Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A stroll around Cologne

When I was in Cologne last week, I got to a couple of brewpubs that I hadn't been to before.

The first one was Brauerei Päffgen. It's a bit out of the way, about half a mile from the Altstadt pubs I've drunk in before, but well worth the short trip (although not that short in my case: I knew it was two stops to Friesenplatz from the Hauptbahnhof but by getting on the wrong train I ended up at Neumarkt instead. I approached a passing couple for directions and they seemed shocked that I intended to walk to it from there, claiming it would take me half an hour. They clearly underestimated my walking speed, especially when there's a pub at the other end, as ten minutes later I was in Päffgen with a glass of Kölsch in front of me. Coming out of the pub, I noticed that the spires of Cologne Cathedral next to the Hauptbahnhof didn't seem that far away and it was in fact only another ten minute walk back).

I sat in the drinking corridor at Brauerei Päffgen, partly to watch the trays of small Kölsch glasses being filled with beer from the barrel and partly to enjoy the banter between the waiters (at one point, some schoolchildren came in with a questionnaire and were laughingly passed on to each other by the staff). I've drunk Päffgen Kölsch before, in the Bierhaus en d'r Salzgass in the Altstadt, and the beer was as good as ever: uncompromisingly bitter as the Good Beer Guide used to say about Holt's.

Next up was Brauerei Malzmühle. Unlike Päffgen, Malzmühle is in the Altstadt but cut off from the standard crawl around the Heumarkt by a main road and tram line. It has a very traditional feel although looking at the photos on display it seems the present three-storey building only dates from the early 60's. Mühlen Kölsch is at the other end of the spectrum to Päffgen, being very soft and malty, a bit like Pfaffen in fact (given that Pfaffen is brewed by Max Päffgen, it makes me wonder whether he deliberately produces a beer opposite in flavour to that made by the relatives he's fallen out with).

For the third time in a row, I mistimed my trip to Cologne so that Sünner Im Walfisch was closed yet again. I would have hung around the Alstadt for a couple of hours until it was open but the Arctic temperature meant I was losing the feeling in my feet by this point.

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