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2007 Cologne (Spring)




Summer Holiday (a bit early but yes!) or a pathfinder trip?



It’s mid Thursday afternoon, and after arrival, and booking into the
Hayk Hotel on the banks of the Rhine, we sallied forth.

Firstly, to the Colner Hofbrau Fruh, (E1.55/0.2L).  A crowded and
dingy place as Tel expected.  After first taste of Fruh Kolsch, Paul
described it as cloying and sticking to the sides of his mouth, but
not bad.  Then, three more 0.2L glasses later, it becomes rather

Onto the Gilden Haus for Gilden Kolsch at E1.35/0.2L.  A couple or
more glasses in here.  Paul said that this beer was sharper than the
last, which probably means ‘cleaner’   Paul must be getting into his
stride, - He declares that Kolsch glasses would make good condoms.

Next, into Sion Brauhaus.  We could see them changing the barrel as
we entered, so we sat down and ordered two beers.  We waited and
waited and eventually got up and quietly walked out, - what excellent

Then to Peters Brauhaus for some Peters Kolsch.  This establishment
was most notable for meeting a Harley Davidson riding, car-driving
instructor who spoke good English and was keen on inviting us to a
karaoke bar around the corner. We declined, and said we might visit
another day – we never did. 

Walked on to Im Stapel Haus for some Dom Kolsch – Paul describes it
as a standard beer.  However, whilst here Paul managed to acquire an
excellent local stadtplan (Street map).

Then to the Gaffel Haus for Gaffel Kolsch.  The beer’s not bad, Tel
Likes it – he describes it as wholesome, (not quite the bread of
life), but he could go on drinking it.

Then onto the Pfaffen brewery.  Pfaffen Kolsch clean crisp and
refreshing – several drinks here.

Walked (?) on to the Malzmuehler Brauerei for some Malzmuehler
Kolsch, whereupon Paul realised that he had left his ‘bag of
goodies’, (beer mats and visitor cards), behind at the last place. So
we make a quick dash back and retrieve it.

Next was the Walfisch for Sunner Kolsch. The Sunner Kolsh we
described as:  Palatable, worth coming back for, not bad, and
a ‘true’ German beer.  Unfortunately, we got kicked out after only
two beers each as it was closing time.  So to bed we went.

Friday dawned bright and sunny and got extremely warm, so we decided
on a walk downriver.  We went all the way down to the start of the
cable car ride over the Rhine, but Terry was having none of it.
Thus, we turned left and started following the outer ring road around
the city.  As mentioned, it was very warm so the need for refreshment
was imminent.  The first bar we visited was named Greesberger.  We
went in and had a few beers, took a few pictures and the woman behind
the bar offered to take our picture in return.

We walked on then to a bar called Schreckenskammer.  This was at
about 12.45 and our first impression was of a small front bar for the
converted, and a large back bar for eating.  There were also a number
of seats outside filled by office staff having their lunch.  The beer
was eminently quaffable with a dry broad taste, however we were let
down by seeing the two barrels on the bar were attached to a hose
from below.

Then onto the bar Jan Van Werth. – Once visited, once forgotten!!

Next it was onto Haus Paffgen.  A long thin entrance in which you
pass the barrels, (reminiscent of Fruh or Fassla breweries).  At
14.30 on Friday when we arrived, the place was almost empty, but we
had a feeling that it may get livelier later.   The Paffgen Kolsch
as not Paul’s favourite, it tasted sweeter than the Shreckenskammer,
but it was drinkable.  Whilst we were there, they changed the barrel,
but only for a small one – so they didn’t have to use the elaborate
hoist to bring one up from the cellar.  The beer was growing on Paul
(as alcoholism does!).  One other moment to remember from this place
was the manager Peter’s handshake, - very strong and vicelike.

Then on to the Bar Putz for a few glasses of Muhlen Kolsch.  The beer
was sweet and slightly tart but quite drinkable.  The bar itself had
good credentials but was dark, dingy and cellarish.

Walked on and came across the Haus Toller.  This brewery was not
listed on the internet, but was on the local city map.  The right
place to be, but once again, at five past six, it was the wrong time –
almost empty.  The Toller Kolsch, Paul thought, was refreshing, and
tasting a little of summer fruits.  Terry thought it was not sharp,
but may be tasty. He was losing the will to drink at this point –
(His words).  In the 1300s it was originally a distillery, and became
a brewery in the 1880s.

