How to Drink Like a Local in Cologne, Germany

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Drink Like a Local in Cologne, Germany

Wilkommen in Deutschland, home of bratwurst, Oktoberfest, and above all, the greatest beers in the world. This week, we’re looking to Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city and the beer-drinking capital of the world.

Home to more than 10 million people, Cologne is a cultural hub in Germany; the city boasts over 30 museums, hundreds of galleries, and an annual art trade fair. With one of the warmest climates in all of Germany, it’s easy to understand why people flock to this cloudy city-center for weekend getaways and Eurotrip pit stops. But it’s not just the weather attracting people to this medieval mecca.

Cologne is home to one of the most refreshing beer styles in all the world: Kölsch. Native to the city, Kölsch-style beers are pale in color and light to medium in body, with a subtle, pleasurable hoppiness. But the Germans take their beer very seriously, and Kölsch is no exception. As of 1986, per the Kölsch convention, it’s illegal to brew Kölsch outside the city of Cologne. But that’s not the only rule. One must drink Kölsch at about 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, in a tall, thin, 0.2-liter glass. Locally, these glasses are called stange, otherwise known as “poles.” It’s been said that during public outings, locals will bring along a wagon of Kölsch glasses to make sure that friends are amply supplied.

If you’re headed to Cologne and looking for some cool off-the-beaten-path spots to drink Kölsch like a local, here are our top bar picks:

Brauhaus Quetsch – Great spot for sipping local suds with a stunning view of the Rhine. Hauptstraße 7, 50996 

Sixpack – Hipster-style nightclub. There’s no sign, but there are always big crowds outside. Aachener Str. 33, 50674 

Sunner Keller – Great bar, great beer, good food. Kalker Hauptstraße 260-262, 51103 

Em Bierstuffge – Good selection of beer, outdoor seating that’s perfect for people-watching. Don’t miss the schnitzel! Graf-Geßler-Straße 1, 50679 

Fruh Brewery – Local brewery not to miss; beers always taste best when consumed where they’re born! Robert-Bosch-Straße 15, 50769 

ShooterStars – Beer, beer, and beer pong. Need we say more? Kyffhäuserstraße 5, 50674

Grunfeld – Outdoor beer garden, perfect for sipping al fresco. Brüsseler Str. 47, 50674 

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It's time to plan your next trip to Europe and learn about the local drinking traditions of Cologne, Germany.

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