I’ve been travelling a lot for work in recent weeks, and I’ve noticed one obvious difference between the UK and Germany: British towns don’t advertise their local brewery at the railway station.
The long slow slide into a railway station in Britain does not offer romantic views. You see broken, graffiti’d trains; old sheds with the windows smashed; stacks of sleepers; brambles with knickers and plastic bags tangled up in them; if you’re lucky, you might spot a couple of workmen in orange jackets scratching their behinds and staring at something on the ground; or a big but withered floral display welcoming you half-heartedly to whichever town you’re visiting.
Compare that with the experience of whipping into a German station, where you see: the painted wall of a huge brewery near the station; a billboard for another of the town’s breweries; an even bigger billboard for the town’s biggest brewery; and a lot of smaller signs for the local beers being served in the station cafes. In short, you know before you get off the train what the local brew is. Cologne station has a collosal ad for Dom Kolsch inside the station, hanging over the platforms.
In Britain, you have to spend a few hours in advance Googling, or poring over the Good Beer Guide, or you might never come across a local brew the whole time you’re in town. That can’t be right. Local councils: subsidise an ad for your local brewery on the bleak ride into town. It can only do you good.
Pic is an uninspiring, recycled photo of Cologne cathedral. I’ll try to find a more apposite image tomorrow..
Pic is now slightly more relevant — they’re very proud of the local beers in Rothenburg. This charming picture of a group of oddballs with wispy moustaches and traditional costume enjoying Landwehr Brau is on the main road into town from the station.