Food and Drink, Cologne

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  • a timeless old pub, Früh am Dom
    a timeless old pub, Früh am Dom
    by richiecdisc
  • Ah....coffee!
    Ah....coffee!
    by garridogal
  • Hot beer!!  *;-$
    Hot beer!! *;-$
    by RudoElCojonudo
  • Kölsch beer and food

    by ElienL Written May 22, 2014

    Favorite thing: I didn't really like the beer. I like the Belgian beer more.
    But I did like the food. But it had weird names and sometimes they confuse you like with Kölsche Kaviar. It sounds like you get real caviar on your plate. If you like food you will definitely find something delicious!

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    Tasting Kölsch Beer -- Notes and Observations

    by RhineRoll Updated May 25, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Kölsch is both the name for the local dialect and beer, and indeed both have in common that they are rather smooth and soft in their outcome.

    Whereas Kölsch looks like a lager type beer, its production with top-fermenting yeast actually makes it a cousin of the darker Altbier from the Düsseldorf area and the English ale style beers. Drinking a Kölsch on a warm summer's evening can be a pleasant experience throughout because it combines the hopsyness of a lager with the smoothness of a lager type beer. However, in order to avoid that smoothness from turning into sheer sluggishness, both storing and serving need to ensure that the beer comes to the discerning customer in top freshness. This is also one reason why Kölsch traditionally is served in small narrow 0,2 litre glasses -- this shape ensures best that the beer stays fresh and that the head doesn't collapse.

    The small serving size is not very popular with many of the bigger and more tourist-oriented beer gardens on Cologne's Rhine promenade and Old Town because it means more work for the Köbesse (waiters) and ultimately higher labour costs. They have started to introduce larger glasses, measuring 0,3 and even 0,5 litres. Some brewery houses offer groups the choice of putting a "Pittermännchen" on their table -- a small keg -- so that everybody can draft their own beer straight from the keg.

    Due to the above difficulties, getting a really great Kölsch is not as easy as it would seem to be. Some Kölsch beers that are already smoother in their character can turn into disastrous drinks when served in the wrong place at the wrong time. Should you get such a "Plörre" (German slang term for sluggish beer), it's best to leave straight and go to another place.

    Like all beers, Kölsch is best from the tap, only those Kölsch that are styled more towards the herb side rather than the smooth one are acceptable out of the bottle.

    Here are a few local brands and my comments on them:

    Fresh-Herb variants
    ==============
    Gaffel Kölsch -- probably the one with the most intensive taste. Good from the bottle. Greatest chance for a good one from the draft IMO
    Früh Kölsch -- rather clear taste, not as hopsy as Gaffel, a bit steely. Good all-round Kölsch. The safest bet to choose if you aren't sure what to take
    Sünner Kölsch -- a smaller brewery from the East Bank of the Rhine. Very good out of the bottle, sadly not that many places serving it from the draught

    Smooth Variants
    ============
    Peters Kölsch -- very smooth beer. Very high danger to turn into a horribly sluggish drink. Don't order this one in a crowded place -- utter disaster awaits!!!
    Küppers Kölsch -- largely available outside of the Rhineland, not really popular within the Rhineland itself. Probably with good reason.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

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    two timeless gems

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    it's not just about beer

    Fondest memory: We walked over to the cathedral and spent a good amount of time in its incredible interior. It was everything Doreen had hoped for and what I remembered but we had a busy day ahead of us so we headed to the next pub to sample another Kölsch. Despite the poor weather I suggested doing a walk over the bridge that spanned the Rhine to get a better perspective of the massive cathedral that must be seen from a distance to truly appreciate it. We enjoyed the walk even with the biting wind but once back in the old town I was back on the Kölsch hunt. A few places had changed since my first visit and many were not as impressive as the Fruh. One charming little place had since become an outlet for a new Kölsch and didn’t seem so welcoming, nor was the beer as good as the one I remembered. I noticed another outlet in my guide that was a fair walk from the center. We had seen pretty much what we could in a short winter’s day and since it was dark I suggested taking a walk to see what we could find. Doreen being more than a good sport begrudgingly agreed though it seemed to take forever to get there. When we entered the long narrow wooden affair I knew immediately we had hit pay dirt. We sat down amongst the locals and I basked in my discovery. I proved to myself that if you look hard enough you can still find exactly what you are looking for. I gazed over at Doreen. Not only had I found a great old pub that transported me to another time. I realized once again I had found the girl I had been searching for too. She was sitting right across from me.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    a wife can come in handy in that way

