As last Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour hinted at (click here), Cologne -like its beer, Kölsch, like its history- is very complex. Walking the city increases this impression. WWII literally firebombed the city into a burnt pancake. Buildings look painfully dull, grey, modern.
Yet near our stay, the most magnificent Mosque mothership from Mars greats us.
Deeper, a Nazi nod to Cologne’s Roman colonial days points us to the only standing survivor of WWII, Cologne Cathedral:
The Cathedral looks vast and blank inside, so we go underground. The antiquities museum sends us deeper and deeper into Cologne’s colonial past. Grave markers loom stories high, reconstructed dining halls look straight out of Pompeii, and this mosaic makes your IKEA rug look like a piece of…:
Overwhelmed, I recline awaiting a drink:
Grape and wine-themed lamps, bottles, and frescoes are everywhere. After a sea of fine glasswares and tombstones with wholly un-Roman gods, we pop outside and pop back beneath the cement and into the sewer.
Luckily, this sewer just houses tourists. Connected is the massive Praetorium or Governor’s palace, ironically discovered beneath the new town hall construction during 1953. This cut glass cage cup was wicked cool as well.
With drinks on the mind, we could use one. Another Kölsch please.
Unlike last Monday’s Kolsch from Pfaffen, Malzmühle (malt mill…clever) creates a similar yet different beer. APPEARANCE: looks a clear, lighter gold, with microscopic fizz, and a thin white head. AROMAS: smell bight and bountiful with intense honey and lemon. PALATE: feels dry, tart, gripping, mild in alcohol (4.8%), and medium bodied and carbonic. FLAVORS: taste medium plus and punchy, with pure, fresh flavors of honey, bright hoppy grass, and a slight white malt core that carries on a medium plus length.
Malzmühle is Pfaffen’s younger, sharper, more witty sibling. Served with a Teutonic shrug and a nod, it is very good (4 of 5).
With the sun setting on Cologne’s Cathedral, we say goodbye to Germany.
Wait! This is a wine blog. Ain’t no way in high heaven can we end on beer.
The Romans may have made wine this far North. German’s have since, however, tended to warmer pastures South of here. To the Pfalz!
A. Christmann, AC, Riesling Trocken, Pfalz, Germany, Bio. €13.99
APPEARANCE: a pale, waifish, lemon gold color. AROMAS: pounce with developed, high octane punches of kiwi, peach, smoke, and slate. PALATE: feels only slightly forgivingly off dry, but with high, cracking acidity, mild 11.5% alcohol, an unexpectedly medium plus body. FLAVORS: interrupt all thought with smoking beeswax candles, fuzzy peach, lime, and slate flavors that last an immense length.
This is viscous and fullsome, if a bit loud. A. Christmann has made a very, very good nearly outstanding Riesling (4 of 5). It can age but drink it now.
That feels better.
Thank you Germany. Next Monday, New Year’s Day in Holland!
Oh…and if you were wondering, yes, Cologne did originate from Cologne.