We may be more partial to Berlin’s growing microbrewery scene, but there’s something cool about the fact that you can also find breweries here that are nearly 200yrs old. Berliner Kindl is one of those breweries, and w/ its super-strange baby-in-a-jug logo, classic sour malty Berliner Weisse & popularity w/ the older folk, it’s sort of like the PBR of Berlin... but there's more to it than mere hipster love. Here are 10 awesome things you didn't know:
1. It all started as a club... slowly In February 1872 a group of 8 Germans got together in Rixdorf (which is present day Neukölln), to create a brewery club. It was a mere 37 years before they were brewing their first beer; a bottom-fermented Pilsner.
2.They were ahead of their time At the turn of the century, Berlin was not the big connected city it is today, but more like a bunch of connected villages, whose bars & shops all had different closing times and processes. In order to hype their beer, these entrepreneurial brewers started an actual marketing campaign in 1900, stocking 102 advertising-decked trucks w/ crates of the good stuff, and driving them around in order to try & score as many sales as possible.
3.The weird baby wasn't their idea Gaining popularity, the brewery held a competition in 1907 to create a trademark symbol. Local illustrator Georg Räder won with his “Golden Boy in Jug”, presumably because they like a beer with lots of head.
4.They pretty much own a particular, delicious variety of beer They're most well known for their Berliner Weisse; a yeasty, cloudy wheat beer. During the 1800s, it was literally the most popular alcoholic drink in the city, and over 700 breweries were making the stuff. Today, Berliner Kindl is one of the only ones still putting it out, and they have nearly 100% market share of the beer.
5.Napoleon loved it It’s said that Napoleon’s soldiers drank Berliner Weisse while storming the city in 1809, and they dubbed it the "Champagne of the North"... and they were French. That name's kinda' stuck.
6.It comes in... Piña Colada flavor?! Most locals soften the sour taste of Berliner Weisse by mixing the beer w/ a sweet syrup; the neon green woodruff & raspberry are the traditional flavors. BK upped the flavor game when they launched their shots concept MIXcup, in crazy flavors like Piña Colada and pomegranate. Oh... kay.
7.They literally sponsor the city Berliner Kindl is the official beer sponsor of the city, which means you can find their suds at pretty much all big-time events, incl. the Festival of Lights & Potsdam’s Castle Night. For the city’s 750th anniversary in 1987, BK released its Jubiläums Pilsener, which is now served every year on the Day of Unity at Brandenburg Gate.
8.That ancient beer coaster is actually worth something BK fans are super into selling old merchandise on Ebay. You’ll find everything from beer mugs and brewery signs to vintage coasters, which can demand something like 20 bucks!
9.They also make soda, but it's still awesome In January 2006, Berliner Kindl merged w/ another big Berlin hop-shop named Schultheiss, creating one of the largest breweries in Germany. Along with the main Kindl & Schultheiss brews, they also produce... gah! A non-alcoholic soda! Luckily, it's Rixdorfer Fassbrause, which is made with malt extract, and's aged in a keg. In fact, when sold in the States, it's called "apple beer".
10.There's a brewery... within their brewery Berliner Kindl’s original Neukölln brewery was heavily damaged during WWII and dismantled by Soviet troops after the war -- but you can still tour the abandoned 19th century brewery, which looms eerily in a tucked-away corner of Neukölln w/ pitch-black corners and cobweb-covered brewing equipment, then grab a drink at the on-site modern day microbrewery Rollberg.