Still Thirsty? The Last Two Days of Berlin Beer Week with Dirk Hoplitschek
By Andrew Cottrill . June 19, 2015
Berlin Beer Week has been taking over Berlin’s best drinking holes all week and is now entering its final stages. But, before we say “Time, gentlemen, please” on this week’s drinking, there’s still two more evenings’ worth of great craft beer events.
I spoke to Berlin Beer Week’s Dirk Hoplitschek about the week, and his recommendations for Friday and Saturday.
“There’s still a multitude of cool beer events that will make you wish our closing was a week later:
“Climb for Craft, the bouldering & beer challenge, is on all week, with beer challenges available at Vagabund Brewery and Hops&Barley, and climbing challenges at Bright Site Bouldering, Schoeneberg. Also, the BRLO Pop-up Beer Garden at Platoon Kunsthalle, the Braukunsteller Tap Takeover at Hopfenreich and the “Garden of Heroes” (Helmholtzplatz) by Heldenblut Brewery and Braumeister e.V. are week-long events not to miss.
“Das Gift has some excellent Scottish food and ales on the menu, so here’s your chance to lose some prejudice towards haggis, if you had any, or just enjoy their cuisine if you didn’t.
“Saturday’s closing event is definitely going to end the week with a bang. It is hosted by Stone Brewing Berlin at their new venue on Lankwitzer Strasse 48, 12107 Berlin.
“With the impressive backdrop of the former gasworks buildings that forms the core of the new brewery, a more perfect stage could not be asked for.
“10 Berlin craft breweries will make an appearance, as well as some carefully selected food trucks and live musicians. Just for the occasion, Stone has also convinced their friends from the US to send some of their amazing brews, so beers from infamous breweries such as Avery, The Bruery and Russian River will be on tap in Germany for the first time ever.”
So, Dirk (may I call you Dirk?), how did Berlin Beer Week happen?
“The idea: Don’t bring the beer to the people, bring the people to the beer! Centralized beer festivals are great, but lack the atmosphere of a bar, a brewery, and sometimes the presence of the people who truly care about the product. After we had this idea, and had our first meeting, many people from the Berlin brewing scene wanted to get on board!”
And, how do you see the Berlin beer scene?
“Berlin beer, 5 years ago: The city’s entire brewing industry is in the hands of one large company, ruling the beer world with an iron fist. There were a few small brewhouses, but frankly, their beers catered almost as much to the lowest common denominator tastes of tourists and regulars as the larger brews. Creativity among brewers was largely confined to their own, small circles.
“All the while, the tides of change were on the rise. A few tasty drops of inspiration began to make it over the fortress walls of German beer traditionalism.
“It had to be in Berlin, of course. With the city’s increasing national and international popularity, where else would the craft beer wave hit? Where else would beer-wise guests eventually dare challenge preconceived notions and say: ‘Yeah, I like your Pilseners. But don’t you have something with a little more kick?’
“And now we are where we’re at, where we can host great craft beer events like Berlin Beer Week.”
So, who’re the geniuses behind Berlin Beer Week?
“Stefan Krueger and I, both Berlin boys, have been watching and nurturing the growing craft beer scene in our hometown since its first, cautious steps. Independently, we’ve done several projects that raise awareness about the drink they share and love, such as Beergeeks Distribution and the Bier-Index online community.
“But it wasn’t until we met Tiffany Herrington, US-born brewer and beer enthusiast, that things started moving. She asked Stefan a very simple question: ‘Why is there no Beer Week in Berlin?’, the answer to which (“I don’t know. What is a beer week?”) sparked a series of events and, ultimately, led to a bunch of people, huddled together in a dark, cold cellar, surrounded by beer barrels, planning, scheming…
“A few weeks later, Megan Zerafa from Melbourne (AUS) joined us, adding even more energy and enthusiasm that would make Berlin Beer Week a reality.”
Thanks a lot Dirk. Looking forward to Berlin Beer Week 2016!