Craft Beer Store Hamburg, Germany

I was pretty excited when Craft Beer Store announced it would be opening up in Sternschanze. I often go out to that neighborhood for food and entertainment, so having a convenient stop for a few bottles of beer in a country where public drinking is normal and accepted was great. I was disappointed however, when I later found out that Craft Beer Store is just part of the large company Nordmann and their brewer Ratsherrn who don't seem to really get craft beer. Despite my desire to support small local businesses instead of large corporate players, I have still visited Craft Beer Store several times.

As far as bottle shops go the interior is quite modern and trendy. The sliding doors open to reveal a few shelves of beer on the right and a longer row of beer on the left together claiming over 300 different beers. Most of right side of the store is unused and is set up as more of a display for Ratsherrn merchandise. The initial beers encountered on the right are mainly new arrivals that the store wishes to highlight. The wall on the left is divided by by style consisting of sections like lager, Belgian/trappist, IPA/pale ale, and stout/dark beers. The selection is heavily slanted towards German micro and traditional beers as well as several Belgian offerings. There are also some more beers from the UK, Scandinavia, and the US with the occasional addition of other European craft beers. Some of the beers can be found cold in various coolers through out the store including the large one in the back.

Prices of the German beers tend to be reasonable and as cheap as they can be found in other bottle shops or online throughout Germany. The Belgian selections are also reasonably priced although still much more expensive then they can be found for in Belgium. Unfortunately craft beers from other countries tend to be quite expensive. The other day I stopped in when they announced they had beers from Thornbridge and Alechemy. Beers from the UK tend to be expensive, but the price point on many of these was more than I'm generally willing to pay for a single bottle with some coming in at €7 for a 33cl bottle. High prices are common on most of the imported craft beer.

A combination of high prices and general lack of interest in craft beer in Germany can cause beers to sit on the shelf for an extended period of time. I've found several beers coming close to their expiration dates, so it is important to check while shopping here. Light often shines through windows in the front and back of the store and lands directly on the bottles along the wall. This is definitely a drawback and makes me doubt how well the store is managed. The wall along the right would not be subject to direct light, but it sits mainly unused. This is a large oversight. During my visits the staff has been pleasant but not engaging. While this is fine I think they should probably make more effort to engage customers considering the general lack of interest and knowledge about craft beer most residents of Hamburg have.

A strong social media presence is maintained by the store through facebook. New arrivals are updated and promoted which is helps to know what is available. Unfortunately prices are not posted and questions regarding this are ignored. They have weekly tastings on Fridays at 6PM where a few different bottles will be sampled. I haven't been to one before but they are posted every week and seem to generate a fair amount of interest. They also sell some of their beers through their online shop, but as I live close by, I have no need to use it.

Craft Beer Store is a good place to look for German craft and some traditional German/Belgian beers. The selection of other brews and the prices are often steep which is a hinderance. If you are looking for imported craft beer this isn't the best place to look. If you happen to be in the area of Sternschanze or Planten un Blumen on a nice day in Hamburg stopping by and grabbing a beer from the cooler and enjoying the weather is a great idea. Otherwise I'm not sure if a non resident of Hamburg would need to visit this bottle shop.

Overall: 7/10

Share on Google Plus

About Unknown

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.


Post a Comment