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a timeless old pub, Fr��h am Dom

    Fondest memory: We arrived in Düsseldorf and were met by VTer Sabsi who reluctantly took us off to Im Fucshen, one of the city’s great brewpubs full of timeless dark wood. I say reluctantly not because she is not accommodating, that is certainly not the case but because a breakfast of German meats is not her idea of a way to start her day. Despite my guide saying it opened at 9:00 AM we found it still very much closed and were informed it would not be serving until 10:00. We wandered around but the weather was dreadful and particularly cold for the two Florida transports. It was lucky for me that nothing else was open yet or I’d have surely been vetoed on my breakfast choice. We got back just in time for the opening and enjoyed what even Sabsi admitted was an excellent breakfast washed down with some tasty Alt bier. Afterward, we were whisked off to Belgium by Sabsi and her trusty boyfriend Thomas.

    Five days later after an all too short tour of the Belgian highlights, Doreen and had to return to Düsseldorf to fly to Dresden to meet her family. En route, we planned a day trip to Cologne. It was again a very cold and bleak day so not exactly a photographer’s or walker’s delight. We ran by the famous cathedral barely taking a long look as we were both hungry and I was ready for my first Kölsch in nearly decade! The illustrious old Dom Fruh was our first port of call. The mammoth old pub is justifiably famous and a tourist draw even for those who know little about the local beer scene. Its high ceiling and stained glass windows add an almost religious quality to it and the abundance of dark wood makes it quite regal. We enjoyed a great meal and Doreen loved the atmosphere and her first taste of Kölsch. I could have two since the beers are served in their signature small glass of .2 liters. I knew I would be trying as many varieties as I could so kept myself in check. Okay, maybe Doreen did that, but a wife can be handy that way. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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    what else can you expect?

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a younger richiecdisc hunting beer even before VT

    Favorite thing: Cologne is an admittedly beautiful city but what I find most enthralling is its bustling and sometimes timeless pub scene. What else can you expect from a city with 12 independent breweries and a beer that by appellation is not brewed anywhere else, Kölsch!

    Fondest memory: My first trip to Cologne was a beery pilgrimage. I was in Germany visiting a friend and had framed what was mostly a domestic visit with an entry in Munich and an exit via Cologne/Düsseldorf. I had been to the former but it had been over ten years since my last visit and I had learned a lot about German beer in the interim. I enjoyed it immensely but truly looked forward to end of the trip to not only try the various varieties of Kölsch and Alt biers but also to sample the two cities beer cultures. I can drink great beer in lots of places but what I particularly enjoy about it in Germany is finding truly authentic and traditional places in which to do it. It is in these instances that I feel transported in time and that makes all the beer hunting particularly satisfying.

