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Stone Brewing in Alt Mariendorf, Berlin

16 posts in this topic

http://www.stonebrewing.eu

 

Finally trekked down there earlier this week with a friend and must admit, I was impressed, not only by the sheer scale and ambition of the place, but around 45 taps and quite decent food. Service was friendly and efficient too, prices are not cheap but given the strength of the beers - many around 8-10% and quite a few over, none as I recall under 5% (nothing like a weaker British "session" ale) - it's basically offering a typical American craft brewery experience rather than competing with the local Eckkneipe Happy Hour. 

 

It's not really so difficult to get to either - end of the U6, then a short bus ride and a ten minute walk - and on a mid-March Friday evening it had filled up pretty well by the time we left around 9pm. The space is really impressive, there's plenty of room, you're not squashed in, would be good for a group visit ...seems to be a really big garden area as well. Live music on offer, not sure if that's every evening.

 

I'm basically very curious whether their big gamble will pay off. For instance it's a shorter trek than heading out to Müggelsee from central Berlin, for instance, so they're gambling on people treating it as an evening or weekend Ausflug, a special event. Will it be a passing novelty or establish itself as a Berlin institution over time? I'll definitely visit again, especially when the weather improves, maybe even 3 or 4 times a year...let's see. I certainly like having the choice. Prost.

 

Anyone else been? Opinions for or against?

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I was there a few months back, shortly after they opened, and wasn't impressed - largely because they were only serving around a third of the food that was on the menu, due to technical problems. That may have changed in the meantime. I'm also worried that they may have misjudged the local market - it really is pricey, especially for Berlin. It made me wonder why they picked Berlin instead of Hamburg or Munich.

 

But yeah, the venue is very impressive, and it's certainly an addition for Berlin. I'm supposed to attend an event there in May and am interested in seeing how it develops. Hope they make it. 

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The food is now up to scratch, I would say - my friend had the "Smoked two way" pork belly and I had the Moroccan beef which were both good (although the portions were middling rather than large). He also bought some fresh bread to take home which we had eaten almost half by the time we had got to Mehringdamm on the way home.

 

Know what you mean about Berlin vis-a-vis other locations, but I am also glad it's here...good luck to them. 

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5 hours ago, john_b said:

t's not really so difficult to get to either - end of the U6, then a short bus ride and a ten minute walk

hmmm, what exactly qualifies as "difficult to get to" in your book?

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2 hours ago, naberlin said:

hmmm, what exactly qualifies as "difficult to get to" in your book?

 

Ha ha, Zeuthen? Few destinations are "difficult" to get to in Berlin, the point I'm making is how far potential customers subjectively perceive the location to be and whether they think it's worth the trek, as for sure Stone Brewing is not relying on local footfall in Alt-Mariendorf. So it took me around 45-50 minutes to get there from where I live in Neukölln, significantly less than it would take me to get to, say, weekend destinations like Wannsee or Müggelsee, but then again the latter destinations offer woods and a nice lake to walk along. Since originally moving to Berlin in 1992 I don't recall many times I visited Alt-Mariendorf.

 

So, have you been or plan to go?

 

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We did there a small company dinner (around 10 people) and the place and atmosphere was impressive. The food is decent but they are not 36 EUR steaks. The beer is good and while a bit expensive I think it is worth. I think the small issues could be forgiven if you had good customer service but it was not our case. From previous visits we knew they offer a "beer trial" for free, which is basically getting to try 3 beers per person, just a tiny bit of each beer. That was the main reason we went there because we had some foreign visitors in our group. Unfortunately the waiter decided they could not give us the beer tasting thing because we were a big group. I am not sure which kind of logic is that, we complained and they said they could make an exception and give us the tasting to 3 people or something like that, we refused because it didn't make sense and continue with the night. But make it worse, 2 guys sat in a table beside us, they received the beer trial and then they ordered one beer each and left. So people ordering 6 EUR per person have more relevance than people ordering 80 EUR per person.

I have no problem with the location. Maybe people find it "difficult" just because it is not Kreuzkoelln.

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48 minutes ago, Krieg said:

We did there a small company dinner (around 10 people) and the place and atmosphere was impressive. The food is decent but they are not 36 EUR steaks. The beer is good and while a bit expensive I think it is worth. I think the small issues could be forgiven if you had good customer service but it was not our case. From previous visits we knew they offer a "beer trial" for free, which is basically getting to try 3 beers per person, just a tiny bit of each beer. That was the main reason we went there because we had some foreign visitors in our group. Unfortunately the waiter decided they could not give us the beer tasting thing because we were a big group. I am not sure which kind of logic is that, we complained and they said they could make an exception and give us the tasting to 3 people or something like that, we refused because it didn't make sense and continue with the night. But make it worse, 2 guys sat in a table beside us, they received the beer trial and then they ordered one beer each and left. So people ordering 6 EUR per person have more relevance than people ordering 80 EUR per person.

I have no problem with the location. Maybe people find it "difficult" just because it is not Kreuzkoelln.

That's hilarious. Combining American craft beer with German customer service = FAIL

 

Yeah, I didn't even mention the chore of getting out there, which is okay on the way there, when the buses run at 10-minute intervals. But it's 20-minute intervals after 10 p.m. and the last one departs at 11:40. It took me 45 minutes to get out there on public transport from Charlottenburg, then another 10 minute-walk. I shared a cab home with my party, so it didn't bother me much, but taking one home by myself would make it a very pricey evening indeed.

