Ramble On

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Revisiting the Berlin Brewery Scene

This framed mirror was one of my first
Ku'damm purchases in 1981!
It's funny how past blog topics come around again from time to time, and that is exactly what I was thinking when I saw a Facebook post come up recently about the Berliner Kindl brewery in Berlin.  A recent one about Berliner Kindl beer actually had me scurrying down to the basement to search for old souvenirs from when I was stationed in Berlin in the 1980's.  

Back in October 2014 I wrote a post here about a memory of the brewing smell from the nearby Schultheiss Brewery when I was stationed at Tempelhof Central Airport in Berlin.  That led me to do a Google search for images of the old buildings I remembered discovering back then as I walked around the neighborhood.

These two round Schultheiss deckels are among
my favorites of the ones I collected.
The post that inspired today's entry was on Thrillist (post is here), and as a fan of all things Berlin, I absolutely devoured it as soon as I saw it in a Facebook link!  A couple of the entries here that may one day inspire another post on Hawksbill Cabin are the mention of Berlin's craft brewery scene, and another about the old brewery in Neukolln - two points of interest I'd like to check out in person someday.  
The writer takes a moment to mention Berliner Weiss - an example of the sour style of beer that is increasingly popular here in the US.  Berliners practically have a copyright on this beverage, which is a sour wheat flavored with a squirt of fruity syrup.  I remember a beautiful May afternoon in 1984, visiting a shopping district up in Tegel and sipping one in a sidewalk cafe - I'm pretty sure I picked the red one - and again another time, a summer evening on the Ku'damm.  This drink is made for drinking outside and people watching!    

These are also favorites because of the ad for the
1985 Bundesgartenshau.
Another item of note in the post is the reference to the traditional beer advertisements that you can find all over Europe - the deckels, or coasters.  While I don't have any Kindl ones, I do have a number of Schultheiss ones, some of which are special interest topics.  In the photo above you can see a round one with the Schultheiss mascot character (I think the translation of Schultheiss is a reference to a municipal leadership role - need to confirm that) with a 1983 ad for the bi-annual British Tattoo that was held at the Deutcschlandhalle. 

I went to that spectacular show - it is a performance of massed pipes and drums, typically from military bands.  Back then, it was an annual show that alternated between Berlin and London.  I wasn't able to find a link to video from the 1983 show, but here is one from a 2011 Tattoo:  

The second set shows another Schultheiss ad for the Bundesgartenshau in 1985 (Mary and I went to the version in Potsdam in 2001, by the way).  Here's a Wikipedia post about a park that was designed for that show.  I'll see if I can dig up our photos from the 2001 edition.

My Charlottenburger Pilsner deckel, a souvenir
of my 1996 visit on the way to Kiev.
A final photo to close out today's post, this time of Charlottenburger Pilsner.  To be honest, during my time in Berlin I didn't often drink these beers - they simply weren't served in many of the places I frequented.  I've got tons of deckels with Konig Pils, Tucher, and Jever, among others, and Pilsner Urquell, which we absolutely sought out.

Schultheiss in particualr was definitely an urban, city beer (Baltimore's Nattie Boh comes to mind) - but I do remember how refreshing it could be in a smoky disco.  You could get a six-pack of Berliner Kindl in cans at an imbiss near the Oskar Helene Heim U-bahn stop, and I do remember doing that a few times when I was taking University of Maryland classes down there.

As far as the Charlottenburger Pils goes, I don't remember trying it during my years there.  But during a visit in 1996 I stayed in Rhiemers Hofgarten  on a stopover on the way to Kiev, and I had a couple in the hotel bar.  That's probably where I got this deckel, but I'll see if I can't track down more info on Charlottenburg Pils for a future post - it appears to have an interesting story about an East Berlin connection.  

I have been feeling a bit nostalgic about Berlin these days, so I was happy to see that Thrillist post.  Took me back - I'm glad I still have the souvenirs!

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