Kölsch is not only the name of the local Cologne dialect – one of the strongest regional accents in all Germany and positively mystifying to foreign visitors – but also of the city’s deliciously refreshing, hoppy, top-fermented beer, traditionally drunk in tall, slim 0.2 litre glasses known as Stangen, though these days there’s a certain amount of glass-size inflation going on to please German and foreign visitors accustomed to drinking their beer in larger measures. Brewery-owned or -affiliated Brauhäuser (or Bierhäuser) represent the traditional core of Cologne’s eating and drinking scene, and there’s a whole range of colourfully named local dishes to accompany the Kölsch, from Kölsche Kaviar (in reality blood sausage) to Halver Hahn – a cheese roll rather than the “half a chicken” the name suggests – and Hämmche, pig’s trotter. The characteristically self-aggrandizing behaviour of the cheeky Köbes or waiters rounds off a highly distinctive, regional beer culture.

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