We arrived in Köln at what seemed like 5am. In fact it was already 10am and there was so much that needed to be done. I needed to find a place to eat that was authentically German. I don't know if there is a certain way that finds you sitting in a Hausbrauerei (brew house) where you're surrounded by old wooden tables and old men serving you beer without you even asking for it, but I've done it.
The story of the Die Hausbrauerei Päffgen (Help me translate please!)
I'm sitting here in a place that seems to only fit in the 1800s with wooden everything and big men with big guts greeting you with nothing but a scowl and a demi-glass of beer. What more could you ask for! Well, maybe a menu in English. I ask our very large, very German, beer serving gentleman if he could please help me order a most German meal fit for none other than, himself. He quickly jots down illegible numbers on the back of a coaster as well as 2 tick marks for the two beers sitting in front of us. After deciphering the numbers and finishing off the rest of my beer, the gentleman returns, scowl in tow, I say "We'll have the 3/4 meter of Bratwurst and the Beer-marinated pork roast with crackling", he cracks a smile as if I've just made his day, and I can't wait!
Hausbrau Päffgen (the house brew)
Here's something that you need to know about this brew house, or maybe this is the case for all brew houses, if you sit down they will give you a beer. If you finish your beer, they will give you another beer. In fact you're gonna have to work pretty darn hard to NOT get a beer.(partial movie quote) This is great if you can drink more than one beer without falling over. For a light weight like me, it's a bit of a stretch, but I'm in the mood to have some good German food, and of course to feel like a German again (thanks Werner and Helmut)!
The long wooden tables of which I speak
The beer was very nice, light, but very full bodied and easy to drink with fine bubbles. I noticed as the man would walk by with beers in hand that there would be plenty falling over his hand onto the ground. A great archaic sense comes over me as if I'm about to gnaw on a leg of turkey or see a whole pig strewn out on our table.
German Mustard. Great with everything!
Biermarinierter Krustenbraten mit Bratkartoffeln und Krautsalat (Beer-marinated pork with crackling, sauté potatoes, and coleslaw)
This dish was a bit different from what I expected. Different but so good! when i thought of what might come out I envisioned a braised leg of pork with the meat falling off the bones but instead it was more like a couple thick slices of ham that just happens to taste of sweet beer.
The krautsalat was just amazing. Nothing like I've ever tasted before. Slightly sweet and very crispy. The potatoes that accompany the dish were fried in butter and pork fat it seemed and were so rich there was no chance of finishing them.
Frische Bratwurst (3/4 meter) mit Kräutersenf und Röggelchen (Bratwurst with herb mustard)
I can honestly say this was a unique experience. The brat is actually one long 3/4 meter of bratwurst that was very soft and much thinner than what we see in the states, it is served with a herb mustard that is much more sweet than it was spicy. I don't know if it would be possible to stomach all of this behemoth by yourself and especially not if you've just eaten a pound of pork shoulder.
The beer handlers. Ingenious!
I've eaten many many German dishes in my day and none of them can shine a light to this meal. I'm so thrilled that this turn of events got me to Päffgen. I hope to come back to Köln soon so I can experience another great meal!
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