Breweries tell stories and the abandoned Bärenqull Brewey in the former East Berlin is no exception.
There aren’t many things as good as a cold beer; the condensation on the glass as the label wrinkles, the unmistakable and satisfying sound of the top as it pops off of the bottle only ever wanting to be free.
We don’t often think about where these glass bottles of heavenly liquid are made or the long process behind how beer is pefected.
The Bärenquell brewery was created in 1888 and was situated in East Berlin during the time of the Cold War. After the fall of the Berlin Wall many East Berliners decided that they preferred the refreshing taste of a new capitalist country with beer brands which matched those ideologies.
Abandoned in 1994 the brewery fell into disrepair and now the red brick walls have become a blank canvas. A canvas not only for graffiti artists but for anyone who knows how to handle a spray paint can or is seeking a little adventure in the city of Berlin.
The complex is huge and could take a good few hours to explore. We wandered through the different sections of the old brewery and tried to piece together the functions of each building.
The tall mill and brewery tower still stand. While barley and hops don’t pass through the large drums the only life are trees that have somehow managed to creep up the outside walls and grow through any crack creating a stark contrast of green splashed on the red brick.
More colour has been splashed across the building and the artworks bring more character to this brewery with so many stories. From small pieces to wall murals these pieces of art captivate any visitor.
Broken glass scatters the floor and some had been strangely arranged in piles as though someone had been looking to clean up the place but had given up.
Old burnt out cars sit in the manufacturing hall and bottling plant. If you look closely enough you can find the old neglected beer labels and coasters covered in 20 years worth of dirt and grime.
The old office provides any intruder with an insider’s point of view. Old files lay on the floor opened with crumbled and curled edge papers scattered around only longing to be straight, uniform and systematically ordered once more.
This huge complex is crying out for visitors or for someone to give it a purpose. On my visit I didn’t see anyone else and I wondered how much longer this brewery would stay so isolated after its near hundred year existence. Or if it would ever relive it’s glory days where a unique East Berlin beer quenched the thirst of the population.
It now seems that the only thirst quenching qualities this huge complex provides is for that of street artists or for adventurers looking to do something unique and off the beaten track in the fascinating city of Berlin.