Berlin’s beer roots are deep in the ground. I mean, Germany is a beer country – and they take their beer very seriously. They even have a 500-year-old Beer Purity Law which says that only hops, barley, yeast and water can be used to make Germany’s favourite drink, of which they have over 5,500 brands of. Trust me, you won’t go thirsty in there.
And lucky for Tom and I, who at heart are shameless craft beer geeks, Germany (and especially Berlin) has started to embrace the craft beer revolution as well as enjoying their traditional brews. For a country with such an established beer tradition I can totally understand why it would have taken a little longer for the new age beer drinkers to get a foothold, but I am so glad it has. Craft beer is intended to strengthen a beer culture, not to steal attention from the traditional scene, so I for one am really, REALLY happy to welcome the new kids on the block to Berlin.
And if craft beer in Berlin is your game – and it totally should be – there is a little gem in Berlin we only found because our hosts had happened upon it by accident before. Meet Message in a Bottle, a cosy little café in a leafy suburb. This place quadruples up as a café, lunch destination, wine bar and a craft beer paradise. Oh. They also sport a little book store filled with all kinds of works from all kinds of walks of life – so if you fancy a read with your tipple, this is your spot.
Their craft beer selection is not enormous – they have two fridges of the stuff – but it’s quality over quantity here. Ingo Weiss, who owns this charming venture, has hand-selected a good number of them and he knows what he’s talking about. He works with a few family-run breweries in Germany and some big names just hitting the market and boy can he talk beer!
One of my favourite things in the world is talking beer with someone who isn’t dying of boredom or rolling their eyes at my (fairly well educated, even if I say so myself)ramblings. We spent a lovely afternoon just sitting and discussing beer cultures, craft beer and beer history with Ingo and that was probably one the most inspiring afternoons of our holiday in this fair city. I’d trust this guy to choose my beers anytime.
Message in a Bottle has this weird ability to make you feel like you’re a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of a capital city, you instantly chill out as you enter. The staff are super friendly and if you get stuck on what to order, fear not! They come armed with an ironclad knowledge of their products and recommend you the best thing for your current cravings. Our crew wanted a hop bomb, a smoky delight, a dark and treacly porter and an IPA and we were not disappointed.
This little place also puts on a mean beer tasting and more often than not you can pop in for some live music, ranging from jazz to flamenco. Spot on. Speaking of spotting, spot Tom on the pic above 😉