I had to make my last long trek (7+ hours)from Nuremberg via Flixbus to Cologne where I spent 3 nights exploring the city and drinking some good craft beer with a new friend I had met through Instagram.
The ride from Nuremberg to Cologne was the first trip that I had to sit next to someone the whole time because the bus was completely full of people. It was one of the more uncomfortable experiences I've had on this whole trip but I made it. I got to the bus station in Cologne around 6-7pm and from there I had to walk about 1.5 miles to get to the "hotel" I was staying at. I put "hotel" in quotes because it was the farthest thing from a hotel I've seen yet. It was called M-M King Hotel and it wasn't even close to a motel.
The receptionist was not very helpful, the room was unlocked when he showed me to my room, with 2 other solo beds in there and a small bathroom as well. Our room didn't even have a door on it! I felt so un-secure. They gave us one small locker, like a high-school sized locker, that would only fit my laptop, camera, and small backpack. I had to leave my main pack out for everyone to see. I hate doing that but it's the only thing to do in certain hostels.
That first night in Cologne I didn't do too much. I went to the supermarket around the corner, bought some beers and a little sandwich as some form of food and drink before I started watching a movie and called it a night around 10:30pm because the hostel didn't have a communal area open past 10pm (and no receptionist past that time too).
I woke up the next morning around 8am, busted out my laptop and went straight to work! I wrote the previous two blog posts, Nuremberg and Wurzberg. It took me roughly 5 hours to finish writing both of them, choosing my photos, editing the photos, and putting the pictures in my post. As soon as I had finished sending out emails and marketing my posts just a little bit, I changed in to some jeans and started walking towards the city center which was about 1.5-2 miles away from where I was staying.
I was staying in what felt like more of the run down, ghetto, turkish, area of town. I had to walk over an awesome bridge that was right next to a circus that had been going on near the edge of the water closer to the side of the city I was staying at.
I was recommended 4 different Kolsch bars in Cologne by my friend Linel that I would be meeting up with the following day.
The first one I went to was called "Brauerei Zur Malzmuhle" which was 300 ft away from the bridge I had just crossed over. I didn't quite know how the whole Kolsch scene works here so I just sat down and luckily the server, who was a badass buff guy with a lot of tattoos, spoke English and explained to me how it works. It's a fairly simple concept, they keep the 0.2l Kolsch tall skinny glasses coming and mark the amount you have had on your coaster with tally marks.
When you're finished you put your coaster over your drink to signify that you're done. I had three of their Kolsch's, which were 1.8 euro each, had a good, clear and pilsner-esq color tasted a little tart. It wasn't my favorite. I like my Kolsch's to be a little less dry and a little more full bodied and malty, this, and all of the others I tried, wasn't.
The second stop I went to, around 4pm, was called "Pfaffen" and it was packed!
It was a sunny Friday out in Cologne (which apparently doesn't have the nicest of weather) and everyone was out to drink.
There were outside tables everywhere and not one seat was found outside, so I had to go inside, where there was nobod. I sit down and order a Kolsch which I preferred over the first breweries. It had more mouthfeel, less tartness, but still very yeasty tasting. I ordered two more, paid my 5.7 euro and left to go to the next stop.
The next stop, called "Fruh", was right next to the awesome cathedral that was very tall that I had seen as I was crossing the bridge.
I thankfully found a seat outside so I sat down and the waiter came right up and gave me a Kolsch, just how I like it. This brewery was actually my favorite! The beer was the same golden crisp, clear, color along with all of the other Kolsch's but tasted less yeasty, mildy crisp and very clean. This is the kind of beer you can pound all day. During my second beer I also ordered some hearty Goulash soup that came with a bread roll and was fire! I finished that in about, what seemed like, 3 bites. While I was eating, I turn my head due to the sound of a lot of glasses being broke. There was an African guy walking by looking mysterious, he totally flipped all those glasses over! He flipped over the table top holding all the glasses, causing them to all shatter in front of everyone. The waiter caught him about 20ft later and grabbed his arm and got mad with him but the dude shrugged him off like a punk and just walked away.... Some people I swear... I finished my 3 Kolsch's and hit the short road to the next brewery.
I left Fruh around 5pm to go to my last Kolsch bar which was called "Gaffel".
This brewery was the largest on the Inside that I had seen but no place for outdoor seating. I find a seat right next to the entrance and the waiter starts bringing them on over after about 5 minutes of just sitting there looking like a lost dog all by myself. That's the problem with traveling by yourself, you look like, and feel like, a loner a lot of the time haha. That's ok though because we're all savages! The beer at Gaffel was my second favorite of the four Kolsch's I tried, lightest in color, mildly yeasty, clean and not too crisp. I had my three Kolsch's and hit the road.
12 Kolsch's later and I'm finally feeling sorta tipsy. Gaffel was right next to the main train station as well as the huge cathedral so I stopped inside to take a look...