 

Closing at midnight seems very suburban American, too, and not at all Berlin-like. I guess we'll see how it develops.

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2 hours ago, john_b said:

So, have you been or plan to go?

Not been yet; it's on my list, but frankly a bit hard to get to for me...I can deal with the end-of-the-ubahn line and the ten minute walk, but when you throw in the bus leg it falls into the "can't be bothered" category.  

 

When/If I go, it will probably be during the summer when I can ride my bike out there (I guess I can, maybe too far, haven't looked at the map).

 

 

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From the Ubahn Alt Mariendorf is 1.5 km. 20 minutes walk according to Gmaps.

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21 minutes ago, Krieg said:

From the Ubahn Alt Mariendorf is 1.5 km. 20 minutes walk according to Gmaps.

That I can do without a bus, so it is inching up on my list, although from what I'm reading here it still seems like quite a trek for nothing special.

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On the contrary, the architecture/location alone is worth a visit and the beer selection really something. Whether you'd feel like making many return visits is another matter altogether. 

 

Here's the PR video of the opening last Autumn that gives a sense of the space.

 

 

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Yes, that I totally agree. The place itself and the atmosphere is pretty good. They had that day 2 girls playing some irish/folk music on guitar + violin that were quite good, nice music but not too loud to stop you from having a conversation.

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Fair enough, atlhough that place looks huge (sorry, huuuge), much bigger than I expected.  As you say, probably worth checking out, but unless it is really something special I doubt I'd go back.

 

Although kind of odd that craft beer places (on a smaller scale) are not much more common in Berlin.  

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There are more around these days, albeit much less grand than Stone. A few newish places I have checked out recently:

 

The Muted Horn, Flughafenstrasse 49, 12053 (Neukölln) @themutedhorn - 22 taps, no food as I recall. Quite small, next two a Pennymarkt and a mosque, very neu-NK hipster style. Evenings only.

 

Doldenmädel, Mehringdamm 80, 10965 Berlin (Kreuzberg) http://www.doldenmaedel-berlin.de  Quite big on the food, easy location, open lunchtimes as well. A bit too much of a corporate atmosphere for my liking, but good quality.

 

Hopfenreich, Sorauer Str. 3110997 Berlin (Kreuzberg) small and cosy, over 20 taps. http://hopfenreich.de

 

Tried a couple of times to get a seat in Hops & Barley in Friedrichshain but they always seem packed out. I'm not so much up to speed about Prenzlauer Berg these days, but I'm sure there are several there. Also there's a brewery in Wedding I want to check out some time, Vagabund.

 

Overall I'm glad this change has come about, the Berlin beer landscape is much richer now than, say, the early 90s. This map gives a useful overview

 

http://www.berlincraftbeer.com/berlin-craft-beer-map/

 

[looks like I enjoy my beer!]

 

 

 

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I finally got to visit Stone, and thought I'd add some comments to the thread. I had read several negative comments on various ratings sites, so it seems like Stone maybe just got off to a difficult start. I think they've sorted out most of their issues now. We went last night and we had a very good experience. Just to echo what other posters have written here, the beer was great, the servers were great (they were very knowledgeable about the beer and food, and made very good pairing suggestions). They were also able to perfectly accommodate the non-German speakers in our group. I got to try several dishes since we were a large party, and I found all of them delicious and unique. About half of the beers on the menu are brewed in house.

 
The space itself is also very unique, it is a renovated industrial building and former gasworks. You can see the brewing tanks and there is also a shop selling beer and Stone schwag at the front. It is also massive, with an impressive industrial / tastefully decorated interior, and it also has a huge beautiful outdoor seating area. We went on a Tuesday and although there were quite a few people there, it wasn't packed. I can picture it getting chaotic on the weekends when it is packed.
 
The only gripes are 1) They don't take credit cards, you can only pay with cash or an EC-card issued by a German bank. I found this a bit strange, since there seemed to be some foreign tourists there who might not have wanted to walk through the desolate area from the metro station with a lot of cash on them. I mentioned this and they said that they do take cards 'in case of emergencies', hm, whatever. 2) It is a bit pricey by Berlin standards, especially for the location well outside of the city center. 3) The location, although beautiful, it is a bit difficult to reach with public transport, especially if you're not a local.
 
That said, I found the beer and food quality, as well as the pleasure of being in such a beautiful place and to be served by such a wonderful staff, to be worth the premium and I would gladly go back there and spend my money.
 
Very highly recommended.
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Stone Berlin is a welcome development, a few years ago it was almost impossible to get any non German beer (apart from Guinness or a few other global brands) in Germany.

 

Now it seems there is too much choice on the shelves, you see more than 10 different IPAs on the shelf of a normal beer store. The problem is the short shelf life of hoppy beers, I think people could be put off by drinking an IPA that is past it's best. This might change as "craft beer" gains more of a following, but the bubble could burst completely.

 

Going back to the subject of Stone, I'm pleased to see them doing well, but I don't think they quite understood the German beer scene when they first opened up. Smashing a load of mainstream German beers with a big boulder was a publicity stunt that was slightly disrespectful to some decent drinkable beers.

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