Yesterday we went to Cologne for the day. The main purpose was looking at the Christmas market. That and buying German-style food. Dolores is always keen on stocking up the freezer with German things. She is, after all, a German thing herself.
Even when on such a non beer-oriented trip with the family, I always take my notebook along. With the state of my memory, I need notes if I'm to remember the details. My trusty purple notebook was in my bag. But that's where it stayed.
I've drunk in the beer garden of Peters Brauhaus on Alter Markt a couple of times. I'd never been inside. We tried to eat there last time we were in town, but it was closed for a private party. This time we jammily got a table, even though it was mobbed. Bloody christmas market.
I seem to remember hearing that Peters brewery had closed and the Kölsch was now brewed elsewhere. Gravity-served but pretty bland. Inoffensive. The food was good. The kids ate for less than 4 euros (that I can remember) . How civilised Germany is.
No Päffgen, unfortunately. Bierhaus en d'r Salzgass was too full. But there was a spare table to stand at outside Zum Pfaffen. "Stop whinging. You'll have plenty of chance to sit down on the train." I didn't say that. Dolores did. She beat me to it. Even though my feet and ankles were aching like hell. (It's my war wounds. I haven't told you about my time in the South American jungle, haveI?) The Pfaffen Bier was really quite nice. More character than you get from Kölsch nowadays. Hoppy and bitter (there will be no details today, remember). Good enough for me to stop worrying about the onset of arthritis. A shame I had only time for four before the kids started losing their toes.
More luck in Früh, where we found space in the no smoking room. Again, meals for the kids under four euros. The beer was disappointing. I didn't see how it was served, but fizzing in the glass isn't what I associate with gravity dispense. Slightly worse than Peters. No fag smoke was a big enough plus to offset that.
I had bockwurst for my tea from a busy stand underneath the train platforms. Why doesn't Amsterdam have proper sausage sellers? They seem obligatory in German station concourses. In Austria they're commoner than British chip shops. The same is true in the Czech Republic. Holland has frikandel, grey meat tubes of uncertain provenance. Yummy. They make bitterballen look like haute cuisine.
As vague as my memory. Note the virtual total lack not just of details but of any substance at all after the point where I'd had my 20th glass of Kölsch. Tomorrow my memory will have faded more and yesterday will truly become"a day without details".
Mechanics Arms, Dudley Street - Mechanics Arms, Dudley Street, Cheetham. (c) Tim Martin with kind permission. The Mechanics Arms was a Boddingtons estate pub situated on Dudley Stre...
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