Love Zwickelbier

Beautiful Buildings and Cloudy Beers by Clive La Pensée

There is not much point in extolling the virtues of unfiltered beers, if we don’t know where to buy them. My first choice is to go to my nano-brewery and take a pint from my US-built Cornelius keg. First choice, because I don’t have to go far and it costs about 20p a pint. Failing that, I go to the Lindenbräu in the Sony Centre on the Potsdamer Platz.

Why do that? The Sony Centre architecture is stunning. The Potsdamer Platz has always been connected to the German film industry, houses the film museum and still hosts festivals. I can’t help thinking that the architect watched Fritz Lang’s expressionist film Metropolis, before he put pencil to paper.

 Beautiful Buildings And Cloudy Beers

Brewpubs are the Rule

The picture is a view from outside the Lindenbräu Pub taken just before Christmas. The beer is reasonably priced. Ask for Zwickel or Kellerbier. The words mean roughly the same. Zwickel is the archway in a cellar.

The Lindenbräu food is great too, but different to the Georgbräu brewpub in the Nikolai Quarter. They brew on the premises and a plate of herrings in dill mayonnaise with Bratkartoffel, is a symphony, especially when accompanied by naturally cloudy beer.

But briefly back to the Potsdamer Platz. There is another building, which is on the must-see list; the Philharmonie. Built fifty years ago, it still has the wow effect, and wows me each time I go in! Is there a line of symmetry in the building? I suspect there is, but it appears to be a mad collection of draws, pulled to silly angles to form galleries, some of which are sloping, so your neighbour is above you or below. The foyer gives an impression of a confused collection of stairs going everywhichway. Do buy a ticket for a concert. Never mind if you like the music. You won’t regret it. Last Sunday I saw and heard Tine Thing Helseth do Hummel’s trumpet concerto. She complemented the building perfectly, but I cannot promise you will be that lucky and get her.

My third recommendation has to be Stockholm’s Brewpub and Restaurant. They have around seven unfiltered beers on offer and write on their website:

All of Stockholm’s handcrafted beers are brewed in an Old World Tradition, cask-conditioned and un-filtered, for full balance flavor.  Our beers begin with 2 row barley malts.  To which we will add other malts, grains, and selected hops for each individual brew.

To note is – unfiltered, for full balance flavour! It is worth flying to Stockholm for a pint. The beer is so expensive, the flight cost will be insignificant. So settle for just one pint. You won’t regret the effort and the walk from one pub to another takes you along a stunning peninsular. (That actually makes four pints – you are now skint so can go home.)

There is an alternative to bankrupting yourself in Stockholm. Set up your own nano-brewery, and then you can enjoy the same product for …… wait for it….. 20p/pint. Nano uses a factor of 10-9. Breweries make beer in thousands of hectolitres. My rig is 40 litres, and I brew about four times a year. Hence I use the term nano-scale, although I’m not quite that small.

If that sounds like a plan, purchase an insulated picnic cool box, (40 litres) and for my next blog, I’ll tell you how to turn it into a mash tun. With it, we can convert the starch stored in barley to maltose – two glucose units joined. That we can spice with hops, ferment and drink a craft beer.

You should stay in the range £20 – £40 for the cool box. Boilers and feermenters will cost another £200. Second-hand stainless steel kegs are around £40.

Before you start, consider if you have access to the kitchens or use of a shed or garage. The latter, with electricity and water laid on, is perfect.

A five minute walk southwards from the Potsdamer Platz, past the Philharmonie, takes you to the Kurfürstenstrasse. This is one of the hubs of the Berlin sex industry and features in my Berlin novel, The Last Stop, in which one of the women organises a fight back.

Metropolis 1927 film – available on YouTube - Below - one of the many amazing views the Philharmonie offers.