40 Years in Beer, Part Twenty-One: Those legendary working beers with the FDJ in the GDR
West Berlin, 1989. Previously: 40 Years in Beer, Part Twenty: Beer, zakuski, vodka and ice cream. As August approached, I’d been tourist-grade ambulatory in the East Bloc for almost two months. Now, prior to the commencement of my much anticipated volunteer work gig in East Germany, there’d be a week’s respite in the gloriously capitalist enclave of West Berlin. It stood to be a welcome diversion with all the restorative amenities for an American abroad, like laundromats to ameliorate the wardrobe grunge, reliable postal facilities for shipping Soviet black market booty back to the States, and plenty of döner kebab outlets to add some much needed pizzazz to the caloric intake. The Irish pubs were like oases. Don Barry arrives. I’d reserved a sizeable multi-bed room at an old-school pension in Savignyplatz, where a few of my Moscow classmates set up camp as they made travel plans, and I awaited the arrival of my cousin and mentor Donald Barry. He’d be arriving by train from Paris via West Germany. On our first night in West Berlin, having gotten rooming arrangements squared away and showered (it had been a long, hot, drunken train ride from the USSR), the USSR alumni association went strolling down the Ku’damm, West...Read more