Monthly Archives: January 2011

BrewDog and Beer Evolution 2011

Having bought Nanny State BrewDog’s 0.5% (I think a Swedish import) and sampling it for the first time last night, it seems in fitting to blog about BrewDog’s plans for 2011. 

With BrewDog’s Turnover up from £1.7m in 2009 to £3.6m+ in 2010, 2011 sees the launch of limited edition beers in the first 5 months of this year.

Alpha Dog

Launched on 1st January (yet to find and try)

A cask only 3.8% beer. A spin on the ESB style combining Scottish malts and bucket loads of US hops.

I Hardcore You

Launches 25th January

A 9.5% Imperial India Pale Ale, a blend of BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA and Mikkeller’s I Beat You. After the blending, the beer was then dryhopped a further twice. Available in 330ml bottles and kegs.

 29th January – launches a 4 pack of single hop IPAs. Using the same base 7.5% beer, IPA is Dead showcases BrewDogs 4 favourite hops from 4 corners of the planet. Available in 4 packs and kegs.

Alice Porter

Launches 1st February

Alice Porter is a 6.2% sacred union of one 300-year old recipe and two cross continental hop varieties. Described as a delicate mirage of chocolate, red fruit and burnt sugar. Available in bottle, keg and cask.

AB:05

Launches 16th February

The latest instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

Dog A

Launches 27th March

A new 15.1% Imperial Stout with a BrewDog twist!

Launches in April

Bitch Please

A  Rock ‘n Roll collaboration with Three Floyds. The beer is a 10% barley wine with New Zealand Hops, Shortbread, Scottish Highland Toffee and  some peated malt from Islay. Available in bottle and keg.

Paradox Jura

A new edition to the Paradox series. A 13% Imperial Stout aged in Jura single malt whiskycasks. Available in bottle and keg.

Launches in May

Dark Tokyo Horizon

A beer brewed with from Mikkeller and Nogne O. The beer is a fusion of the 3 brewery’s respective big stouts, Black, Dark Horizon and Tokyo*. Available in bottle.

AB:06

The 6th instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

So BrewDog are set to keep the marker in craft beer evolutionary.  The market for ale that does something different, that is an experience as opposed to a dull level of numb taste buds, is something that is in continual growth. Though there still continues to not be enough of beer that does that extra bit of work, especially at gig venues and theatres, and there are still a lack of pubs that are prepared to take a chance and maybe make the beer drinker think twice before he/she orders a Stella or Bud. 

For changing the beer you drink is a reflection on your philosophy of life, a commentary suggestive that you are open to experience and taking a chance.  With this in mind it will be interesting to see how 2011 pans out in the brewing industry.  I have a special interest on BrewDog and a personal interest on Quantum Brewing Company that is being set up by Jay Krause a great friend and awesomely refined craft beer drinker and master brewer.  2011 looks set to be good for the changing.

PS Nanny State was good, but it lacked that certain, which is an easy guess reflected in the ABV.


Food and Drinks Berlin

Although the guide books I had been reading did not credit the traditional Berlin cuisine as being anymore sophisticated than ‘Pig and Stodge,’ Berlin offers so much in the way of adventurous, hearty and affordable food. 

There are many multinational restaurants. We visited Thai, Japanese, Indian and Greek as well as traditional  ‘lokal’ fare.  The areas we found best to explore were anywhere away from the centre, but not too far that it became slum-like.  Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and just off the side streets of Mitte, avoiding where the prostitutes trawl, there are excellent places to dine and sup.  Although my favourite area to explore had to be, where we stayed, in Fredrichshain.  We found the staff, quality, wealth of places and prices made Fredrichshain a great area to trawl.  Here are some places I liked and remembered.

Fredrichshain

Bariton Cafe Bar Restaurant, Weserstr. 23 – nice bar, cool innards and has cocktails for  €3.50 at happy hour, though I stuck to Augustiner.  Here’s their facebook link  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=wall#!/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=info

  

 Hirsch Bar, Kopernikusstraße – reviewed in Ex-Berliner as a gastro pub, this was a lovely addition to our stay.  The bar opened earlier in 2010, and is extremely accommodating and lovely inside.  The food sizes are smaller than most places in Berlin, but are excellent quality and filling.  The house pilsner was crisp and €2.50.  Here is a link to their website http://www.hirsch-friedrichshain.de/

  

 Hops & Barley, Wühlischstr 22/23 – excellent and friendly micro brewery, try their spezialbier it changes all the time, mine was fantastic and a nice change to the taste buds as I had been drinking so much pilsner.  This place even offers accommodation, it only serves bar snacks.  Here is their link http://www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de

 

  Kino Intimes, Boxhagener Straße 107 – the bar with the cinema, excellent to sit outside in the biergarten on a sunny day.  They do the biggest meals I have seen and exceptionally well priced and wholesome.  This area is full of great bars to plod onto when you’ve finished.

