Beer Blog

Lemke am Alex, Berlin

Brauhaus Lemke style theirselves as Berlin’s first craft brewer, I’m not going to argue with that. They’ve currently got three premises in Berlin; Brauhaus Lemke am Hackeschen Mark is the original brewery and Brewpub, Brauhaus Lemke am Schloss is a craft beer restaurant along with the one I visited.

Brauhaus Lemke am Alex is just off Alexanderplatz, quite near to Braufactum and just across the road from Bierbar Alkopole, if eight lanes of traffic, separated by a wide central reservation and two tram tracks count as a simple road.

I’ll stick my hands up and say I wouldn’t have gone to another craft beer bar cum restaurant if we hadn’t met friends and were looking for some food after a couple of pints of fine stout in Kaschk. To be fair, all four of us thought Lemke Alex was a good call. The beer was good and the food simple but wholesome.

Schweinshaxe should be available everywhere. It’s proper pub food of the highest order. In the UK we sadly seem to have adopted dinky slow roasted lamb shanks instead of giant pig knuckles. I’m guessing they don’t appear anywhere on Brakes identipubkitchen product list.

You can have the slightly pickled and boiled Eisbein or the crispy slow roast Schweinshaxe which the server told us was the one we really wanted. Fair play, with sauerkraut and roasted cum sauteed potatoes it was only €14.90 as opposed to €22 for the boiled version.

As big as a small Sunday roast and easily enough for two. By the time I’d waded through it, accompanied by two excellent pints of IPA, the waiter was asking us if we wanted another drink as they were closing at midnight. Sorry Pal, not after all that.

I guess the multi national waiters summed up the focus of the place, essentially the multi national visitors and residents of the city, rather than the true natives who all must have been sat watching TV in corporation flats up the road on Karl-Marx-Allee. 

The decor and ambience of Lemke Alex was similarly multi national, and surely industrial style lights are now the signature feature of craft bars across Europe. And did Brewdog do Berlin or did Berlin do Brewdog first? Hard to tell really. You could say the same about Brewhouse and Kitchen and their ilk, who also seemed to have or lent to, or borrowed from the decor here.

With top grub and decent beer in pleasant comfortable surroundings, who cares? No one else did and the place was quite busy, selling plenty of beer and food. I drank the 6.5% IPA at €6.10 a pint (0.5L). I was quite impressed, a decent well brewed, US influenced IPA that’s a bit too easy to drink at the ABV but suited the food very well.

There was the usual spectrum of beers, all from Lemke. It seems this standard style list is mandatory for German craft brewers. There were cheaper beers available at €4.90 a pint, which isn’t bad for a big city.

It was nice to see some seating areas designed purely for drinking, as opposed to dining and or drinking. Don’t be afraid to go into one of these places and just order a drink, it’s quite acceptable. I wasn’t sure about the children’s area though? Multi functional as Lemke Alex was it wasn’t Maccy D’s. Looking at the image, you might say it was, but it was situated well away from the main action.

I couldn’t help the Marcel Duchamp interpretation, not so much as to exhibit how design function can become art, more to evidence the general style and cleanliness of public house toilets in Berlin. Exemplary in nearly all cases, something a lot of skanky British boozers need to do something about. 

Rant over. Lets get onto the tractor taking pride of place up front in the attractive outside seating area. In these times of Brexit woes, and how are we going to survive against the might of continental Europe, alright Germany and their engineering and manufacturing uber alles, how come it’s an old McCormick (International Harvester)? 

Maybe it’s because all the German tractors I remember were a mucky shade of green? Maybe it’s because bright red is too shouty for the German psyche? They have lurid fluorescent football shirts though. Mind you they have lots of mucky, washed out colours in the Bundesliga too. Maybe that’s just Germany? 

Lemke Alex it’s not a bar and isn’t a restaurant neither but they do some decent modern craft style beer and cracking cheap eats. Just look for the bright red, vintage American tractor outside.

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