Deutsche Bahn now runs a bus between Antwerp and Düsseldorf (with a stop in Eindhoven on the way). It takes about three hours. Going by train has gotten faster with the high speed Brussels - Köln line but you still have to change trains twice. If you book in advance you can get bus tickets for as low as €15. So we usually take the bus.
It was a bit less than comfortable ride. There was lots of construction and our driver must have been a frustrated Formula One driver as he seem to take all curves at speed. Since the bus was quite tall that made it interesting for the passengers. Sometime after I stop and Eindhoven — near the German border — we pull off the highway and wound thru town to some industrial district. It was the kind of place had it been dark you might be thinking “drug deal” but what we had was a driver exchange. There was a car waiting for us, and our driver got out, gesticulated wildly to the car driver, who got out and got on the bus. The car (with our original driver) lead us back to the highway and then took off. It was all very weird — why not change drivers in Eindhoven were there was a regular stop? In any event, this got us in to Düsseldorf 30 minutes late. It was about 75º F and our hotel turns off the air conditioning on October 1 so the rooms were very hot. Come on Ibis, you can do better than this.
But soon we were on a U-Bahn to the Altstadt and had a nice fresh Uerige Alt to hand.
That one went down very fast, and sure enough as if by magic another full one appeared. Gotta love it. The “Meal of the Day” was goulash so we all ordered a bowl. Unlike the goulash in lots of German restaurants, this one had a nice orange glow that said they weren’t stingy with the paprika. Nice big chunks of meat as well. Yummy.
We were siting in the Brauhaus room (all the tables outside were full) and had a good view of the bar. I though I’d time how long it took to empty a barrel (these are 55L ones). It ended up taking 46 minutes. That is 220 beers, minus a bit for spillage. And this is one of four serving stations open, so they are moving a lot of beer.
For a change of pace we took the U-Bahn out to Wehrhahn to check out a new place somebody told me about, the Brass Bar. They have been open about a year and in what looks like it was a shop a long time ago.
They have 8 beers on tap. The recently had a tap takeover with Brewers Tribute of Berlin so most of the beers were from them. The top one is the house Alt, designed by the owner but brewed in Berlin. The Oude Kriek was from Boon and the one on the bottom is from Tiny Rebel in the UK.
I missed that the top one was the house Alt so I started with the Helles. It has nice, tasty and well made.
After that I switch the the C’Alt. It was softer, less minerally than the Düsseldorf brewed ones but was clearly an alt and very tasty.
If I had one complaint about the place, it was that they didn’t list the breweries or the styles on the board.
I didn’t see a menu so I don’t know the extent of their bottle list, but sitting on one tap bank were a number of familiar faces.
Since the beers I had were both brewed in Berlin, Tom and I decide to share a Schneeeule Marlene. Unfortunately he didn’t have the wonderful Schneeeule glasses but the beer tasted great anyway. If you want to take a break from the Altstadt rush, I can recommend the Brass Bar. It is two tram stops from the Hauptbahnhof or a 500m walk from the Wehrhahn U-Bahn/S-Bahn station. Right now it is closed Monday and opens the other days at 6pm.
Tomorrow we will make the rounds of the Altstadt brewhouses. And if you read this before Oct 14, at 6pm Central European Time (9am in California, Noon on the US East Coast) our small group will stand in front the webcam here