On the way to Bernau we passed through the district of Börnicke. Here, right next to the Börnicke Castle manor house, is the brewery of the Bernauer Brauereigenossenschaft, which brews the excellent Bernauer beer.
A spacious palace complex was built in the tranquil town of Börnicke between 1909 and 1911. The banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy lived in the neoclassical building. It stands in a park with a lake and a small island. After his death, members of the Swiss embassy from Berlin moved to Börnicke in 1945.
They were not able to live on the estate for long; as early as April 1945, the Red Army set up a military hospital in the castle.
After the Second World War, the castle and the adjacent estate became the property of the KPD. Initially, party members spent their free time there. Wilhelm Pieck is also said to have spent his holidays there. Later, the castle was converted into a holiday home and then into a home for handicapped children.
Since 2003, the castle has been owned by Börnicke gGmbH and is to be gradually rebuilt.
There is a landscaped park around the castle, which was very natural when we visited. Unfortunately, we could only see the small pond with the bridge through a fence. Other buildings belong to the estate, such as the former stables, the manor house and the old distillery.
The First Bernau Brewery Cooperative
In the building of the old schnapps distillery of the estate in Börnicke there is now a brewery. This was the actual destination of our stop in Börnicke.
In Bernau there were already about 140 breweries in the Middle Ages. With about 300 houses in the town, brewing was done in every second house at that time. Over time, home-brewed beer disappeared from the town. Only a beer called “Bernauer Torwächter”, which was not brewed in the town itself, was still available for purchase.
A group of beer and brewing enthusiasts took on this “problem” and decided that Bernau needed to brew its own beer again. In 2016, an association was founded with the aim of bringing Bernau beer to the market.
First, a suitable location was needed, which was fortunately found in the old distillery in the Börnicke district. The building had to be renovated in accordance with the preservation order before it could be converted into a brewery.
Since 2020, Bernau beer has been brewed and, of course, sold in Börnicke. There are three different beers to choose from, which can be bought on tap or in bottles.
When we visited, we first sat in the beer garden and enjoyed a Bernau beer on tap. We had sausages from the grill to go with it. Simple, but very good. In addition, we took home a crate of beer with all three varieties of Bernau beer and tested it later. We couldn’t pass by a Treberbrot, freshly baked and just plain good, and took it home as well.
The brewery tap is run by members of the cooperative. Everyone knew everyone here and so we were able to sit down for a cosy chat with the brewmaster and learn about his work.
The light full beer is sold in a 0.5 l bottle. (Alternatively, you can also buy 20 l, 30 l or 50 l barrels). The beer har a fruity yeast and malt note and tastes pleasantly mild and spicy. It is an unfiltered straw-yellow beer with a strong, fine-pored foam. A Bernauer is a typical Pilsner-style lager with an alcohol content of 4.8%.
Kantor is a dark lager with an alcohol content of 5.3%. The brewer uses barley malt and hops from controlled organic cultivation for his beer. The special feature of the beer is the mixture of 4 malts (Pilsner malt, Munich malt, aroma malt and melanoid malt). This gives the beer a strong malty note, yet it tastes quite mild and sweet.
The beer is sold in kegs and in 0.5 l bottles.
The brewery cooperative’s Pale Ale is called Rathaus. The pale beer has an alcohol content of 5.6%. I find that it tastes quite strong and intense with a slight hop flavour. The beer smells fruity.
You can also buy this beer in 0.5 l bottles or in kegs.
Brauereiausschank “Zum Braugenossen”
16321 Bernau bei Berlin
Friday: 17- 21h
Saturday: 12 – 21h