Onward then to the bar Gertrudehof.  A congenial local with two BFB
in situ.  Sion Kolsch was the beer, which Paul declared was the best
so far – despite the wait.  Sweet, but not overly so and no bite.
Terry noted that it was normal here as in most other bars we had
visited for the staff to smoke behind the counter.

We tripped out of that bar into the next:  The Bier-Esel serving
Sunner Kolsch.  As the first glass arrived, Paul commented that he
was ready for it.  It was nice to have females serving the beer at
last – but a little voyeurish.  But it was a popular bar.

Then we went back to the hotel – Terry to bed,  Paul went out again.
This time to the Soeckchen Bar (Sock Bar0, just around the corner.  A
friendly, popular little bar with loud music and female staff - open
until 2 or 3 in the morning.  The beer was Reissdorf Kolsch which was
excellent.  He ended up chatting with two Brazilian ladies, one of
whom couldn’t have been much more than 5ft tall.

Saturday was once again bright, sunny and very warm.  We got a rail
ticket to Ratingen, planning to stop at Dusseldorf on the way back.
Seventy minutes later on the ‘milk train’ we arrived in Ratingen and
set off on a hike to the first recommended bar, but on arrival, found
that it was shut.

So onward again, to the Drei Konigen.  A busy local in the corner of
the market square full of local football supporters having a pre
match drink.  Schlussel Alt (gravity), which Tel declared, was Sehr
Gut as the crowd moved on to their match.  Wooden panels surrounded
the bar.

On to Diebels which was also situated in the market square.  A more
airy bar with a *bleep*y young barman, plenty of wood and Saga 
day-Trippers.  Paul thought that the Diebels Alt (gravity) tasted
pretty much the same as the previous Schlussel.

Then to the Frankenheim Brauerei, which was hidden behind the
Saturday market stalls in the Burgerhaus Ratingen.  The bar room was
very large and airy and full of German chatter.  It was all light
wood with a somewhat art deco appearance.  However, having a Frank
Butcher look-alike behind the bar was notable.  Paul said that the
Frankenheim Alt (gravity) looked and tasted slightly heavyish.  Terry
said that he could taste burnt barley in it.

Next was the Ratingen Brauhaus for some Ratingen Alt.  (This
establishment was previously known as Schinderhahnes, which is what
we were looking for.)  The bar had a 1970s steak house feel about it
with lots of BFBs and their wives present.  Paul declared the
beer ‘quite neckable’, and Terry said that it was middle of the road
Alt, but quite tasty.

Back to the station and to Dusseldorf.

On to the Hausbrauerei Schlussel.  This was a large beer cellar of a
place on the ground floor.  Paul found the Schlussel Alt to be a bit
burnt or dry.

Onward to the Brauerei Zur Uel.  This turned out to no longer be a
brewery.  No barrels in view, gassed beer and a neon sign
saying ‘Burgers and Beer’. – We should have guessed.  The beer tasted
dry and was served in plain glasses.  The place appeared somewhat
dingy and dead, but was most probably buzzing at night.

Then on to Brauerei im Fuchschen.  This also was only a brewery tap
and it had the same beer mats as the last place.  It was a large bar
room with lots of wooden tables and tiles.  The Fuchschen Alt was dry
tasting and not to our liking, however, we had to have two glasses
each – for the sake of appearances.

Next to the Brauerei Schumacher.  The real thing at last:  Loads of
wood and tables with a few people around.  The Schumacher Alt was
very clear, slightly sharp and very nice after the last two places we
had tried.  Our overall impression of this brewery and its beer was
that it is well worth a pit stop anytime.

Then it was back to the station for a one-hour journey back to
Cologne on the ‘milk train’ – then to revisit a few bars on the way
home to bed.

Sunday dawned bright again, but fortunately not quite as warm as the
last couple of days.  The plan was to cross the Rhine and visit a few
places on the other side in the Kalk district of Cologne.  Off we set
towards the cable car again, this time not along the river, but
taking the streets parallel to it.  On arrival, Tel stated that Paul
was treating him and could pay the fare (4 Euros each – one way).  In
we got and Terry was fine, even taking a photo until we were about
20ft above ground.  At this point, he clasped the rail at the side of
the seat, closed his eyes and assumed a very pale grey complexion
until we were 20ft from the ground on the other side.  Thus we
disembarked – Terry looking visibly shaken.  We had landed in a large
pleasant park, which we strolled through spotting the local wild
green parrots, and then on further beyond to our first port of call.

