I've quite an extensive pub guide to Regensburg. I'm going to be honest with you here: I haven't visited most of the pubs in it. This is a good time to make put that partially right. Alte Münz is on my way.
I'm surprised at how lightly the tourists are sprinkled on the Stein Brücke*. Generally they seem out of fashion in town. Must all be in Bamberg. I'm not complaining. They untidy up the place and angry up my blood. Travellers like me shouldn't have to put up with annoying bloody tourists. We deserve better.
The terrace is deserted and it's bloody hot. I sit inside. Mmm. More like a restaurant than a pub. In the kitschy Bavarian stryle I'm not sure whether I loathe or hate. Possibly despise. I order a beer to give me something to suck on while I decide precisely which emotion I'm feeling.
I won't try and be clever and pretend that my order is anything other than a Dunkles. It's a Dunkles. A Thurn und Taxis Dunkles. It used to be a local independent brewery, but was gobbled up by Paulaner back in the 1990's. Their beers are now brewed in Munich.
It's a mid brown colour. Looks quite nice, really. Let's give it a sniff. Oh no, there's that metallic tone again. What about the flavour? Er, pretty much none. The blandest beer so far by a mile . Oh well.
I catch the landlord's eye: "Do you have Schlehengeist?
"No, but we do have Zwetschge schnaps."
Leaving, I notice a sign saying "Getränkemarkt". Odd place for one, right in a city centre. I check it out. Could be a good spot to stock up on a few bottles. It's very small. They only have a dozen or so types of beer, stacked up in crates. But they include Welternberger Barock Dunkel and that stuff in flip-top bottles with the nun's face on the neck label. What's it called? I grap a couple of bottles for the train tomorrow. And some impulse schnaps. You can never have too much of that.
I need warming up. No, that was yesterday. I need cooling down again now. Best drink it quickly.
A nice man at the hotel helps me get my internet working. He didn't even need to use a hammer. With the shutters pulled right down it's cool enough, stripped down to my trollies, to do a bit of ticky, tacky, tocking. Those forum twats won't argue with themselves.
Not even the heat will stop me going to Kneitinger, a classic German brewery tap. great pub, pretty good beer, too. And the waitresses wear dirndls. That always earns extra points from me.
The room where I sit is empty, but the waitress attentive. The beers arrive just when beers should. Straight after the last one's ascended to heaven. Or rather dropped into my stomach. You're probably not interested, but I make an offaly meal choice again. It's offaly good.
The Dunkles is cool-tastic, with that indefinable nutty flavour that shows they've used real dark Munich malt. Unless I'm talking out of my arse, which I could be.I've always assumed that's where the specific flavour I associate with Bavarian Dunkles comes from. It's beerily full of goodness. The Kneitinger Dunkles, I mean.
The low evening sun illuminates the city in deep reds and golds as I stroll back to my hotel. In the soft light, the streets are dreamily sensual. Mothers push prams, cyclists skittle by, couples wander and dawdle. I'm in that happy place again. Where time slows and stretches and the words in my head for once stop.
The day doesn't end there. At 20:45 I'm back at Kenitinger. This time in the Schwemme. To watch the European Championship quarter final Portugal vs. the Czech Republic. I have to go out. My room has no TV.
I can't watch a football match without rooting for one of the teams. All sorts of weird prejudices help me decide who to cheer for. Obviously northern teams before southern ones. Last of all London teams. With Arsenal last of the London teams. And The Czech Republic wins out in this particular contest for several reasons. I love the country, the language and the beer. Plus Ronaldo can be really annoying.
The waitress brings a fresh Dunkles and I take a big gulp. Uuggh. That's got lemonade in it. "Missus, missus, excuse me. This has lemonade in it." My waitress exchanges it without question. Hah! Some of the grannies must just be drinking shandy. My beer shared a tray with their drinks. I'm oddly disappointed.
Annoyingly, the Czechs lose. I'm not that upset. Nicely filled up with Dunkles as I am.
The city is even more magical in darkness. I walk back enchanted.
* I've just discovered that it's the oldest stone bridge in Germany. Fascinating, eh?
** I never did get the hang of integration by substitution.
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