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10 Things Not to Do in Berlin

by Ralph Martin

Don't…
Drink the beer

In the not-so-distant past, German beer was world-renowned, the liquid counterpart of Mercedes-Benz and BMW cars. Limited by a 16th-century law to three ingredients (water, barley, and hops), it had no competition from weak American beer and tepid English ale. Then the USA discovered microbrewing, at the same time big German manufacturers let quality slip. Most German beer—bottled or on tap—is dull and dreary stuff without spice or sweetness. You can drink it pretty much anywhere, thanks to Berlin's liberal open-container laws, but putting a bottle away feels strangely like work.

Instead…
Sup Germany's fine wines

Drink German wine, which is every bit as great as the beer of yore, but priced so reasonably you may do a double take when looking at your menu (a glass is often €2, the equivalent of just under $3, at midrange restaurants). The Germans have been making wine in the Rhine Valley since ancient Roman times, with white wines, especially Riesling, dominating. Reliably delicious wines from major estates like Dr. Bürklin-Wolff and Dönnhoff (around $14) are widely available, while bottles of sparkling Schloss Vaux and Weingut Kirsten (around $18), compete with Champagne for quality. Don't be afraid to ask your server what the grape varietals are: Grauer Burgunder is pinot grigio by any other name, and Weissburgunder just means pinot blanc.

Next: Don't get walled in >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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