What a jam packed week it has been. We hope you’ve all made it back to your respective homes with only the warmest memories of Bar Convent Berlin 2015. Hopefully, you gut back home with not too much of a lingering hangover. As has been the tradition in years past, below you’ll find a roundup of our personal BCB highlights.
Seeing as one stumbled right into Beer Alley (the name is very Harry Potter-esque, no?) after entering the Station, we thought it would also serve as a good beginning for our BCB highlights, since the number of brewers exhibiting doubled from 2014’s BCB to this year. Not only were we very happy to welcome Germany’s reigning craft beer champion Alexander Himburg with his BrauKunstKeller (those boys certainly know how to close down the night) but we were particularly excited to taste beers by the three Danish brewers Skovlyst, Hornbeer, and Indslev Bryggeri who graced the alley with their presence. Danish craft beer has been going strong for a while now, Skovlyst has been brewing its beers just north of Copenhagen for over 10 years and brewer Casper Møller brought some superb beers to try. One can’t forget the panel discussions, covering everything from the future of German craft beer to how to handle beer in the bar. Fantastic stuff, and we look forward to watching Beer Alley continue to grow over the coming years.
From Cachaça to Champagne
All the panel discussions and tastings. Man oh man. From Morgenthaler to Meyer, from Cachaça to Champagne — we certainly had our fill of fantastic information literally being hand delivered to our mouths and brains. Meyer served up a Celery Smash at his filled-to-the-brim talk on the Mixology Stage, whereas Morgenthaler entertained the crowd with Yelp reviews of the first bar he ever worked in. At his talk on “The Queen of the Bar” Andreas Till enticed his guests with two different, yet equally delicious, Champagne variations.
The Made in GSA area was a personal highlight for us. All three winners of the Made in GSA competition were seen shakin’ their (groove thing) concoctions while bottles of GSA products lined the beautiful wooden table and invited customers to try various gins, mixers, and liquors from the German-speaking areas.
Guest Country Brazil
This year’s guest country Brazil was not be missed, and we enjoyed many a drink from any of their numerous bars. Some of the bartenders predicted that Cachaça will go the way of Tequila. Not too long ago, Tequila was associated with the ubiquitous, red plastic hat and an unfortunate night spent praying to the porcelain god. In the past few years, Tequila has become more and more known for the craft and dedication behind it and we hope to see this happen to Cachaça as well. We believe the countless Cachaça sours that were consumed during the BCB will certainly help do their part in the movement.
The Art of Pairing
We hope that many of you had the chance to swing by the Foodpairing booth. They hosted a truly exceptional series of sessions that showcased their concept beautifully. With a computer at hand to guide newbies into the world of the website, bartender Gegam Kazarian played with an array of exciting aromas and tastes. We were able to sample the Copperhead gin cocktail that was made with plum and served with a raw piece of fresh salmon. The sweet and sour aromas of the plum played beautifully against the fattiness of the salmon and the gin’s citrus and juniper notes brought out a lovely nuance in the fish. Foodpairing is doing some wonderful things and is set to continue its growth within Germany.
For the first time ever, coffee became a topic at the Bar Convent Berlin. Complete with draught coffee, cold brew, and panel discussions, the Coffee Stage was a lively area where you’d run into most everyone jonesing for a caffeine fix. We particularly enjoyed the discussion on how to overcome the curse of bad coffee in great bars with Billy Wagner, Ramses Manneck, and Craig Dortkamp. Cory Andreen’s draught coffee bar was hugely successful, one could usually find at least one member of the Mixology team picking up another cup of the wonderfully creamy, freshly tapped brew. Really, the only thing that was able to pry open our tired eyes on the morning of the second day, was a cup of the delicious Guatemalan brew with a splash of milk. The Coffee Stage at this year’s Bar Convent told us: state-of-the-art-coffee has finally entered the world of high class bars.
Onwards and Upwards
The numbers of both visitors and exhibitors continue to grow, and it fills our gin-soaked hearts with great pride see that this year Bar Convent saw some 11.280 attendees (compared to 9.400 in 2014) while 268 exhibitors showed off their superb products (which means an increase of approx. 30%). Still about 50% of BCB’s visitors are coming from abroad, even 5% from the oversea regions such as America, south eastern Asia and Australia. Ever since it’s 2015 edition, the Bar Convent Berlin has evolved to be Europe’s leading bar and beverage trade show – with MIXOLOGY MAGAZINE as its media partner from day one. Save the date for next year’s 10th anniversary (11th &12th October 2016), we certainly can’t wait!
Bildquelle: Pictures © by G. Shani & S. Cakal