My first visit to Berlin lasted all of 15 hours. Looking for flights from Bangkok to New York a few weeks earlier, I had found a decent fare on airberlin that involved a layover at Tegel Airport (TXL). Initially I was reluctant to purchase the one-way ticket, thinking a mere overnight stay in the German capital wouldn't necessarily be the best introduction to a city I hadn't been to before. But then an Internet search led me to Brauhaus in Spandau, a hotel and brewpub roughly 20 minutes from the airport by taxi.
And so, shortly before Memorial Day, I found myself climbing the stairs to a clean, comfortable room overlooking the brewery's shady beer garden. I could hardly have wished for nicer accommodations. Including a generous breakfast the next morning, my bill came to 73 Euros (roughly $104), a price I would happily pay again to avoid spending the night in a dreary airport hotel. The beer voucher and complimentary package of Gold-Bears on my nightstand were nice touches, too.
For dinner I ordered currywurst (as if skipping Berlin's culinary emblem was ever an option) and a Havelbräu, named for the river that flows nearby. Dirty blond with a bready aroma and a creamy mouthfeel, this kellerbier or unfiltered lager is relatively strong (5.2% ABV) but low in bitterness with a somewhat sweet finish. It went well with the platter of fries that accompanied my sausage and made for a refreshing drink on an early spring evening. Available year round, Havelbräu might not be reason enough to plan a Tegel layover before Berlin's new Brandenburg Airport opens next year, but it isn't a bad way to break up a long trip either.