Recently in Cologne, I met with one of my closest friends, Claire. We went to a local Brauhaus (English: Brewery, “Beer-House”), called “Em Kölsche Boor” and had a whale of a time. Loud raucous laughter which accompanies hearty food and ale rang through the 250 years old brewery and we enjoyed the ambiance as much as the food. The weather was balmy and sultry, perfect for a summer evening in Germany and the Brauhaus was filled with happy chattering people. We spent our whole evening there, enjoying local German dishes, glasses of cold Kölsch, and ribald conversation with the traditional Köbes. Needless, to say, we giggled, and behaved sillier as the evening progressed and my friend, who is usually a quiet person talked non-stop. Such is the effect of Kölsch and a Brauhaus and it reminded me of yet another friend, Anirban Saha.
Recently, Anirban stayed with us in Köln (English: Cologne) for a few days and we showed off our fun city to him. He wanted to experience the highlights of Cologne and no trip to this cosmopolitan city is complete without enjoying some glasses of Kölsch. So, on the last evening, we went to a local bar where Anirban had some Kölsch, the brew of Cologne. As expected, Anirban talked a lot that evening and you can blame it on Kölsch or the cheerful vibe of this lively city.
Kölsch is synonymous with Cologne and it is one of the few beers in the world, which has a regional appellation. There are around 24 brewers functional in the Cologne area and a couple of Kölsch in one of the city’s Brauhauses is a must to do experience. There are, however, a couple of etiquettes, one must get acquainted with before going to a Brauhaus to get a Kölsh. First of all, the waiter in a Brauhaus is called a Köbe and they speak in a kind of rough local dialect, which is also known as Kölsch.
A special beer tray, similar to the holders used in tea stalls in India, carries several glasses of Kölsch and this beer is served in skinny stanges. The thin, tall glasses ensure that the beer remains cold enough until consumed and the Köbessen are known for their witty dry humor. Once you are seated in a Brauhaus, a Köbe will instantly serve you with a stange of Kölsch and mention your choice quickly, if you prefer something else. The Köbessen are hard-working busy folks who do not have much time for idle tittle-tattle and on weekends, they are especially very busy serving throngs of boisterous, thirsty crowds.
The ambiance inside a Brauhaus is usually always noisy and boisterous, with guests from different tables intermingling between themselves. Hoots of laughter, sometimes, drunken snippets of hearty German songs come forth with too many glasses of Kölsch and it is at times difficult to hear across the table. That is why you must remember to place the beer coaster on the top of the glass to indicate you don’t want any more beer, otherwise, the Köbe will give you a full one immediately, upon seeing an empty glass. Also, keep in mind that the Köbe write a mark in your beer coaster each time you are served a beer and the total is added up on it.