Germany and Hamburg have a great tradition of brewing beer that goes back millenia and the beer that is brewed today in Germany has an extremely high standard of quality enjoyed all around the world.

Hamburg even use to have the nickname “The Brewing House of the Hanseatic League” in the medieval centuries with over 500 Breweries in the city in the 16th century. Everyone drank beer because it was much safer to drink than unpurified water and had a lot of vitamins as well as calories. Slowly over the centuries though this number dwindled due to the invention of Schnapps, coffee and hot cocoa, as well as the industrial revolution and the invention of refrigeration machines which helped the brewing process so larger breweries started to buy up smaller ones and close them. Not to forget the Second World War destroyed much of the city along with many breweries which ultimately were not reopened after the war. All in all, just about two decades ago there were only 3 Breweries left in Hamburg: Holsten, Astra (Bavaria-St.Pauli Brauerei) and Gröninger, the oldest brewery in the city.

Germany is a major beer exporter of beer. Last year exporting over 850 million litres of beer and the number is constantly growing. It is no wonder that German beer is so well loved throughout the world due to the infamous German Purity Law of 1516. Its high standards are well cherished around the world. In fact, millions of visitors come every year to celebrate the world’s largest beer festival in Munich, the infamous Oktoberfest!

With such a rich beer history it might come as a surprise to some that the craft beer scene in Germany is relatively young. twenty years ago one would have looked in vain for an IPA or Imperial Stout in Germany. The same is true for Hamburg, now the craft beer capitol in Germany right up there with Berlin.

How could this be, one of the most Beer affluent countries in the world with a beer drinking capita of around 100 litres per person per year? Is Germany so cut off from the rest of the world that it missed out on the craft beer trend from America? The answer is no, of course not. Germany’s beer just has such a high quality that Germany didn’t, till recently, see a need for craft beer. Germans are also incredibly proud of their beer as well as their German Purity Law. So there has always been a distrust in beers that experiment too far away from a standard German pilsener or helles. But things have turned around and slowly over the past decade or so, more and more Germans are taking to loving the newly found craft beer scene that has been becoming more and more popular.

The first craft beer brewery to open here in Hamburg was the Kehrwieder Brewery which opened its doors in 2011. Ten years later there are a total of 20 craft and micro breweries and the number is constantly growing! Some craft breweries are more famous than others with strong marketing teams, located in popular and trendy locations, and more well known than others, so it might be confusing to figure out which craft breweries are the best here in the city, especially if only visiting the city for a short amount of time. 

Here are, in our opinion, the 5 best craft beer breweries in Hamburg that show an extraordinary quality and variety in their craft brewing techniques.

Kehrwieder Brewery 

This brewery is rated “Hamburg’s favorite brewery” for several years in a row from the followers at the popular craft beer rating site, And once you try their many different types of beers it will come as no surprise why. Kehrwieder Brewery is run by brewmaster Oliver, along with his lovely wife, Julia, who helps with the organization. The brewery boasts over 100 different beers and has won over 50 different international beer awards. Not only that, but Oliver was also the world beer sommelier champion in 2013 from the renowned Doemens Academy. So he definitely knows his stuff. Oliver is also a founding member of the Society of German Creative Brewers.

In 2011 Kehrwieder Brewery started brewing their first beer in the very south of Hamburg in a small village called Sinstorf. The “Prototyp” came about which is a dry hopped lager. Lager doesn’t sound that spectacular but once you try it you will know why it has won so many international awards!

The name of the brewery, Kehrwieder, or “return again”, comes from a part of the Hamburg ports known as Kehrwieder where historically the wives of the sailors going out to see would stand and call to their husbands to return safely home. Oliver’s idea when he founded the brewery was that Hamburg should return to its roots with a vast assortment of beers being offered here in the city… And ten years later one could say that he has started something incredible here in the creative beer scene, not only in Hamburg, but all over Germany!

One speciality that Oliver has been working on very successfully is his diversity of alcohol free craft beers. Oliver has developed a special one of a kind process for his alcohol free series. Instead of filtering the alcohol out, which also filters out a lot of flavour, Oliver has developed a special technique which gives these beers an extremely full flavour but without the alcohol. The result is uncanny and one would not believe that it is actually alcohol free beer!

Wildwuchs brewery 

Wildwuchs brewery opened in 2014 and is the first completely organic craft brewery in Hamburg. Of course, being an organic brewer the quality of their beers is second to none. Located in Wilhelmsburg south of the Elbe River and a bit off the beaten path, a visit to their brewery tap room is always a great way to spend a weekend evening!

Wildwuchs is run by the Brewmaster Fiete, who is a native to Hamburg and has a degree in beer brewing and is a professional beer sommelier. Every aspect of the brewery takes the environment into account and you might even see the workers throughout the city delivering the beer on their electric transport bikes, of course run only on green electricity.

Not only does Wildwuchs use organic ingredients, but also they focus on ingredients that are grown locally and have even planted a hops garden here in the south of Hamburg to help them with sustainability in their supply chain. 

