Mrs RM wanted to stay somewhere new and German on her birthday as we headed down to Poland. I briefly entertained the idea of Monchengladbach, but a quick sighter on the Duisburg-Dortmund train last year suggested this may indeed be the Deutschland Middlesbrough. Without micropubs (or parmos).
Osnabruck has the advantage of a budget B&B Hotel, a chain that combines Premier Inn standards with Travelodge automation levels, a winning combination. Unfortunately Mrs RM’s map app wanted us to access the hotel car park via the railway line, which I knew to be an unwise ploy. Always best to start your birthday/holiday with an argument.
The city looked functional on the way in, but the charming pedestrianised centre perked us up immediately. You’ll know what a fan of Christmas I am.
Street after street of gluhwein, bratwurst and other treats, all enjoyed as part of a sensible diet. No black, or white pudding unfortunately. We were armed with a vast print-out of the venerable European Beer Guide, which of course is there to be totally ignored.
We were drawn instead to an unremarkable café with a large billboard advertising “Craftbeer Specials“, and we’re suckers for a gimmick.
Someone will no doubt tell us these are produced by Greene King, or worse, but they tasted “craft” to us, in a Mrs RM world where “craft” is strong and often hoppy. About £4 each too, so craft pricing, and some odd food pairing ideas on the menu (Hot Brownie for the Porter).
The excellent but unheralded christmas market was heaving by 5pm, and the ancient looking but largely fake Marktschanke was as close to a Sam Smith’s Stockport pub as you’ll get. Hundreds of glasses of the very cheap Gilde being drunk, many standing up, in a place smelling reassuringly of cabbage.
The ECBU warns that Diebels Alt still tastes like keg bitter, I would say Whitbread 1990s Hitchin standard. Mrs RM had the dull but clean Gilde.
Osnabruck was heaving on the last Saturday before Christmas Eve, meaning no room in any of the central pubs that night, so bratwurst and aniseed sweets it was. I would have liked to eat at the Gastatte Holling, which is gorgeous. They squeezed us in for a quick Jever and Sion Kolsch (craft ?) accompanied by the Dire Straits soundtrack that is Mrs RM’s life.
That really should have been that, but while one of our party quaffed the gluhwein (2 euros) and two others ate strawberry bon bons, I gave in to the lure of the Augustiner (top). It was truly wonderful, as someone once said about a Canadian.
Not the greatest birthday Mrs RM has ever had (a Youth Hostel in Namur, apparently), but possibly the most Christmassy.