Monday, 27 July 2009


I knew writing all those pubs guides for German towns would come in handy one day. Saturday I got to use the Osnabrück guide.

The attempts by NS to relieve congestion at Amsterdam Centraal have turned out very well for us. There are now trains to Germany from Amsterdam Zuid, a station just 10 minutes away by bus. One of the destinations is Osnabrück.

It's a town I've been through literally dozens of times. I've even changed trains there once or twice. Saturday was the first time I'd made it beyond the station. My plan was simple: food, beer. As we arrived at noon, we headed straight for lunch.

Teenage traits are becoming apparent in Andrew, even though he doesn't turn 13 until next month. He was moaning about the walk even before we'd left the station forecourt. It didn't take more than 15 minutes to reach Gaststätte Holling, but to hear him complain you'd have thought we were part of the Grande Armée retreating from Moscow.

There are many reasons I love Germany. The service kids get in pubs is one of them. Not beer, you dummy. Food. They have special kids meals at stupidly cheap prices. Or they'll put together something that isn't on the menu. That's what happened at Holling. Schnitzel and chips for just 7.50 euros. (On the beer front, I had a Kusovice Dark - 10º, I think - and an Osnabrücker Pils. I'm sure you wanted to know that.)

Andrew spent most of the meal whinging. Lexie spoke non-stop about Michael Jackson. "I met him a couple of times.", I tell Lexie. "Really? Michael Jackson the King of Pop?" "Dad means the beer bloke not Mr. Plastic Surgery." Andrew chipped in. "He was the King of Pop, honestly, Lexie." I neglect to mention I'm using the word "pop" in a slang sense.

We had a bit of a postprandial stroll through the market (very nice). And looked at the Rathaus. Then I let the family go off shopping while I did some research. OK, while I went boozing. Research, boozing. Same thing for me.

My Osnabrück guide is pretty thin. So any new pubs I could find would be a bonus. Marktschänke looked promising when we walked past. I went back to check in out. If I had to describe the interior in two words it would be rustic kitsch. There's a tiled roof over the bar. That should tell you enough. It must have looked shit when new, but the time has mellowed it. The fake beams now look pleasantly distressed.

Marktschänke has four draught beers. Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier, Diebels Alt, Staropramen Dark and Gilde Ratskeller Pils. I gave the Diebels a try. Yup, still doing a good impression of keg Bitter. There was footie on the telly. Braunschweing vs Osnabrück. It was the middle of July. There shouldn't be any footie for ages. Two or three weeks, at least.

Next stop was Hausbrauerei Rampendahl, the city's only brewery. I don't get overly excited about German brewpubs. Very few have impressed me with their beer. Inside, it's a bit soulless. Looks like a chain restaurant. The brewery is cool, though, nestling between the front and back rooms. It's like a miniature Bavarian brewery. They even have a grand. (What is the English word for grand?)

The Dunkles wasn't anything special. Then I noticed they distilled. My korn came with a slice of salami on top of it. Never seen that before. It was much better than the beer. The korn, not the salami. Though the salami wasn't bad, either.

I shouldn't have sat next to Andrew on the train back. He looked at me funny when I opened the first Köstritzer. After I reached for the second he said "Dad, don't drink any more beer." It was like a scene from one of those temperance posters. "No more, dad." I hadn't even got my hand in the bag this time. I ignored him and drank the third bottle anyway. I ask you, on a 3 hour train journey, is drinking three beers so unreasonable?

Markt 20,
49074 Osnabrück.
Tel: +49 541 22387

Hausbrauerei Rampendahl
Hasestrasse 35,
49074 Osnabrück.
Tel: 0541 - 24535

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