Susan Schramm: Actually, we first need to sort out who you are, Fiete. Are you from Hamburg originally?  

Fiete Matthies:  So in the old days, when I was asked where I came from, I always said: I’m from Finkenwerder. But at the time I didn’t really know what Hamburg was. Finkenwerder is actually a district of Hamburg; if you want to travel from there to central Hamburg, you just jump on the steamboat. It takes about 25 minutes to go from Finkenwerder to the jetties of Hamburg. It used to be an island in the Elbe and has belonged to Hamburg for a long time – or at least part of it has. Years ago it used to be divided into two parts, and the other part belonged to Lower Saxony. I was brought up there, grew up, went to school…  

Susan: Then you’ll probably have a secret tip for Hamburg – something that's a must-see? Of course, it’ll no longer be a secret if you reveal it now (laughs).  

Fiete: So, what’s typical of Hamburg is of course things like the Schanze district, where there’s always something going on in the bars and clubs. Or the Krameramtsstuben, where you can see the narrow streets of old Hamburg, as it used to be in the 17th century. But the district of Wilhelmsburg, where I spend most of my time now, also has a lot to offer. We have a small brewery and regular events like the pub quiz or Pannfisch-Sonntag (Fried Fish Sunday). It was really meant for the neighbours or for Hamburg residents from around the corner. But we now also have more and more visitors coming from outside Hamburg – they’re holidaying here and say they’ve always wanted to experience an event like this!  
Susan: That also chimes with our philosophy for The Cloud One – how and where can you really experience a city, get to know the country and its people? That’s why we’re having a beer now – it’s one of yours! In 2014, you and your brothers founded the first organic brewery in Hamburg.   

Fiete: With my two older brothers, that’s right. The two of them had the idea of putting a sparkling cucumber drink on the market together. That was a good 10 years ago now, and it felt like there was a new gin on the market every day. And since you often mix the gin with tonic water and a slice of cucumber, they said: let’s put something on the market that goes well with gin. That’s how they got onto the cucumber drink idea. So we started tinkering around. But then it occurred to me to start with organic beer, because there was no organic beer in Hamburg at that point. The two of them were on board, so we started with beer first. But we’re continuing to tinker with the cucumber drink, because we’re considering adding a few non-alcoholic versions to our current portfolio.  

Susan: Well then, let’s toast – cheers – with your lager! You’re a qualified beer sommelier too, so you know what tastes good. Is there really an official training course for that?   

Fiete: There is actually a training course, but it’s more like a crash course. I did this at the Doemens Academy and in Obertrum, in Austria, under Axel Kiesbye, where you can do nothing but drink beer for two weeks if you like. But there are so many different beer styles. So it’s not lager, lager, lager and Pilsner, Pilsner, Pilsner; instead you might start with a Geuze and then a Dubbel, then a Tripel... So there were these Trappist beers, these sour beers, and then they brought out the big guns with 12–13% alcohol content. There’s a huge variety of beers.   

Susan: What went through your mind when you were asked by The Cloud One if you wanted to offer your beer here?  

Fiete: First of all we were obviously really happy, but we also thought: does that fit in with our concept? The Cloud One advocates sustainability, starting with the organic breakfast, plus you use green electricity etc., so we complement each other and are a good match in that respect. Sustainability in particular is something that we set great store by… It’s precisely what we feel is important. That’s why we’re delighted when we find partners who see things the same way and want to put it into practice.   

Susan: So are we! Another typical Hamburg question: Hamburg is known for its ‘Schietwetter’, as they say in these parts – terrible weather. Does our rooftop bar make sense?   
Fiete: Yes, that’s a legitimate question if you’re not from here. But in fact, the weather isn’t as bad as it’s reputed to be. You can clearly see that when the sun is shining, people go outside – it doesn’t matter what temperature it is. That’s why you need every open space there is. And Hamburg, of course, has a lot of built-up areas. So if you can sit right up high, that’s great!  

Susan: Hamburg really does have a lot going on outdoors. I’m a big Hamburg fan, so I’m always happy when I’m here and the sun shines and I can experience it all. Or even in the evenings! So that’s my tip: if you go through the Speicherstadt (warehouse district) in the evening, the lighting is really beautiful. A fantastically beautiful city! What’s your tip? What should you absolutely go and see if you have a day to spend here?   

Fiete: Looking at Hamburg from above is would be my best tip, of course. So from the rooftop bar here, or if you go up St. Michael's Church tower (known here as the ‘Michel’). Or one thing that’s really good to do if you’re a bit of a water enthusiast is to take a boat over to Wilhelmsburg and then go down the canals there. These are the routes that are not normally served by tourist boats.   

Susan: Honestly, I’m going to try that right now.   

Fiete: Great! With a rowing boat, right? (laughs)