I know a long tale about this pub and that one can be less than exciting, so I will just give a quick whizz round our three day long visit. My research for this trip largely consisted on printing off Ron Pattinson's guide and doing the same with Gazza Prescott's more narrative piece. Thanks Boys! I have to say I found Hannover to have at first inspection at least, rather an oddly obscure transport system compared to most German cities. The Hauptbanhof seemed determined to keep the whereabouts of the U-Bahn station a secret, but after traipsing round it a few times and following signs which lead nowhere, we found it only by asking at the information desk. Should you go there it is at the very furthest point from the main entrance and deeply underground. Well some of it is - the remainder is a street tram system which is also designated U-Bahn and is firmly in fresh air!
Our first stop was the Herrenhauser Brewery Tap. The brewery itself is quite modern. the brewery tap is most certainly not. Determinedly old fashioned (picture left) with just a pils on draught, it was an interesting place with settles, lino and scrubbed deal tables. There were photos of old Hannover on the wall, including one marked "Adolf Hitler Platz". You could shoot a cold war film in here quite happily without getting extra props in. The beer was decent, though I didn't find it as good as Gazza did.
Hannover was badly bombed during the war as it was a centre for oil refining and chemical industries, so much of it was rebuilt functionally rather than with a view to aesthetics, though there is a reconstructed Alt Stadt which houses many decent pubs. Unlike Hamburg which seemed to have a dearth of pubs, we found Hannover to have one on every corner, usually filled with cheerful and chatty types. It is somewhat dominated by the InBev owned Gilde which brews a tasteless industrial lager, but good beer can still be had if you just follow the simple rule of ignoring Gilde signs. Thus we enjoyed very good, bitter and clean pils from Haerke and from Einbecker, the latter being a favourite, with its full malty body and uncompromising bitterness. The other noticeable thing about Hannover is the sheer amount of Bavarian beer available. There were outlets for Lowenbrau and Paulaner and of course Franzikaner Wiessbier in every Gilde pub. Now I have to say I'm keen on Paulaner beer and at least there the anti smoking laws were firmly enforced, which wasn't the case everywhere. The city's only brewpub, Ernst August didn't live up to the write ups I'd seen elsewhere. The only beer, a pils either filtered or unfiltered was so-so. The menu mentioned a Saison" beer, but my request for this was met with disbelief from the young waitress. She could have looked more surprised at my request if she'd tried. A single "nein" lead us to assume it didn't exist. Yet another expensively kitted out German brewpub that just wastes opportunity.
We also spent some time in some of the street corner boozers near our hotel which ranged from bizarre to sinister. Characters abounded. Late at night we were the only customers in one bar other than an invisible geezer behind a pillar whose "moll" could be seen, chainsmoking, but he was hidden. I knew enough German to know he was asking the barman what we were doing there and when the barman replied we were OK and then gave us a free drink, we knew it was time to leave. In another, the elderly barmaid shrieked at her customers in Greek, while a permanently baffled old guy walked round, beaming, shaking hands with everyone and saying "Alles Klar". Us two, full of beer and korn schnapps, played the juke box and then joined in the singing which this prompted! In another bar we were entertained by a guy who had Adolf Hitler speaking at a rally as the ringtone on his phone. When I asked if it was not illegal, he gave a Nazi salute and said "no, but this is!" to hoots of laughter from his mates. This, in my experience, is unusual.
So I liked Hannover a lot. It was friendly, fun, full of good pubs and good characters and the kebabs were up to snuff. We left it with considerable reluctance.
Note I have used the German spelling of "Hannover", rather than the English "Hanover".
Heartland heritage – Part 2 - This is the second half of my account of our Digbeth heritage pub crawl on Wednesday 11 July – see here for the first one. The AnchorHaving eaten our lunc...
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