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Pub Visit - Germany

Lembe am Alex 1Sunday 5th March 2017

Bob Thompson

The story of Lemke goes back to 1999 when on the 21st November Oli Lemke opened the Brauhaus Lemke near Hackescher Markt station in a disused arch under the Stadtbahn, the railway line the runs west to east across the centre of the city. It is still a great pub, very comfortable with the reassuring rumble of S-Bahn trains overhead. Mr Lemke had given up on a Business Administration course and left university with degree in brewing.

Lemke am Alex 2Another pub in an arch under the Stadtbahn was the Tiergartenquelle near the S-Bahn station of Tiergarten. This pub had been trading for over 80 years and was well used by students. It closed abruptly in 2003. Lemke stepped in and bought the lease and reopened it to sell their beers. This acquisition stretched the resources of the original Hackescher Markt brewery. However, the situation was alleviated when in 2004 Lemke acquired a very large brew-pub at Alexanderplatz, once the centre of the DDR’s capital, with its flagship Fernsehturn (Telecom tower).

This pub was known as Leopold’s Brauhaus and Lemke renamed it Brauhaus Mitte. It is very close to the original pub and I am pleased to say I visited it through all three incarnations. It is now Lemke am Alex and is the subject of this piece. Look under Brauhaus Mitte in BeerVisits.eu for a previous article on it.

Lemke am Alex 3Going back to the history of Lemke’s brew-pubs, 2007 was a pivotal year as they acquired the former Louisenbräu operation in Charlottenburg. This was renamed Lemke am Schloss as it is situated opposite one of the entrances to the Charlottenburg Palace.

This was the first micro brewery-pub in Berlin. Obtaining this pub was particularly poignant as Oli Lemke had done his intern-ship here in the 1990s.

Also in 2007 they got hold of the adjacent arch to the first pub and doubled the size of Lemke am Hackescher Markt. 2016 was another important year as Lemke am Alex opened after a two year reconstruction of the former Brauhaus Mitte. In the same year, they completely re-branded the pubs with a new logo and an expanded beer range including a number of ales. Also, bottled beers are now offered.

Lemke am Alex 4The beers along with the pub’s descriptions, were: Bohemia Pilsner (5.0%); 030 Pale Ale (American Pale Ale) (5.0%); Dunkles Hefeweizen (Dark Wheat Beer) (5.5%); Original (Vienna Lager) (5.4%); India Pale Ale (6.5%); Hopfen Weisse (Wheat Bock-IPA??) (7.0%); Märzen (Light Märzen) (5.4%); Black Rye IPA (7.2%); Imperial Stout (11.0%!!) and Spree-Coast IPA (America-India Pale Ale??) (6.9%).

The only recognisable brews from the past era of Lemke are Pilsner, Original and Märzen. I’m not sure how many of these beers are specials, possibly only Spree-Coast IPA, simply because it wasn’t available in the Lemke am Hackescher Markt, which I visited before here.

Lemke am Alex 5Between the two pubs I had 030 Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Black Rye IPA and Spree-Coast IPA. I liked them all with India Pale Ale being the favourite.

The old Brauhaus Mitte was entirely on the first floor of the building being accessed by the external steps or from the shopping centre behind. It is now on the ground floor as well. In fact that was all that was open when I visited and other visitors have reported the same. I would guess that the whole pub is open in the summer months. It can now accommodate 600 customers.

It has just gone dark when I arrived outside the brew-pub. The illuminated Brauhaus Mitte is still in situ and makes it almost impossible to miss the pub even from a distance. Once through the central door I firstly noticed the brick-built serving counter with a large blackboard behind displaying the beers offered. I took a high table to the right. On the left side of the large room there were many long normal height tables. To the right of where I seated there was a smaller room behind a double row of decorative wooden barrels.

Important Information:

Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, Karl-Liebkneckt-Strasse 13, 10178 Berlin-Mitte. Tel: 03030 3087 8989

Hours: Monday-Sunday: 12.00-24.00

Alexanderplatz station is well served by main line and regional trains, S-Bahn, U-Bahn, trams and buses. Leave the station on the Alexanderplatz side with the prominent Fernsehturn (Telecom tower) in sight.
Turn right being careful of the tramway. Continue with the elevated railway on your right. Cross the road. By now you should see the Brauhaus Lemke am Alex on the left. It should take no more than five minutes.