An elderly man and a slightly aggressive looking younger man are sitting outside the shop on empty beer crates, blocking the entrance to the Bier-Spezialitäten-Laden, but when I get in, there is a warm welcome.
Sind sie eine Etikettensammler or ein Biergenisser, asks the man behind the counter. Are you a label collector or do you enjoy a good beer? Ein Biergenisser, I reply. When I start picking a few bottles, the other customers enthusiastically suggest others, and there is a brief discussion on whether a certain porter is sweet or not.
Half of the small store, crammed full of an amazing range of beer, is dedicated to imports, the other half has German beers. When I briefly consider picking a few lagers from, say, Ethiopia, I decide to go for more obscure German beers instead. A dozen bottles are soon distributed between my backpack and a carrier bag.
Conveniently this shop is located right by the entrance of an U-Bahn station, Strausberger Platz, just a few stops East of central Berlin – great when I, as usual, buy a few more beers than I had planned in advance. The prices are cheap compared to just about anywhere, too.
Don’t go looking for their web site – this is not the place to have any!