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Viva Colonia!

Since we aren’t taking a big vacation this year, Janet and I decided to take off all of the Fridays this month and take some long weekends in different parts of Germany. This weekend, we headed to Cologne in search of supposedly amazing sushi, Kölsch beer and the Bierbörse, a festival that showcases beers from around Germany and Europe.

Best Sushi Ever?

Kintaro Ok – probably not the best sushi ever – but Kintaro was pretty amazing. Our number one in Europe, and definitely in the top 5 sushi experiences of my life. Kintaro is a small restaurant – with sushi bar seating, a small tatami area and normal western seating. At 9pm on a Friday, Kintaro was packed, and aside from maybe 4 other people in the place, they were all Japanese. The bar has three service areas – a sushi area, a tempura area and a yakitori grill area. One chef only focuses on the sushi (and will do custom orders), the other works the tempura and grill.

Moments of absolute perfection: Shi-sha-mo (smelts right from the grill), edamame (steamed soybeans with salt), ika-natto temaki (squid and fermented soybean handroll), and the toro. Oh, and the sake, served in cedar masu (square cups). And the tai. And the maguro. And everything else. I could go on and on. If there was no other reason to visit Cologne, Kintaro would be enough.

Kintaro. Friesenstr. 16, Cologne.

But there are lots of other reasons to go to Cologne, and if going there just for a meal seems excessive, you haven’t had a fresh Päffgen Kölsch.

PäffgenKölsch beer is a pale golden beer, hoppy and always served in small glasses (0.2 liters typically). You get there, sit down and they keep bringing you fresh Kölsches until you ask them to stop. Having 5 or more over the course of an evening might sound excessive, but considering that it’s the same as having 1 or 2 liters at a beergarden – and with the small glass, it’s always fresh. There are 24 breweries that can call their beers “Kölsch”, and if you just have one at each brewhouse, you can easily do it in a weekend – but who can just have one?

Päffgen is one of the most traditional Kölsch breweries, only kegging their beer in wood, only serving it at a few locations and never bottling or canning their product… and the Brauhaus at Friesenstraße 64 – 66 is the perfect place to spend a few hours getting familiar with their magic elixir.

Heading back from Friday night sushi at Kintaro, we ended up at Jamesons Distillery, a bar owned by the Jameson Distillery at Friesenstr. 30-40 for a nightcap.

Saturday, we met up with a small group of people for a night at the Bierbörse, a beer festival downtown. Though we don’t have any pictures from that night, we do have some we took this afternoon before heading back to Munich…

A Köbes filling a set of Kölsch glasses at the Päffgen booth.

Mühlen Kölsch

The crowd at the Börse…

A grill full of sausages for the hungry crowd…

Posted in Pictures, Travel.

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