8:30 Get up.
9:40 Catch number 2 tram.
10:34 Get in ICE train.
11:43 Head for the train's bar.
11:44 Talk to a young Canadian while waiting the 5 minutes it takes to pull a 40cl plastic cup of Warsteiner. Sounds as if he's been on too much wacky backy while in Amsterdam. He's from Regina. I refrain from making the obvious joke because Lexie is with me. I thought they used to sell bottles of Hefeweizen.
13:12 Arrive at Köln Hauptbahnhof.
13:20 Discover that our lunch destitnation, Peter's Brauhaus, has a private party.
13:25 My first glass of Sion. I'm not impressed. Watery and slightly nasty.
13:30 - 14:30 Theyre having Bayeischer Wochen in Sion. Blue and white is everywhere. They have Bavarian food. But the beer is still a pretty dull Kölsch. I remember it as being better last year. Maybe I was just in a good mood. The klose and mashed pototo are out of a packet and the chips are crap, like from a hamburger chain. The Schweinebraten itself is OK. Pretty poor overall for a Brauhaus. I wish Peter's had been open.
14:30 - 15:00 I hang around outside the Lego shop trying not to look like a kiddy fiddler.
15:05 I give Andrew the choice of walking to the Stadsmuseum or going on a pub crawl.
15:06 A typically crappy modern German pub, whose name I didn't bother to look at. I don't plan going back. A cheap glass of top-pressure Gilden Kölsch. Not noticeably worse than the beer in Sion.
15:35 - 16:00 I hadn't realised how close Malzmuhle is to the Lego shop. Seem quite a lot of Americans in. Do they come because Bill Clinton once drank here? By far the best Kölsch so far. A really nice earthy hop touch. But still a bit too subtle, even for a Kölsch. The adjacent room suddenly disgorges several dozen pensioners wearing matching t-shirts. It seem to be some sort of class reunion. Our paths cross again later. They 're on a pub crawl, too.
16:05-16:25 Zum Pfaffen I come here because Andrew likes the statue tables around the bar. Packed outside, vuirtually empty inside. Beer with a good bit more umph to it. Not perfectly clear. I'm not sure if they call it a Kölsch. A lot more character and pleasantly hoppy, if not exactly bitter. Best beer so far.
16:25 - 16:45 Brauhaus in d'r Salzgasse. Can't miss this one. Päffgen Kölsch and a nice pub. Just like last year, they ask Andrew if he wants a beer. He's on Cola Light, lads. He had a heavy one last night. Hoppy, naturally-carbonated aroma. Smells good. Päffgen is still the one to beat.
1700_17:20 Sit in the very cosy taproom of Sünner im Walfisch with a bloke wearing a Tusker t-shirt and his English girlfriend. They are much amused by the beer towers. As always, ordering cheap liquor gets me in well with the locals. Everyone loves a pisshead. The gravity-served Sünner is pretty uninspiring. Vaguely hop-flavoured liquid. Virtually no distinguishing features.
17:30 - 18:30 Eat well in a no smoking room in Früh am Dom. The Kölsch is light, but tasty. Slips down very nicely with the food.
The Year in Beer - That time of year is upon us, when in the dark and cold and dearth of news we cast our gaze backward at the year to see what to make of it. This isn't ent...
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