Beer Journal With Hana And Hugh Eckermann

Apr 14, 2017

Hugh Eckermann: Berlin-Mitte is celebrating another gem on its craft beer highway – The Mikkeller Bar. Not only another craft beer hot spot, but also the new clubhouse for the Mikkeller Running Club Berlin.

Hana Eckermann: We asked Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, a world celebrated brewer and creative engine of all Mikkeller projects, "What is the story behind the Running Club?"

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø at Mikkeller Bar Berlin after a 7K run.
Credit Hana Eckermann for NPR Berlin

Mikkel: I ran on the Danish national team, and then I stopped running about 20 years ago and started brewing beer and got a little bit too fat. We did not want to stop drinking beer; we decided we have to run as well. So we thought maybe some people would join us, because they feel the same.

Hugh: Is it the right marriage - beer and running?

Mikkel: Drinking beer is a very social thing you do with friends, and running is the same. So yeah, I think it fits perfectly together.

Hana: In 1938, expats in Malaysia founded a Hash House Harriers club, which they described as "a drinking club with a running problem."

Hugh: Are you a brewer first or an athlete first?

Mikkel: That's a good question. I am both. I am a "running brewer."

Hugh: What do you like to drink after you run?

Mikkel: I actually made a Running Club Beer. I wanted it low on alcohol - about 4% - really dry and refreshing.

Hana: We asked Daninel Köning, who is the Captain of the Chapter of the Berlin Mikkeller Running Club, "Are you familiar with that Running Club beer?"

Daniel Köning: I know the beer, and I had the beer, which is a great refreshing pale ale.

Mikkeller Running Club beer created by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø.
Credit Hana Eckermann for NPR Berlin

Hugh: We asked Bruce, Victor and Matt about their experience

Matt: Yeah, honestly, I think that having a low alcohol beer just after running can help to relax everything and stop the muscles from hurting so much so you can definitely run a lot harder and feel a lot better after it.

Hugh: Did you participate in the run today?

Bruce: Yes, so we run up to Brandenburg Tor and then we ran back, and then we came to the bar.

Victor: My name is Victor, this is my first time running with the running group. It was a very very windy day today, so it was quite a hard slog.

Daniel: It was also great of course to run with Mikkeller and Søren and the runners from Copenhagen. We planned 5 Ks (kilometers) but Mikkeller and the others from Copenhagen are in a pretty good shape, so they ran like 7 Ks.

Hana: What is the best part? Is it the running or is it the beer? What is the motivation here?

Bruce: Well, I guess it's kind of both. It's nice to do a little bit of exercise, but also there's a reward at the end.

Hana: Daniel, bearing in mind that the club has been in existence for almost a year, have you got any funny stories, any unusual stories?

Daniel: Yes, would love to tell some very Berlinesque kind of stories, but no naked runners, no tattooed guys, no stoners or whatsoever, but it was very nice to see whole families running with us.

Mikkeller Running Club members enjoying beer after a run.
Credit Hana Eckermann for NPR Berlin

Hana: I think some people might be a little bit "running shy," but what are the options? Can they join you in the middle of the way, or the last 100 meters?

Daniel: Totally, I encourage people just to come by, and have some beers with us, and mingle and socialize.

Hugh: I will meet you at the finish line with a beer in hand.

Hana. That's it from the Mikkeller Running Club Berlin. For NPR Berlin, this is Hana and Hugh Eckermann.