Kreuzberg

Eckstück,Wrangelstraße 20 this cafe only opened in August 2010 and if you like it gritty, this is the place to dine.  We were the only people in there and I did get a mobster vibe.  All that said the food was really good and cooked fresh in the kitchen that is in the bar, if you want burger and chips or massive chicken salad you could do worse, but you could also do better.  Here’s their website http://www.eckstueck.de/cms/

Cafe Taz  Presso, Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 23this place had a Manchester “Green Room” vibe, which we returned to numerous times in our stay.  The food and coffee were excellent and the price amazingly inexpensive.  The menu changed daily and for €3 for chicken kneidel soup and a baguette don’t expect to come away hungry.  One of the best coffees I had in here. http://www.taz.de/zeitung/tazcafe/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    T A I S U, Rudi – Dutschke – Str. 28 this place was sold to us by the 50% off lunch time menu, I had 12 pieces of sushi (albeit veg option) and miso soup for  €5.  It had the feel of a chain, but the lunchtime menu had good options, though annoyingly as in every chain like Wagamama they never serve your food at the same time as the person you’re with.  All I can say is that my sushi must have been rolled fresh as it took so long to get from the server to me, it was very nice though and a good place to sit back and watch the neighbourhood bustle by.  Although this was good enough there were a lot of Japanese restaurants about that may be lots better so check them out, just head to the area and see what you can unleash. http://www.sushiwok.de/

Knofi,Bergmannstr. 98 – this was a lovely little Greek deli serving 5 tapas dishes and a lot of pitta for €11.  Me and Adam purchased a bottle of €6 merlot, but stick to the house in a carafe, as the wine is poor and the corkage is €8.  This place was so charming and looking at their website it appears that there are three of them.  It was a lovely place to sit in wicker chairs and reflect on the day. http://www.knofi.de/

Phuket, Mehringdamm 67 – We visited this lovely Thai restaurant on our first time in Berlin and were tempted to go back, but we branched out to Knofi instead.   The food was well prepared with lots of lemongrass as I remember, and Adam’s massaman was true to the Thai taste.

 


 


A Berlin Guide to Museums, Galleries, Memorials and Parks

Art Galleries, Memorials, Museums and Parks

As far as capital cities go, Berlin is inexpensive in comparison.  The museum pass is just €19 and allows admission into many of the main exhibitions for free over 3 consecutive days.  We purchased this card on both trips and found it a good way to see a lot of what we wanted, as well as encouraging us to go and see other things we wouldn’t necessarily have gone to if it wasn’t already included in the cost of the card.  We purchased the cards both times from the Tourist Office at Brandenburger Tor, but you can buy it from many of the museums that accept the card as payment.

My best museums and galleries to visit with the card:

Red are my favourites

Area: Hauptbahnhof/Central Station

  • Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery – Modern art gallery highlights include Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Roy Lichtenstein.
  • Museum für Naturkunde – Highlight the largest exhibited skeleton of a dinosaur to greet you.



Area: Museum Insel/Museum Island +Mitte

  • Alte Nationalgalerie – 19th century art.
  • Altes Museum – Greek and Roman art.
  • Markisches Museum – Plotting the history of Berlin.
  • Neues Museum – Classical art with the modernised building in the old structure, awesome.
  • Pergamonmuseum – Massive Altar stolen from Pergamon, great building to run about in.

Area: Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten

  • Museum für Fotografie – The Helmut Newton collection, fantastic exhibition of important photography of fashion and portrait shots from 20th century.

Area: Kulturforum + Potsdamer Platz

  • Berlinische Galerie – Art and photography from 1870 to present day, amazing model replicas.
  • Judisches Museum – The Jewish museum designed by Daniel Liebskind (architect for Imperial war museums and Twin Tower Memorial), unbelievable experience.
  • Kulturforum – Houses many museums and next to Musikinstrumentum museum.
  • Neue Nationalgalerie – Fantastic use of space as this building hosts the permanent exhibits of 20th century art in the basement.

The Best Museums, galleries, memorials and parks to visit that are free:

Area: Museum Insel/Museum Island +Mitte

  • Deutscher Dom – Amazing building to explore.
  • Knoblauchhaus – One of the few 18th century houses remaining in Berlin.
  • Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe – Memorial designed by American architect Peter Eisenmen, a piece to be experienced.
  • Neue Wache – The New Guard house, used as a war memorial since 1931.
  • Reichstag – Never been personally, but it would be on my most favoured list.  First time in Berlin, at the height of summer, the queue was massive and second time round it was shut due to terrorist threats.
  • Tacheles Gallery – Ex department store on Oranienburger St, now an artist commune.
  • Tiergarten – Massive park in Mitte, which was the park of West Berlin before reunification.

Area: Friedrichshain

  • STYX Project,The Old Brewery – Amazing warehouse to explore if you like art to be presented as gritty sometimes, Landsberger Allee 54.

Area: Kreuzberg

  • Tempelhof Airport The old airport that ceased operating in 2008 now a massive park.

Area: Kulturforum + Potsdamer Platz

  • Topographie des Terrors – This was the location of the Gestapo’s main office and now the site tells the story of it’s history.

Worth paying for individually

Area: Kulturforum + Potsdamer Platz

  • Museum für Film und Fernsehen – €6 entry, through infinity mirrors to see some stunning reminders of the epic films of Berlin.
  • Martin-Gropias-Bau – Fantastic building, look what the individual exhibits are before choosing which one to go to, €6 entry per exhibit.

Further Tips

  • State Museums are Free Thurs from 6pm till 8pm and Hamburger Bahnhof from 2pm.
  • The Temporary Kunsthalle no longer exists.
  • Do not visit the Anne Frank Zentrum, unless you like the idea of viewing a super imposed Anne Frank’s face with 14 year olds that looks like an S Club 7 photo shoot.
  • You get a guide to all the galleries, museums, palaces and memorials with map, opening hours and transport links when you purchase the museum card.

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