At 11.15 it was into the bar Sion Braues where we had one Sion Kolsch
gravity), just to ‘steady his pins’ as Terry put it.  The beer
tasted clean and refreshing, but the only visitor card available was
a box of matches.

Then on to the Brauhaus Ohne Namen (Pub With No Name).  This bar had
just recently opened for the day when we arrived at 1155, so we
settled down for some Gaffel Kolsch (gravity).  This tasted crisper
and stronger than the Sion we had had at the last stop.

Next was Zun Alter Brauhaus – Kalk, or according to the visitor card,
Reissdorf em Cornely.  Several glasses of Reissdorf Kolsch were
downed here; despite half of its clientele being older Germans who
sounded as if they didn’t like Englanders.  Terry and Paul declared
the beer ‘Sehr Gut’.  The bar was just closing at 1400 when we left,
which possibly didn’t bode well for the next stop.

We walked on, whilst once again, the day got considerably warmer.
Arriving at the Sunner Brauerei, which was closed (Sunday), we went
into the biergarten.  This was a clean, spacious area with good
seating and friendly waiters serving beer and food.  We had several
Sunner Kolsch each here and Terry also tried a Sunner Weitz (0.5L),
which he enjoyed.

We caught the U Bahn back to the other side of the river.

Terry led us on then back to the Brauhaus Sunner Im Walfisch and
decided that it was time that we had a ‘proper’ meal.  Terry
suggested something on the menu, to which Paul stated that he would
eat it if Terry did too.  Thus, once we were seated with a 0.4L glass
of Sunner Kolsch, our plates arrived:  A huge joint of roast pork
each served with fried potatoes and Saurkraut.  We both manfully
eventually managed to clear our plates and then return to the hotel.

Paul decided to rest in the hotel and let the meal go down, whilst
Terry walked his off around town.

Monday was wet with frequent showers, but we still decided to go on a
long hike to the Braustelle – claiming to be Colognes’ smallest
brewery.  On arrival, we found that it did not open until 1800.  Thus
we set off walking back the way we had just come.  At one point it
began raining somewhat heavier, so we nipped into a convenient bar
and ordered a beer.  Paul chatted to the barman who produced a stack
of beer mats (still in a pack of about 200), and was invited to help
himself – which he duly did.

Once the rain had eased a bit we continued on, back to Haus Paffgen.
As we moved toward some seats, the waiter looked at us and said ‘Zwei
Kolsch?’.  To which we replied ‘Bitte’ and sat down.  (The waiter
obviously remembered us from a couple of days ago!).  No sooner did
we empty our glasses, than full ones appeared and replaced them. – We
had a few in here!  Whilst here, Tel noticed a person sitting on the
other side of the room who was the spitting image of old Tom in the
Garden Gate, (even down to the flat cap).  Half an hour later we had
to chuckle as this Tom look-alike turned out to be a woman.

Back to the hotel for a short rest, then out again this time on the U
Bahn to try the smallest brewery again.

The Braustelle looks like a bank from the outside, but inside it is a
smallish bar with a youth club atmosphere.  The beer is pumped up
from the cellar and is not Kolsch, but very like Belgian Bock beer.
We started with Helios (0.3L), which was light and cloudy and not bad
at all. Also on offer were Helios Weizenbeer, Ehrenfelder Alt, Helios
Tripelbock and also a new beer, which they were producing, called
Pink Panther.  We were offered a sample taste of Pink Panther each.
It is the house beer flavoured with hibiscus flowers.  Paul didn’t
like the taste, but Terry ventured to try a glass – which he

After catching the U Bahn back, we visited a bar along from the hotel
on the Rhine called the Haxenhausen.  This was a large airy bar with
a rustic décor, (not a brewery tap), friendly staff and an excellent
atmosphere.  Gaffel Kolsch was served here and we had several.  Also,
as a Germany trip would not be complete without at least one
Schnapps, we let the barmaid choose one for us, and ended up with a
Pear William each.

So to bed, ready for the trip back tomorrow.

We had planned to stop in Brussels on the way back for some further
refreshment. – But, shock and horror, on arrival we find that Au
Labourer has been boarded up and appears to be no more.  Thus we were
stuck with the bar in the station.

Created on 05/13/2007 09:35 PM by drinking
Updated on 05/13/2007 10:14 PM by drinking
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