Dad, I fink I got it wrong again? Despite seeking the real Berlin, I appear to have gone into another bar that’s not strictly Berlin.
BraufactuM, although looking altogether the trendy Berlin craft beer and burger joint is actually run by a Frankfurt company, founded in 2010 by a bloke called Marc Rauschmann who was the original brewer. Their website tells me their products are available all over Germany, but they only seem to have two bars, one in Dresden and this one just off Alexanderplatz which is both bar and separate bottle shop.
Building on a theme, it’s not a bar as we’d expect in the UK, everyone is seated. Don’t be put off about having to sit down, you don’t have to eat and passing an hour with a beer or two watching the world go by on the busy thoroughfare outside is perfectly acceptable.
Language isn’t a problem and the friendly staff spoke decent to perfect English. Both beer and food menus are available in English too. Table service is swift and efficient, they politely ask if you’d like another well before you get to the bottom of your glass, and there’s no annoying wait for the bill at the end.
Sixteen keg lines poking out of the bar back, including four guests, from Mikkeller, Firestone Walker (2) and Allgäuer. Prices were according to ABV and with the current UK Sterling exchange rate weren’t particularly cheap; best value being a lunchtime burger, fries and a 0.3L beer for €8.5. One of the stronger beers, 11.5% was €9.5 for 0.5L which is comparable with the same style of beer in the UK. I did see quite a few taster flights being sent out at €7.5 for four 0.1L glasses on a flight board, together with a natty card with tasting notes.
There seemed to be a BraufactuM interpretation of many diverse beer styles from across the brewing atlas, including a Brown ale, Scotch ale, the usual Pales and IPA’s and several of their takes on traditional German styles. We tried several of the house beers over two visits;
Progusta IPA (6.8%) was billed as an IPA, pleasant, but not quite the US influenced style I was expecting, although dispensed from a keg font, it wasn’t over carbonated. The girl who served us didn’t know, but I’m guessing it was unfined, unfiltered and quite possibly live beer.
Soleya a saison was again, at 6.5%, an interpretation of a saison. A nice one too, not too sharp or sour, and very drinkable. Again, my judgement said it was real beer.
My standout favourite was the Berliner Pilsner (5%), nicely bitter with a hint of almonds, amongst other things. Accomplished, comparatively decent value at €4.5 for half a litre, reinforcing the mantra to stick to what you know best.
Decor was what you’d expect for this type of place which without the iconic Fernsehturm outside, could have been in Leeds, London, Italy, the USA or anywhere really. More a chain craft beer cum dining place than a pub or a bar.
Impressive wall art was worth a visit in it’s own right, but I wasn’t sure about the extensive dry stone walling which was reminiscent of those 1970’s fireplace in a box DIY kits.
Downstairs toilets needed a urinal unblocking and were a bit incongruous, a spartan reminder of the GDR, which is where this 1970’s ex-retail unit would have sat before the Wall came down.
Standout feature? Despite everyone telling me that German engineering is the best and most efficient in the world, all the metal cutlery was stamped, ‘Made in Brazil’. You’d think the EU would do something about people who are letting the States of Europe down like this .
Verdict; Craft beer and burger bar. Decent beer, without any Wow factor. Is it Berlin? Could it be anywhere? Maybe both, but certainly not the Berlin I was looking for.
BraufactuM Berlin is at Memhardstraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin.