Exhibition: “Kein Bier ohne Alster” – No beer without “Alster”
:bsz-international: “From bad beer you get cold piss”
Bild: fry
Advertising beer from Hamburg: Hummel Pils. Bild: fry
Advertising beer from Hamburg: Hummel Pils.

You want to explore German (drinking) culture during your Christmas holidays? Why not travel to Hamburg and visit the exhibition “Kein Bier ohne Alster” in the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte. It combines education and fun – and quenches your thirst.

Beer and its consumption are a central element of German culture. Thus, a brewing cauldron occupies a central place within the exhibition. It’s made of copper and impressively bulky. But this exhibition not only shows the technical aspects of the brewing process and the ingredients used in it but it considers beer from a number of angles such as the cultural function of beer and the socio-economic aspects of the alcoholic beverage.

The exhibition is dimly lit and immediately creates a feeling of cosiness and intimacy. However, the dimmed light sometimes makes it difficult to read the highly entertaining quotes which cover the walls of the exhibition, like: “From bad beer you get cold piss, kidney stones, cramps and many ailments more.” Although the exhibition follows the development of breweries and brewing in Hamburg chronologically, the different aspects covered in the exhibition can be explored after one’s fancy.

Brewery cars and beer cosies 

The different topics such as beer halls are explained and displayed in cubicle-like areas with an explanatory text on one wall and an exhibit on the other. Two exhibits I found particularly striking were an old beer lorry and a display with different beer cosies. The lorry had two back wheels but only one front wheel and was used to ferry beer from the breweries to the beer halls and shops. The thing about this vehicle was that it required no driving license to use due to its built. The display of beer cosies showed the many different beers that were and in fact still are brewed in Hamburg and it also highlighted the creative effort put into creating a label for a beer.

• Location: Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, Holstenwall 24, 20355 Hamburg.

• Admission: 5.50 Euro for students

Guest author :Jan Freytag 

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