    That virgin trip to Germany’s Rhineland was full of such discoveries. Düsseldorf in particular was endowed with beery gems and admittedly was the favorite of the two. Cologne on the other hand had an immense variety of beers but the pubs were a bit more upscale though certainly not lacking in atmosphere. With a good buddy in tow, I visited too many pubs to count and tried an equally crazy number of Kölsch’s. It was a resounding success and I vowed to return one day for further investigation. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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    SUMMERJAM: Eat and Drink

    by RudoElCojonudo Written Jul 24, 2006
    Hot beer!!  *;-$

    Favorite thing: The food and the drink are quite expesive, so I would recomend to buy sth in a supermarket before going there.
    If you want to have cold drink you can put a box of beers inside the bar close to the main entrance for 2€ a day. Hot beer isn´t very refreshing. ;-$
    It´s not alowed to go to the island with glass bottles so put your drinks in plastic bottles before going inside. You´ll earn some euros!! ;-D

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  • Ice cream

    by rakeshk Written Jul 11, 2005

    Favorite thing: Germans like to eat ice cream. There are lot of ice cream parlors. The ice creams are tasty. I found them better tasting than US ice creams. So, have one everyday you are there. You don't have to watch calories since you are likely to burn them with all the walking.

    Fondest memory: Kolch beer, ice creams, and some local cheeses.

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    Visit the 'Dom', Cologne's...

    by colonius1 Written Sep 12, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Visit the 'Dom', Cologne's famous cathedral, go through the Roman - Germanic Museum near the cathedral, visit the 'Zeughaus' City Museum a short walk away, stroll through 'Hohe Strasse' with its many shops, then take 'Schildergasse' to the 'Neumarkt' where you can catch a streetcar and connection to any part of the city.

    Fondest memory: The Cologne Carnival ('Mardi gras'), three crazy days of dancing, drinking, joking and revelry in public, similar to but much better than the 'Mardi gras' in New Orleans or the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro! Watch the 'Rose Monday Parade' and the many 'Neighborhood Parades'!

    Talking about beer and pubs in Cologne:

    Ask a German which city holds the largest number of breweries and you're not likely to get a correct answer. The German city with the most breweries is not Munich or Dortmund , but Cologne. Not only does it have its own style of beer, but it is also the only city to have a sort of 'apellation controlée'.

    The style is called 'Kölsch' after the local dialect word for 'of Cologne'. According to the 'Kòlsch Convention', an agreement between the German government and the brewers, a beer may only be called 'Kòlsch' if it meets the following criteria:


    It is brewed in the Cologne metropolitan area.

    Is pale in colour

    Is top-fermented

    Is hop-accented

    Is filtered

    A relative of the 'Altbier' brewed in other parts of the Rhineland, it is a leftover from the pre-lager brewing tradition of North Germany. This century, under pressure from newer, bottom-fermenting beers, it has undergone a good deal of change. Most notable of these is the lightening of the color to pale yellow, giving it the appearance of a Pils. You could call it 'the ale that wants to be a lager' and I'm sure that many would classify it as the latter. There is little ale character to be found. It has a very soft, rounded character and can be quite mild in taste. It is always served in a very thin, cylindrical glass (called a 'Stange'), containing 0.2, 0.25 or 0.3 liters.


    Here's a list of pubs and taverns in Cologne:
    _______________________________________________

    'FRÜH AM DOM''

    Am Hof
    50667 Köln
    Tel. 0221-258 0389

    Opening hours:
    Mon - Sun: 08:00-24:00
    Number of draught beers: 1
    Number of bottled beers: 1

    Regular draught beers:
    Früh Kòlsch (gravity)
    Food: Snacks, meals.


    In 1898 P.J. Früh moved his brewery into this building, which had previously housed the Central-Theater. It survived three fires during the war but careful reconstruction has left it a rare reminder of the pre-war city. It's other main claim to fame, is its very convenient location no more than a 5-minute walk from the main railway station. If you're changing trains in Cologne, it's quite possible to nip in there, have a couple of beers and be back on the platform in a half hour.

    The brewery itself is no longer housed here. Given that Früh produces over 400,000 hektoliters of beer annually, it would be a bit difficult on a site of this size. The main room has a medieaval atmosphere and conjures up the image of a baronial dining hall. A little grand, but comfortable and unintimidating. Adjacent to the beer serving area is a distinctly more mundane taproom, but there is the entertainment of watching the stream of waiters loading their trays. The pub has recently been extended into the building next door and this new section seems more directed at diners.