Just like all the other churches I've seen along this trip. Nothing spectacular there.
I was super hungry at this point, maybe a little drunchies, so I FINALLY stop to get a kebab sandwich, something I had been craving for the last 3 weeks and haven't had one! I payed the 5 euro for the sandwich and went on my merry way. I sat on the base of a nice looking statue at the bottom of the bridge I crossed earlier and ate my sandwich. It was pretty glorious if I do say so myself.
I had my fair share of exploration for the day so I decided to head back home to watch a movie, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, after making the 2 mile trek back home. I pass out around midnight after playing around on my computer and phone for a couple hours.
The next morning I wake up around 9am and was feeling super motivated about starting this brewery of mine so I did a few hours of research before going to explore the city a little bit more and meet up with my homebrewer friend, Linel, I met through Instagram.
Through my research I got a decent understanding of how much each piece of equipment is going to cost.
For a 15bbl brand new brewer system it will cost upwards of 300k, and fermenters/brite tanks about 15k each. If i wanted to find a decent facility to brew AND have the taproom in a touristic part of Seville it would be upwards of 500k. It might be a better idea to buy two locations, one being a warehouse for production, and the other being a tapoom/restaurant somewhere near the main tourstic part of town for upwards of 400k. Taxes/Legal forms would cost, at most, 100k. Renovations could cost upwards of 150k most likely too. 1.5 mil would be a pretty good guess for financial safety of something of this caliber. I also made connections with the owner of a craft brewery in Seville who said he would answer any questions I have for me. Those exactly the sort of connections you need in life!
After I did all my research it was around 1pm. I had to make the 2 mile trek in to the city now, but this time I was actually going past the part where I got off to drink Kolsch's the day before.
I walked an extra 1.5 miles past the bridge to go to this giant park where EVERYONE was out with their friends, smoking weed, drinking beer, playing music, BBQing, and overlooking a big man made body of water. It reminded me of Dolores Park in San Francisco. I went there to relax from the long walk for about an hour and a half.
One my way back in to the city I walked a different way I came in and I swear...
I have never seen so many people in one city in my life. It was more then San Francisco and anywhere else I'd ever been too. I was looking for a Kolsch bar to drink some beer at before meeting my friend for craft beers but there was literally not even one open seat ANYWHERE on the whole walk back to the river, where the bridge was.
I end up getting another kebab sandwich from the same place the day prior because I liked it and it tasted good. I walk down to the river to eat my kebab and just sit there for 15 minutes before it was time to go meet my friend at 5pm.
I arrive there at 5pm, order a 4.8%IPA with Guava from 4 Islands Brewery. I ended up meeting the owner of this contract brewer company as they were doing a "tap takeover" at the craft beer bar called the "Craft Beer Corner". It was ok! It needed a little more backbone if you asked me, too light. After I pounded that beer, because I was parched from the salty sandwich, the sun, and all the walking, my friend Linel and his wife Renada showed up. We start talking as he ordered a little flight and I ordered the dunkel bock (Bock and Doppelbock's are my favorite styles of beer).
Soon after, a homebrewer friend of his in his homebrew club showed up, then another, then another, and yet another! We all sat around the table talking about beer and drinking beer. I ended up have 2 more of those bocks, one of the double dry hopped hefeweizen, and finished with a very good session IPA that wasn't too dry and bitter like a lot of session IPA's can be.
By this time it was about 8:30pm and we were hungry so Linel, Renada, and I walk a little bit down to the road to eat some pizza after saying goodbye to all our little craft beer drinking minions!
We had to wait 15 minutes for a seat so we go to the bar and all order a helles, which was so poundable! More full bodied, sweeter, not yeasty and dry like Kolsch's, right up my alley! Renada also orders me a spritzer type drink too. We finally get a table and we all order our own pizza. This was a big-medium sized pizza and we finished it all! I was so full at the end of that, not to mention the 2 more 0.5l helle's and the spritzer I had too. They were the nicest couple and they ended up paying for my meal and drinks too! So nice of them! We say our goodbyes and I have to make my final 2 mile trek back to my hostel. I get back around 11:30pm and pass out as I had to be up at 7am the next day to catch a bus to Amsterdam early in the morning.
That morning was a bitch, but I made it!
I had to walk 1.5miles to the train station, figure out which way the train I need to go on goes, buy my ticket, get off, find my Flixbus to Dortumund, take the bus for 1.5 hours. Got off on that bus station in Dortmund and had to wait there for 45 min until my next Flixbus arrived to take me to Amsterdam. At least on the final bus there was only about 6 people total on the bus and was a straight shot there!
Thank you all for reading my beer drinking adventures out in Cologne, Germany! Stay tuned for my next post as I explore Amsterdam's craft beer scene, along with all the other crazy shit Amsterdam has to offer!