The brews have won dozens of awards and recently their delicious Bock O’range line won the title of favourite beer from the German Beer Consumers Union, a well deserved honor for Fiete’s Bock creation. However, there are many other wonderful beers to choose from at Wildwuchs, from the standard IPAs, wit beers, lagers and pilsners, and even a delicately crafted smoked beer among many others! If you haven’t tried craft beer from Wildwuchs already, you are definitely missing out on some excellent brews!

Buddelship Brewery

Buddelship Brewery was started in 2014 by Brewmaster Simon. They were located for a long time in a former fish canning factory, but don’t worry, there is nothing fishy about this brewery.

Buddelship means ship in a bottle and stands for some great hanseatic traditions. Simon is an expert brewer that one can tell his affinity towards barrel aged beers, whether it be amazing imperial stouts, to “Barrique” Pilsners or his barley wines among others. After trying many of Simon’s beers, one starts to realise his true passion for barrel aged beers. One also might ask themselves where does he get all of those wonderful port, wine and liquor barrels to make such a diverse and great variety of beers?. It might be no wonder that his wonderful Dutch wife, Nienke, is a genever distiller and sommelier who also sells, together with Buddelship, her amazing types of old styled gins. Together they make a great team and also offer insightful tasting pairings.

The barrel aged beers are highly commemorated, but Simon’s other beers are also an incredible delight! He, of course, has his standard beers, but also experiments a lot with sour beers, gose, lambics and has an incredible IPA series which he names the “Mr. (one letter)” series. Probably the most famous of his is Mr.B IPA. An incredibly flavourful and hazy New England India Pale Ale.

You can try the amazing beers at Buddelship’s own tap room, Oorlam, located in the middle of the city, Kohlhöfen 29. It is a cozy tap room with a great atmosphere and snacks such as amazing dutch cheeses and french salamis with locally fresh baked breads, among other delicious snacks. They also often have collaborations with other breweries so it is always an interesting mix of beers and with 15 taps and dozens of bottled beers, you are sure to find some incredibly wonderful beers that suit your taste!

Landgang Brewery

Landgang is the youngest brewery here in our list. But it has been flooded with success and now boasts to be the third largest brewery in Hamburg. With so much success, their beer has to be good!

Sascha, the brewmaster of Landgang founded the brewery in 2015 together with Lars, who organises the marketing and back office side of the brewery. They have proven to be an amazing team that has created many great beers together. And it is no surprise that the brewery is still growing today after winning dozens of international beer awards.

Landgang loves to make hoppy beers. From their Lager to New England IPAs, expect a lot of hoppy flavour in their beers. This can range from their typical north German pilsner which is as expected on the bitter side, to an array of citrusy aroma in their American IPA, or the fruity flavour of their Double IPA… Sascha likes his hops and the customers love his beer!

But Landgang also has unusual beers, for example, their tutti frutti series. Every half a year or so they produce a sour beer with a different fruit injected into the beer. Sometimes black currant, tropical fruits, gooseberries or even cucumbers. It is always interesting to taste the different aromas that are created in this refreshing series.

Interesting fact about the brewery is that before they brew the new beer style, they invite the community to try 4-5 different prototypes of the beer recipe and the community votes which recipe should be brewed. This is always an incredibly fun event for the community and also ensures the best recipe will be brewed… Or Hamburg’s only democratic Brewery 🙂

They also open their tap room on weekends located directly in the brewery for guests to come by and enjoy some great beers on tap in a modern brewery atmosphere. If you haven’t been, it is always worth a visit!

Bunthaus Brewery

Bunthaus brewery is located on Bunthaus island in the south of the city and is by far the smallest brewery on this list… yes it is really a nano brewery with a 2 hektor litre brewing facility. It doesn’t have an incredibly large assortment of beers, but for that, the quality and flavour of their beers are marvelous.

Because the brewery itself doesn’t have a license to serve alcohol they have a tap room, located in the south of the city in Wilhelmsburg. It is in the beautiful gardens of Island Park and is a former water purification facility where you can still see the nano copper pigments from the water that used to flow through the building on the walls (located at Kurdamm 24). It is an imposing monument to the decades-long function of the building.

The brewmaster, Jens, started as a hobby brewer about 10 years ago and has made incredible strides throughout the few years he has been brewing. He has keeped his brewing process small but at the same time gratifying his trustworthy craft beer drinkers. He is constantly trying new things out which make his beers unique to say the least… How about a gose with instead of salt a vietnamies fish sauce, or an Ale with beetroot infused in it? All under the motto, don’t dis it till you’ve tried it!

Bunthaus only has about 5-6 beers at a time, if not sold out before then, but the variety ranges from dry hopped pilsners, of course alluring IPAs, to imperial stouts and even wonderful gose. So everyone is bound to find a style that suits them.  Jens, is a low key brewer but with high ambitions for the quality of his beers. A good reason to try them before they are sold out again!

If you are looking for more information about the best craft beers here in the city, feel free to join the original Hamburg Craft Beer Tasting Tour! With our expert guides we will learn about the craft beer scene here in the city and try some of the best craft beers Hamburg has to offer. Don’t settle for second best rather book directly at:

This blog was written by Brent Foster from Robin and the Tourguides in July of 2021. We welcome you to comment or share your thoughts and experiences about Hamburg’s craft beer scene below!