Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A TRIP TO HERMAN BELGIAN BAR, BERLIN

It's taking me a while to purge my notes from my beer-centric jaunt to Germany from a few weeks ago, but let's carry on from our previous Hamburg-centric post and visit Berlin next. Berlin! Man, I'd been dying to see this city for years. The entire city is one big open-air museum designed to reckon with (and atone for) its ugly 20th-century history. Moreover, it's becoming a killer beer town. Not quite on the level of a Brussels or even an Oslo, mind you, but having done a little homework before I arrived for two nights, I made sure to hit some of the spots pundits who traveled before me recommended. 

One of these was HERMAN BELGIAN BAR in the "former East Germany". I don't think most Berliners really say that anymore, but old-timers like myself are still pretty fascinated with the 'roided out 1976 Olympic swimming team, the Stasi and other strangeness from the 1961-1990 period in the DDR. In any event, Herman's a specialty beer bar on a cool thoroughfare focused on Belgians and Belgian-style ales from around the world. No hefs, baby. Lots of craft beer-related ephemera around the place: flyers for "Berlin beer week"; postcards for special tasting events and so on. It's clear that the revolution has hit big here, and the need for samizdat is at an all-time low.

I kinda liked that even the people running this place didn't really know what they were serving me. One was a flanders oud bruin on draft from what they called "an unknown Belgian brewer". It was something they were proud to get their hands on, but when I tried to nail down specifics on who made it, specifics were not forthcoming. It could be a language thing. I don't speak theirs, and they only somewhat spoke mine. I also tried an "oriental wit" on draft from a German Belgian-syle brewer, and it was great! Too bad even this was difficult to glean any information on. My sincere apologies.

So at Herman Belgian Bar, it's not really about taking notes for your dumb beer blog, it's about the experience of drinking some special ales on a loose Friday night in a place that was once crawling with misery and hopelessness. I'd go there again, and you should too.

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