the wares of this Lisbon tradition.

The market starts at the Arco do São Vicente de Fora Church, which not surprisingly, is attached to the São Vicente de Fora Church. Vendors line the Campo de Santa Clara with small stalls or simply blankets laid on the ground as the sprawling market stretches down the hill and covers the area behind the Santa Engracia Church, the National Pantheon, which houses the tombs of many famous Portuguese including former presidents, the 19th century Romantic writer Almeida Garrett, and the famous Fadista Amália Rodrigues.

The stalls range from used vinyl, to happy meal toys, and newly handcrafted cork products. The people and faces were equally as diverse as what was for sale. This brief Saturday walk captures what there is to truly love about Lisbon: old and new coming together to create a luscious and colorful palate of the city.  The market runs every Tuesday and Saturday from dawn to dusk and is a must see attraction in the Alfama district.

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