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Beer and Bodies | by Unhindered by Talent
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Beer and Bodies

Today Tom and I took the "Alternative Berlin" walking tour (also called "Off the beaten path" tour). Our tour guide Nicole was *wonderful* and we both learned a bunch about the culture of the city, and some of the more subtle cultural and socio-economic impacts of its division.

 

As a piece of older history, we also learned that breweries and cemeteries were historical neighbors in Berlin dating back several hundred years. Turns out that Berlin is built on a swamp, with a very high water table. So you want cemeteries on high ground so the coffins don't "float" up out of the ground. You also wanted breweries there Back In The Day because you keep things cool in underground cellars, and it wasn't fun if your cellars filled with water.

 

The national sport of hating on Berlin beer is thus quite old, including stories that the beer used in the breweries had flowed through the cemeteries on its way there.

 

The surviving brewery complexes are big collections of brick building with a very distinctive color and style, illustrated here. They have typically be repurposed; this one is a youth center among other things. It also hosts a fair bit of graffiti, but that's pretty much true of every flat surface in Berlin.

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Taken on July 14, 2017