Berlin Beer Cruise Experience
(by Tamás Szilágyi, brewer, Mad Scientist, Budapest)
The official opening event of Berlin Beer Week was organized on a ship on the Spree equipped with 50 taps featuring breweries like Epic Brewing, Firestone Walker, Brewdog, Mikkeller or Omnipollo. My brewery, Mad Scientist got one invite plus a tap that served Mango Bay – our Mango Milkshake Pale Ale.
It wasn’t the first event, where we teamed up with premier league breweries. Buti it was certainly our first invitation-only tasting event for a trade audience. Whereas at the Vienna Beer Festival we ran a booth – just as anybody who paid the price to exhibit – where we offered a possibility to taste our beers, here we were included in the sortiment, and we could be sure that these guys belonging to the elite of the craft-beer world would definitely taste our beers. These guys would either sneer at our beer before moving on to the next one, or give an appreciative nod and would remember our name. They might even ask their friends if they heard about our brewery before. There is no point in taking part at such an event if we don’t make an impression on tasters.
If the first option happens, my smiling presence is totally in vain around my beer, so I thought why not give it a chance and go around trying some beers in the meantime. I was going to go systematical in the beginning, weighing on style and intensity, but by the time the ship was ready to go at around six pm., I was so much hooked on this strictly professional tasting opportunity, that finally I decided to just go from tap No.1 and go on tasting to the last. Switching from an imperial stout, to alternative fermentation and IPAs were sometimes shaky, but nonetheless really entertaining.
An uncontrollable extasy
Around No.20 I became easygoing enough to search out the creator of some of the beers to congratulate on their brews. Especially among the Americans, there were some guys who stood at the forefront of the revolution, with decades of experience behind their backs. It really was a professional catharsis to shake hands with these guys, and I was very much flattered when they expressed their satisfaction with my beer. And I don’t mean the diplomatic type of appreciation “not bad, congratulations”, but te real version “man, that was fucking awesome, just sent a few friends there to try”
I should have been happy not to lag far behind the general quality of the beers tapped on the boat, but based on overheard comments and face-to-face feedback, it wasn’t the case at al. It seemed that we were held equal to any of the legendary beers and brewers that were enlisted on this boat.
Including the afterparty at the Brewdog Bar, I managed to break a personal record with 51 brews tasted that night, but I have to confess, the last glass (Brewdog – Tokyo) sent a clear sign to stop. That was the maximum my body could take.
I can’t say if this event was the herald of an imminent beautiful new world, or just a 240 minutes long wet dream, but I am certain we do our best to build this brave new world. Where next generations would go home after such an event and summarize the party with saying “breweries like Mad Scientist from Budapest were there as well”