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.
Charabanc Fever - Main image above: ‘Sebastopol Inn, Ladies Outing, Preston’, from Preston Digital Archive on Flickr. A few weeks ago Doreen (@londondear) made us pause an...
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