Photos: Yvonne Hartmann
Take a casual stroll through Berlin and discover two of the city’s finest breweries, BRLO and Brewdog. The route takes you along the former Potsdam and Dresden railway lines that ran from the city centre; a forgotten part of Berlin’s past that’s been replaced with some fine greenery and tasty beers.
BRLO Brwhouse – DogTap, Marienpark
Of course living in Berlin, there are plenty of trails to recommend and explore, so why this one in particular?
Well for starters it takes you through arguably the city’s best park – Gleisdreieck. OK – this is open for debate. It also starts off at perhaps my favourite brewery in the city and finishes up in one of that is equally as impressive, while remaining hidden away from the masses. It’s also a short walk that takes you out of the city, and out of the comfort zone for many.
The path that we’ve taken in Berlin starts just south of the Landwehr Canal in Gleisdreieck Park. The area itself has been repurposed from its industrial past, where it used to serve as a railway track that connected the former station at Potsdamer Platz. Little remains of the former station, but the area itself has many clues to its past. Next to the BRLO restaurant is another station from the line, Berlin Dresdner Bahnhof, which now serves as a location for events. Just over the canal you can see the shelled out remains of Anhalter Bahnhof, another relic from the pre-bombed out era of the German city.
The route takes its start in the beer garden of BRLO Brwhouse. BRLO (which is the Slavic name for Berlin) has been one of the great additions to the Berlin beer scene in recent history… but more of that later. The garden is a fine place to be a on a sunny day. Shaded by hops vines looking out on to the train lines and sprawling park, you can treat yourself to some great beers, including a crisp, rich helles (one of the best in Berlin), some heavy-yet-funky IPAs, and some seasonal brews (although at time of writing, the range is limited for obvious reasons).
You won’t find this walk signposted, primarily because it’s something I made up. However you can follow the route easily here on Komoot. Leaving that garden you walk south through the narrow strip of land that is Gleisdreieck Park. Once you exit the park, you only need to cross the car park and main road before you connect with the Nord-Süd-Grünzugs, a corridor full of playgrounds and sport areas perfect for cyclists, skaters and generally just anyone. The Grünzugs follows the railway line under Monumentenbrücke and all the way to Sudkreuz. Here you skirt around the station which connects to the Hans-Baluschek-Park, a 1.5km long stretch of line that used to function as the Berlin-Dresden railway line. Nowadays its mainly filled with skaters and sports folk, along with great views of the sidelined kleinergartens.
From Priesterweg onwards the route winds through old suburban districts, along the Teltower canal on to the Mariendorfer-Hafen-Steg, the 110 year-old bridge that connects the two sides of the embankment. Here a tiny path leads to Marienpark and next to an incredible solar power factory, where the new brewery for Brewdog can be found. The estate here is an awe-inducing monument to the gasworks that formerly operated out of the space. In the background, a huge gas holder looms over the beer garden, while even further back you can see the former factory’s alien-like, gas domes. This is where you can find the new European hub for Scottish breweries Brewdog in the restored Mariendorf gasworks building, that was once home to Stone’s Brewery. It’s a colossal and more-than impressive building that can home up to 1,200 visitors, includes a beer-museum and bowling alley, and has a beer garden that is hard to be rivalled.
Even though the quality of Brewdog beers cannot be questioned they are without a doubt a required taste. Very hoppy and aggressive, some of the beers have a young taste, which might be your thing. On this particular visit I had a glass of the Elvis Juice, a zesty IPA that tastes extremely ripe and sweet. Probably one of my favourite from their range.
Over the years Brewdog has won countless of awards, and even if the helles or IPA doesn’t take your fancy, it won’t take you long to get to a beer that does suit your taste.
A lot of the joy from DogTap Berlin is derided from the experience they provide. It’s an incredible space with great service, and full-on garden that’s perfect for summer days. A lot of thought has gone in to this bar and it’s going to be great when you get a whole group of people together and go out for a drink. And you know what they say, half the fun is the journey itself.
It’s hard to believe that BRLO have been on the scene for little over five years, the impact they’ve had on the city. I’m also still amazed at the variety of beers they offer while still adhering to the Reinheitsgebot. Some of my favourite over the past few years have been the Earl Grey, the Redlight, and the Brazilian Blowout. They seem to have nailed how to perfectly craft Pilsners, IPAs, Stouts, and Porters all the with the correct level of flavour. They also actively support charity programmes and buy from local producers. When the restaurant’s open, they also do a mean vegetarian grill and tapas – perfect pub food. There’s very little else you could want from a brewery.