    Rating:****
    ______________________________________________________

    'BRAUHAUS SION'

    Unter Taschenmacher 5
    50668 Köln
    Tel. 0221-257 8540

    Opening hours:
    Mon - Sun:10:00-00:30
    Number of draught beers: 1
    Number of bottled beers: 0

    Regular draught beers:
    Sion Kòlsch (gravity)
    Food: Meals, snacks.

    Sion was not as fortunate as Früh and ended the war as a pile of rubble. A new, larger brewpub was constructed on the same site, though brewing moved to another site several years ago. A brand new building may have made for a roomier interior, but the result is disappointingly unatmospheric. True, there are some nice pieces of leaded glasswork, but the simple, functional design of most of the fittings leave it bland. It's not the sort of place you nip into for a quiet half pint and only manage to drag yourself out of a week later. It has the usual design of such places, with a small taproom around the counter holding the barrels. The rest of the pub rambles back through the building in a very restauranty way.

    Rating:***

    ______________________________________________________

    'GAFFEL HAUS'

    Alter Markt 20-22
    50667 Köln
    Tel. 0221-257 7692

    Opening hours:
    Mon - Sun:11:00-01:00
    Number of draught beers: 3
    Number of bottled beers: 0

    Regular draught beers:
    Gaffel Kòlsch
    Gaffel Kòlsch Light
    Gaffel Kòlsch Frei
    Food: Meals, snacks.


    Another rare survivor of the war, it's just a shame that the 'Zur Bretzel' brewery which it used to house is no longer with us. The 16th century building is now the city-centre tap of the Gaffel brewery. The interior is richly decorated in old tiles, but the bar area is a bit too much like a standard modern German pub. Having a duff pop station on the radio behind the bar does little for the old world atmosphere. Further into the pub the parts for dining have been more sympathetically treated. Sadly, the beer is served on top pressure.
    Rating:**
    ______________________________________________________

    'PÄFFGEN'

    Heumarkt 62
    50667 Köln
    Tel.

    Opening hours:
    Tue - Sun:11:00-01:00
    Mon:Closed
    Number of draught beers: 1
    Number of bottled beers: 0

    Regular draught beers:
    Päffgen Kòlsch
    Food: Meals, snacks.


    Päffgen is one of the two remaining genuine pub breweries in Cologne, but not at this site. The brewing operation is on the Friesenstrasse, though that doesn't detract from this charming old pub, which is one of the cosiest in the city centre. Lots of wood, tiles and leaded glass - I don't think that I need to give an exact inventory of every piece of furniture here for you to get an idea of how it looks. The only reservation is that it is on the restaurant side of pub-restaurant, but that seems to be the case in most of the Cologne beer halls. On the other hand, the local dishes it sells are very good and reasonably priced.

    Rating:****
    ______________________________________________________

    'BRAUEREI ZUR MALZMÜHLE'
    Heumarkt 6
    50667 Köln
    Tel. 0221-210117

    Opening hours:
    Mon - Sat:10:00-24:00
    Sun:11:00-23:00
    Number of draught beers: 1
    Number of bottled beers: 0

    Regular draught beers:
    Mühlen Kòlsch (gravity)
    Food: Meals, snacks.

    You may well curse the town planners as you make your way here, but your perseverance will be rewarded with probably the best pub in the Altstadt. The second of Cologne's real brewpubs, it has been lovingly rebuilt from its wartime ruins. It has a room either side of the entrance and has a very pubby feel because of the wood-panelled walls and pine-topped tables. There's a decent selection of local food, but the emphasis is more on drinking. There are monumental views of the city in various periods of its history hung on the walls. Friendly service and the waiter, having noticed that I spoke English with a friend of mine, quipped 'two beer or not two beer' when he brought our beers.
    Rating:****
    ______________________________________________________

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