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“Worth the pilgrimage…” Restaurant review: Altes Mädchen, Hamburg

Beer might be as German as bratwurst, but it’s only recently that the craft-brew craze spreading across Europe has made its mark there against the big native breweries. The Ratsherrn microbrewery in Hamburg’s hipster quarter Sternschanze is leading the charge and it’s a pathfinder in more ways than one, thanks to its on-site restaurant-bar Altes Mädchen where diners can pair up a Pilsner, Rotbier (red beer) or pale ale, all concocted next door, with some delicious food.

The menu may be short in comparison to the 60 drink choices, but it’s by no means an afterthought. An on-site, wood-oven bakery crafts beer yeast into equally divine bread, for assembling sandwiches and brioche-bun beef burgers. Main meals are pared down, tasteful takes on Germanic classics: think crisp, pork schnitzel with a buttery potato fondant or a hunk of beef laid on a silken bed of creamed cabbage; while thyme-infused lemon tart is prepared with skilful care.

Beer-tasting trays accompany starters and an expert sommelier recommends drink pairings so that each dish is elevated to unexpected heights. If you worship real food and real ale, then this place is worth the pilgrimage.

Altes Mädchen, Hamburg
Craft beer nirvana from €15 altes-maedchen.com

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