The Berlin Baptism: Beer and Bratwurst

After spending an evening cautiously dodging broken glass and confused revelers in one of the local street festivals in Berlin, I didn’t have any trouble believing that the Germans need no reason to justify their inebriation. You would normally see them drinking in pubs, on the streets (it’s legal), at breakfast (is OJ overrated?), and even during sleep, I’d assume.

With an annual beer consumption of 106.1 liters per capita (i.e. per person) in 2012 and a legal beer drinking age of 16, it comes as no surprise that they rank 3rd worldwide in the battle for alcohol supremacy. And with that amount of booze, I’m pretty sure they, too, would be a worthy contender in the search for the nation with the most overworked liver… and bladder. 🙂 That consumption level would also produce pee volume enough to generate hydroelectricity to provide power supply to an entire city like Manila as per the Pilsner hypothesis. But don’t quote me on that.

In case you’re curious, the Czechs take the top spot with a consumption of 148.6 liters per person annually followed by the Austrians at 107.8 liters.  Can you just imagine the scenario if the top 3 beer-consuming nations decided to collectively barf?  The world would probably drown… drunk! Beerception!

Local Blend
The perceptible noise from two blocks away served as the invitation and the half-drunk faces, the celebratory greeting. Truth is, it wasn’t part of my plan to go to the festival. I didn’t even have the slightest idea what they were celebrating that day! Still, I was just as grateful and thrilled to have passed by this fascinating display of revelry during one of my night strolls in Europe. Perhaps that is what makes this city appealing – you go out for a kebab but you end up in a street pub!

International travelers relish at the seemingly novel idea of drinking on the streets without fear of being sideswiped or apprehended. For the locals, however, it’s just like any ordinary day. The once deserted streets in a quiet neighborhood were lined side by side with food trucks selling all sorts of Berliners’ beer match favorites: pretzels, doner kebabs, pomme frites, and wieners. At the center of it all was a massive grill spewing batch after batch of all sausages (–wursts) you can possibly imagine giving that chilly spring evening the much needed warmth it rightfully deserved.

And if all the smoke from all sorts of sources doesn’t keep you warm enough, a dose of alcohol with varying degrees of potency, can be bought from the makeshift bars scattered throughout. There were ale, pilsner, lager, malt, and different kinds of spirits! The dizzying choices alone are enough to give you an early kick, I’d say. Trudge with caution, though. These streets, however appealing alcohol-wise, are also unconsciously booby-trapped with broken glass and occasional half-digested pretzels, sausages, and who knows what else. Not a pretty sight but hey, at least there weren’t any dog sh*t! Or was it the sausage?!

Berlin, with its concrete structures highlighted with colorful graffiti – whether as an avenue for modern art or as an expression of political statement, train stations littered with empty (or broken) beer bottles, and a warm crowd, is a complete utter madness! But all in a good, wicked kind of way. It’s messy. Even violent on some occasions. And if Berliners hadn’t made its urban vibe unbelievably entertaining, the whole experience wouldn’t be as exciting.

P.S. Forgive the blurry photos. My phone’s camera was a little woozy, too.

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