Thursday, 4 October 2007

Those stupid little Kölsch glasses

Two reasons for this post: I'm off to Cologne on Saturday and Stonch said he enjoyed my travel reports. No numbers today, just a series of crap jokes. I hope you enjoy it. Tomorrow it's back to numbers.

On my last trip to Cologne, I took my son Andrew to the Römisch-Germanische Museum. When we came out, there was still an hour and a quarter before our appointment with the rest of the family. It's not hard to guess my opinion of the best way to use that time. Occasionally, I can be very organised. I had a map, marked with pubs I needed to visit, as well as the map I carry around in my head at all times. How could I persuade Andrew to traipse around them all?

"How many pubs do you think I can get around in 75 minutes, Andrew?" "Four or Five."

It's a happy day for the parents when a child learns the value of money. Then they can be bribed. And often with laughably small amounts of cash. It's embarrassing, really, how little you need to offer. But not quite enough to stop me doing it.

The list of pubs in my head was getting no shorter.

"Pah! I bet I can do eight, no trouble. Five euros says I can."

Andrew is surprisingly knowledgeable about pubs and beer for his tender years. He's seen me knocking back pints in England, liters in Bavaria, 33 cls of Trappist in Belgium. He has a pretty good idea of how long it takes me to drink a beer. It's no wonder he thought that he was onto a winner. Whereas I, for the first time I could see an advantage in the irritatingly minute glasses they serve Kölsch in.

He wasn't looking so cocky after I knocked off Alter Markt Treff and Kulisse in five minutes. That was three more than they deserved. In Pfaffen, Andrew insisted I photograph the statue tables - no easy feat, in the gloomiest corner of the pub, with my camera. It wasted valuable drinking time. He isn't daft.

His optimism was brief. When I cheekily ordered a second in Bierhaus en d'r Salzgass (it is Päffgen Kölsch, straight from a wooden cask, after all), he knew the game was up. A quick exit from Sünner im Walfisch, thanks to a friendly, efficient waitress, took away his last hope. Four down, loads of time left. Confidently, I chose Biermuseum, where all draughts are 40 cl , as our next stop. A couple of minutes were enough to dispatch a Doppelbock (I was in too much of a rush to ask which).

Not even the 10 minutes we hung around in Haxenhaus zum Rheingarten before a surly waiter threw a menu at us, could perk Andrew up. Especially when, pissed off at being made to sit at the bar in a half-empty pub, I downed my expensive Kölsch (1.70, 20 cents more than the most I paid anywhere else) in one. By the time we hit Im Martinswinkel, he had lost interest in our bet. Like me, he's fascinated by history. He was soon drawn to the "look what carpet bombing does to an historic city" photos. You see them a lot in Cologne. I can understand why.

I made it with five minutes to spare. Even after doubling up in en d'r Salzgass and being ignored in Haxenhaus. One of the most pleasurable five euros I've ever earned. I got to drink my favourite Kölsch, visit two places I had never been inside before and find a new pub to add to my guide.

So the next time I begin to burst with frustration at being continually in need of a fresh beer because of those stupid, tiny Kölsch glasses, I'll remember that they can, if only very occasionally, be quite useful.

7 comments:

Elektrolurch said...

lol awesome story...
when in cologne, don't forgett to finally get to Schreckenskammer. And Braustelle in Ehrenfeld is also a must because the brewer increased his skills, and there are not many places in cologne where you can drink alt and experimental stuff like fruitbeers...

Will said...

Ron, I laughed out load, very funny story

Stonch said...

This is the kind of beer writing I like.

Ron Pattinson said...

elektrolurch, as they close at 14:00 on Saturday, I'll need to go directly to Schreckenskammer on arrival.

Braustelle is also on my list. But I have family things that will eat up time. I doubt I can persuade Andrew to do another pub crawl.

Ron Pattinson said...

Stonch, don't get too used to this frivolous stuff. I have so many numbers still to publish . . . .

onewink3 said...

Good story, Ron. But you might have blown it by trouncing him so handily. He'll be less likely to bite the next time, even if you up the ante to 20 pubs in 30 minutes. If it were me, I'd have at least thought about making sure the 8th pour came after the deadline. I'd get all 8 pubs, he'd get 5 euros, and I'd get to use the same trick again sometime.

Ron Pattinson said...

onewink3, I'm just competitive dad. I can't bear the thought of losing to my kids. Your plan would have been smarter, but conflicts with my basic competitive instincts.