I can’t claim writing about Hamburg’s embryonic craft beer scene fills me with as much joy as overhearing conversations in basic pubs in Hereford. But it might (like the post on Flixton) be of interest to future travellers. And I need to sort out the photos on my OneDrive.
I was grateful to a number of folk (especially JGG) who gave me tips for exploring the bars in the Sternschanze, Hamburg’s Hackney (with the Reeperbahn its Bethnal Green).
Kicking off at Galopper des Jahres in the centre of it all, on Schulterblatt. Despite the street art (or possibly riot damage), it’s a rather traditional area dominated by Italian and Asian restaurants.
Dark it may be, but Galopper does that civilised thing of providing a nice, clear priced beer list that old people can read.
I’ve no idea how “crafty” that list is; I only recognised the Maisel Pale that I enjoyed in Bayreuth last year, and that’s “Big Brewery”, isn’t it ?
Without the option of Draught Bass from the jug, I started with the local Wildwuchs Fastmoker Pils, which is pleasant enough and served in a proper glass. And I got to pay for my beer at the bar, a real bonus.
I know it’s local because I asked the young barman for a local beer. He was very pleasant, resisting the temptation to say “Read the beer list, Englischer“, which is what they say in Vienna. Despite actually only knowing 30 words of German, they seem to do me very well indeed. Until I need a watch battery.
Proper pubby seating and a casual “lived-in” feel was much to my taste. Everyone was under 30, which is why the soundtrack was Chic and Miami Sound Machine, but it was far from smart. It reminded me of Stockport’s Remedy on a Friday night, a Good Thing.
So good I stayed for another (hoping to hear some Shalamar or Donna Summer on the playlist). The Wacken Tyr IPA was something else. It slipped down. Only later did I notice it was 8.3%. Oh, well.
I fair flew home to Altona after that.
The next day’s walk through the residential housing around St Pauli brought more evidence of the vandalism wrought on local businesses during G20 (top).
Despite the barricades and broken windows, the area is a quirky joy.
And Alles Elbe, another top recommendation from JGG.
I imagine I’ll be visiting a fair few café type craft bars like this in Bristol next week, hopefully a bit busier than Alles Elbe on a Tuesday night.
Fans of handwritten beer lists and overstretched barmen will love the place. The young chap was attending the kitchen, the bar and a complex coupon system that I never understood. Which all made service very slow.
It took 5 minutes to order and 5 minutes to get the beer delivered, which might not sound long but I can assure you would cause riots in your Sam Smiths if it was the norm.
The Balduin was OK, but hardly worth the craft premium, though I did get free pretzels while pretended to read the inevitable magazine. Sadly, it doesn’t feature any articles on pub crawls in Erlangen.
Unwisely, I succumbed to the Hopperbrau Bock, my last beer in Hamburg. Thin and fizzy, it didn’t drink its strength (6.7%). That’s the craft beer lottery.
Perhaps it was just the use of wood, but it had the homely charm of a Polish village bar, where you also might hear weird jazz versions of “The Model“.
In contrast to Galloper, the two groups of friends were in their 30s, and discussing eggs rather than EDM. That was as far as my translation went. Perhaps Shazam will bring out an App I can use to convert foreign pub banter into English.
Tellingly, I was there 35 minutes (15 minutes waiting for beer) and didn’t see a single other beer sold.