Brauhaus FRÜH am Dom, Cologne

Location: Am Hof 12-18, 50667 Köln, Germany

Venue Type: Beer Hall / Schänke

Year of Inscription:2018

EBG Rating:
Quality of Drinks
Value For Money
Fruh is Cologne’s quintessential Kolsch Brauhaus, and it’s unlikely any beer drinker’s visit to Cologne will be without paying a visit here. The venue is vast set among three floors, and containing backrooms that will make you feel like you’re in down in a cellar even when you’re reclining thirty feet in the air.

Service in a Kolsch Brauhaus starts by taking a table, and barely after sitting down a gruff Kobe will have greeted you to check whether you want anything else except a conveyor belt of Kolsch. Give a quick nod or indication it’s beer you’re after, and you’re pretty much all set until it’s time to settle up.

The Kobes who serve the Kolsch are renowned for being notoriously stuff which is amusing given they probably have the most contact with the general public of any bar/restaurant staff. The reason for this is that the Kolsch is served in 0.2l, partly for the purpose of never having to drink the ‘dregs’ from a glass. The beer is always delivered lightning quick in the hope that your speed of drinking will be likewise.

As a result, the venue demands dozens of Kobes on their feet all day rushing around with circular pods rather than trays, each with space for 20 or so glasses of Fruh. If you’re anywhere near the end of your glass a replacement will be on its way before you can even stop them – indeed the only way to do so is to pop the beer mat on your glass, whereby they will tot up the pencil marks they’ve been inscribing on there and charge you accordingly.

The serving measure is one way of making quite a lot of money, and to be honest it’s pretty easy to drop 15 euro in here on drinks without even paying much attention. The beer is a crystal clear ale (not strictly speaking a lager) with a well balanced pils-like balance between sweetish flavour and bitter refreshing aftertaste. It’s sometimes easy to overlook Kolsch which on a good day stands up to anything.

Fruh is the face of Kolsch worldwide and you may have drank some of their pasteurised stuff from bottles, which are generally quite poor representations of drinking Kolsch in Cologne which always seems to have a cleaner, less acrid taste than the pasteurising and bottling process seems to end up producing.

The space inside Fruh is designed to allow for dining, and to be honest this can detract from values I am hoping to judge, namely the pub-going quality. Some areas do not feel overly communal and much more restaurant-like. Another downside is they will kick you out on some days what seems rather early, and the service towards the end of the evening couldn’t be clearer that they want you to go home.

That said, the place is ideal for big groups, and does indeed have plenty of rooms for en masse socialising in true German fashion, and the offering of food still remains a net positive.

We all know you’re going to end up in this pub in Cologne so this is enough talk from us about it – get on with it!