Germany is a country well known for its beer, so what better what to enjoy a weekend in the nation by spending some time indulging in local beer at brewhouses?
Dan and I spent a weekend in Cologne recently, a city neither of us had travelled to before.
One of the popular features of Cologne, the fourth most populated German city, is the stunning architecture scattered across the Rhine River-split city, so it’s not all just beers and banter!
For our accommodation this trip, we went a little fancier, and instead of staying a hostel, cheap hotel, or AirBnB, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, thanks to some leftover loyalty points Dan had lying around from business trips.
Best part about the room: A king bed. Both of us had the best sleep we’d had in a long time!
A bit of history about Cologne, before we dive into the beer drinking:
Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, with the around 35,268 tonnes dropped on the city during the conflict, but walking around the “Old Town” area, you would never know it.
Striking buildings stand on every block, from the Cologne Cathedral, many Romanesque churches, and the City Hall, for example.
You’ll also find what remains of the 12 city gates – three remain standing: the Eigelsteintorburg at Ebertplatz, the Hahnentor at Rudolfplatz and the Severinstorburg at Chlodwigplatz.
Cologne is certainly a city for those who enjoy historical architecture, that’s for sure!
For Dan and I though, our main port of call was to spend a weekend as the locals do: Sipping beer at one of the many brauhaus’ in Cologne.
The brauhaus experience in Cologne is one for the books, for sure.
Relaxed and cosy, a brauhaus is a place where you can catch up with friends or family for meal, bite of strudel, or a classic beer drinking session.
There are various styles of brauhaus to choose from, from the small to the big, traditional to more touristy.
I’d suggest a bit of a ‘brauhaus crawl’ to find which style you prefer, then once you’ve found the right mix, stick it out there for a few hours.
The wait-staff will never leave you sitting there, drink empty – they’re constantly walking around with a tray full of beer, and will replace your empty glass for a full one whenever you give them the word.
Don’t worry – it may feel like you’re drinking a lot because of the amount of glasses you are going through, but it’s important to remember these are 200ml glasses served here (much smaller than the pint or schooner you are used to back home!).
Germany’s beer halls are more about stamina, and a sense of community, rather than a race to intoxication, as you may find in other bars around the world.
Sit back, relax with some friends, and enjoy some cold beer. Maybe even with a side of pretzel, fried potatoes, or saukraut!
Besides enjoying beer to your hearts content, I’d suggest taking the time to have a good long walk around Cologne, through the Old Town especially and down by the Rhine River.
There are so many beautiful little sights to feast your eyes on – some anticipated and some surprise little gems.
There’s a nice park area by the Rhine parallel to the Cathedral perfect for a picnic or a quiet few beers away from the busy brauhaus’ – don’t fret, public alcohol consumption is allowed in Germany.
Sit back and watch the sun set from this peaceful little spot, beer in hand if you wish!