Cologne Brewery Tour | A Guide to Cologne Kolsch (incl. map!)

Planning a trip to Cologne? No tour of Köln (as it’s known in Germany) is complete without a Cologne Brewery Tour. On it you will experience a traditional Köln brauhaus and down a glass of kölsch beer (or beers!) at iconic breweries like Früh am Dom in the old town. Luckily, since we spent 2 years living in the city and undoubtedly drank quite a lot of the golden stuff (you’re welcome!), we have the lowdown on the best Köln brauhaus beer tour. Which as a bonus you can do as a walking tour. What a great way to see the city!

Read next: Top things to do in Bonn! A great day trip from Cologne.

What are the must visit spots on your Cologne Brewery Tour?

These are definitely the top breweries that you must include on your brewery tour when in Cologne!

  • Brauhaus Sion
  • Früh am Dom
  • Malzmühle
  • Gaffel am Dom
  • Peter’s Brauhaus

Do you need a guide for a brewery tour?

Even though you don’t need much German to order a beer and if you follow the map and itinerary we’ve put together it’s a relatively simple tour to do.

However, to get the best expereince on a brewery tour it’s well worth looking into the beer tour that Get your Guide has – it’s a really highly-rated.

About Köln Brauhäuser

There’s more to Cologne than the towering Cologne cathedral and the breweries (Brauhäuser or brew house) are dotted across the compact city centre. Many of the breweries opened their doors to the public in the early 19th century and, while they have evolved into some of the best bars in Cologne, they haven’t lost their traditional charm.

What’s great about them is that they are all located in a 2 kilometre radius, making it easy to visit (and stumble) between them. We often think of going between them as one of the best walking tours of Cologne. But do make sure you make a full day of your tour, as hoping between these brauhaus is not going to be a short affair. Maybe set aside 5 hrs for the duration of the tour…

If you do want to visit more sights, you could always read our One Day in Cologne City Guide. Where we recommend what else to do in the city, some great restaurants to try and a great hotel or two.

About Köbes

The blue-jacketed waiters of the brauhaus are a unique sight in Germany. Dressed in a traditional uniform and usually carrying a full ‘crown’, which is a round tray with many slots for beer glasses, the köbes bring the atmosphere to the room. That said, they can sometimes be a little ‘rude’ – take this as the German directness rather than being impolite!

About Kolsch

Ask any Cologne resident and they’ll tell you very proudly that kölsch beer is the world’s best type of beer. But kölsch beer doesn’t only refer to the golden nectar itself (found only in Cologne) but “kolsch style”, the culture of Cologne, and is tied up in the city. The beer is served in a slightly odd beer glass type, a small yet tall kolsch glass called a “stange” which holds only 200ml of beer. This means the beer is always fresh and drinking it is quick – so watch your speed! Since the beer is specially fermented it contains less sugar and malt than other beer, so it’s quite light to drink.

Kolsch cuisine

Like most German fare, Cologne brewery food is pretty hearty and portions are heavy – so go hungry! Famous dishes include Himmel un Äd (heaven and earth) – a dish of liver sausage with mashed potatoes and apple sauce, Halve Hahn – half a rye bread roll with mature cheese and mustard and our ultimate favourite, Schweinhaxe; essentially a roasted pork knuckle served with mash and sauerkraut.

Your Cologne brewery tour map

Read on for more about each of the Köln brauhaus highlights, or use this map to plan your journey!

Brauhaus Sion

The oldest brauhaus in Cologne, Sion first brewed in 1318. The kolsch brewery was unfortunately completed destroyed in the Second World War but was rebuilt on its original spot. It hosts a lot of fun events so try to check their calendar before you head over!

Location: Unter Taschenmacher 5-7, 50667 Cologne

Opening hours: 11.30am to midnight

Früh am Dom

The most famous of all the brauhaus spots, the Fruh brewery in Cologne near the Cathedral is more than 100 years old. The kolsch beer is not brewed onsite but it’s still delicious! Früh am dom is a huge brewery and offers different rooms for your taste – the main restaurant, the belfry (a newer addition), the conservatory, the sauna (named for its lack of windows) and the “Wappensaal”, our favourite room.

Location: Am Hof ​​12-18, 50667 Cologne

Opening hours: 11.30 am to midnight (weekdays) 9:00 am to midnight (weekends)


Once visited by former US president, Bill Clinton, the Brauerei zur Malzmühle is another established brewery, located in the Heumarkt area. This is a genuine family brewery, run by the fifth generation of local family, Schwartz, and the kolsch beer is brewed on the premises so it has an authentic feel.

Location: Heumarkt 6, 50667 Cologne

Opening hours: 11.30 am to midnight (Mon – Thurs) 11.30 am to 1.30 am (Fri & Sat) and 11.30 am – 11.00 pm (Sun)

Gaffel am Dom

Like its counterparts, Fruh and Sion, Gaffel am Dom is one of the largest names in the Köln brauhaus scene and has also successfully commercialised its kolsch beer, which is found in supermarkets across the country. It’s a lively pub with typical pub food on offer.

Location: Bahnhofsvorpl. 1, 50667 Cologne

Opening hours: 11.00 am to midnight (Sun – Thurs) 11.00 am to 2.00 am (Fri & Sat)

Peter’s Brauhaus

This is our absolute favourite brewery in the entire city of Cologne and definitely one not to be missed. We love Peter’s Brauhaus because of the atmosphere, the varied local menu but mainly because we believe it’s the best kolsch available in the city surrounds!

Tip: The Brewhouse Plate is a good lunch option since it offers two small pork schnitzels with fried bacon potatoes and a side salad. Plenty to line the stomach!!

Peters Brauhaus, Köln

Location: Mühlengasse 1, 50667 Cologne

Opening hours: 11.00 am to midnight (Sun – Thurs) 11.00 am to 12.30 am (Fri & Sat)

A few more breweries that are further afield, but worth the walk:

Interested in finding out what iconic buildings made it onto our Landmarks in Germany list? Spoiler alert, Cologne Cathedral is on the list… Or do you want to find out what are the must-see hidden gems in Germany?

So, what do you think about our guide to a Cologne Brewery Tour? Let us know in the comments below!

What camera equipment and other gear do we use?

We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.

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Cologne Brewery Tour - a must on any trip to Cologne

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