Euro beer trip day 4 – Wuppertal / Koeln

9 Sep
Most of today was spent travelling from Prague, changing at Dresden, Lepzig and Hannover. After a quick look round Wuppertal, we headed for Köln. Köln’s main export (as far as beer is concerned!) is Kölsch.

Kölsch is a pale golden lager type beer with a bit of hoppiness and it’s all pretty much the same. I’m sure seasoned drinkers will be able to tell the difference between them and have their favourites, but they were all pretty similar to me. Generally, the beer is served in 200ml glasses known as ‘stange’ by be-apronned (is that a word?) Köbes. Depending on where you drink and how much of a local / how gullible you are, the Köbe will bring you another glass as soon as the one you’re drinking is empty.

Anyway – we did call at various bars serving Kölsch, namely

Brauhaus Sion
(Sion Kölsch)
Peters Brauhaus (Peter’s Kölsch)
Alter Markt Treff (Gilden Kölsch)
Kalisse (Suenner Kölsch)

Euro beer trip day 2 – Praha

After arriving in Praha, having a quick shower in the hotel, I was soon out with Jerry exploring the sites of Praha. Not the usual touristy sites (apart from a quick visit to Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí).

First port of call was

Ferdinanda

Opletavova 1597/24, Praha
Mon-Sat 11-23
222 244 302

Pleasant cellar bar with strange decoration. All the bit and bobs around the bar are made from old tools – the coat hooks are the heads from rakes, ash trays are trowels etc… Ferdinand beers available, including the excellent Sedm Kuli.

Lunch was at

Havelská Koruna

Havelská 501/23, Praha 1
Mon-Sat 09-18
224 239 310

The beer’s not particularly great – just Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell, but the food is traditional Czech. When you enter, you are issued with a piece of paper. Don’t lose or or you’re fined something daft like the equivalent of £15. Next, queue up in the snake like queue, decide what you want and order. It’s slapped on your plate and the bit of paper scribbled on to show what you’ve ordered. Choose a beer and then find a table. Some of the staff do speak a little English, but if you learn to say “vepřové, knedlíky a zelí ” you’ll get the good old staple of pork, dumplings and sauerkraut.

On the way out, hand the stern lady behind the till your paper and she’ll work out your bill.

U dvou koček

Uhelný trh 415/10, Praha 1
Daily 11-23
224 229 982

I’ve walked past this place countless times – on this visit to Praha we went in as it now brews its own beers. They supposedly brew svetle, polotmavy and tmavy, although they only had the svetle when we were there, saying that the beer was too popular for them to keep up with demand!

As we were in the area, it would seem a shame not to visit

Potrefená husa, Anděl

Nádražní 23, Praha 5
Sun-Wed 1130-01, Thu-Sat 1130-02
257 941 669

Part of Staropramen’s ever growing chain of restaurant pubs, this branch is in the brewery buildings! Allegedly the only place to get the unfiltered (nefiltrovaný) Staropraman – I can’t dispute this as I’ve not seen it elsewhere! But on this occasion I decided to try the new Staropramen 11. The restaurant is actually really nice – I’ve eaten there before and the food is good and the decor is quite modern. The only downside is that they allow smoking, but that’s still pretty much par for the course anywhere in the Czech Republic.

Next port of call –

u klokočníka

Na Veselí 702/48 , Praha 4
Daily 10-22
261 224 717

A proper Czech boozer! Basic interior, plastic topped tables and a thick smoky fog that makes your eyes smart before you’ve even sat down! They served four beers from the Kacov brewery – Hubertus 10 and 12, both available in ‘normal’ and unfiltered varieties.

Zlý Časy

Čestmírova 5, Praha 4
Mon-Thu 11-2330, Fri 11-01, Sat 17-01, Sun 17-23

One of Prague’s best ‘ticker’ pubs with a selection of 12 beers on draught (including a Brew Dog beer while we were there!) but was just a touch on the busy side leaving us to squeeze in to tables with other folk. It soon thinned out, affording us a stool at the bar. A must visit.

Euro beer trip day 1 – Getting to Praha

I’d started my journey from Doncaster on Monday afternoon after grabbing a few hours nap as I’d just finished a stretch of night shifts. No time for beer in London as there’d been problems on the trains. In fact I’d only get 14 minutes from my train arriving at Kings Cross to the Eurostar leaving St Pancras. Easy!

There was time for a quick beer at Bruxelles Midi before joining the Thalys service to Köln. In no time at all I was in the land of German beer. Unfortunately, there was some kind of concert type thing going on around the cathedral so after having a Kölsch beer (see more about Kölsch here) in Früh am Dom and decided there wasn’t time to eat there, I headed back towards the station to try my luck in Gaffel am Dom. After pondering over the menu with one of the small 200ml glasses of Gaffel Kölsch, the waiter, sorry Stange advised me that I could get the half metre long sausage with potatoes and whatever within 10 minutes. This would give me ample time for eat it and get to the station to get the overnight train to Praha.

Time ticked by and still the food didn’t arrive. Two more beers later, it still hadn’t arrived and the place started to fill up very quickly as the concert by the Cathedral had finished. With not much time to spare, I left a €5 note to cover the bill (€4,80) and legged it! The people who by then were sharing my table will have had a bit of a shock when my grub finally arrived!

Anyhow, a currywürst mit pommes quickly became my tea, scoffed down before joining the overnight train to Praha.