Thursday 19th February 2015
Despite its title, this pub it is no longer a brewery. However it is a great place to visit as it is very old and has a unique beer that cannot be obtained elsewhere. This was the first day of a weekend visit to Germany and I had arrived in Ulm at 20.15 having travelled from home in East Kent via Ebbsfleet International for a train to Paris. I had time for a few beers there and also to get some bottles for the 15.25 train to Ulm.
After checking into the InterCity Hotel on Ulm station I met fellow imbiber Steve in the lobby and we then caught the number 1 tram. After a very short walk from the stop we were standing outside our objective.
The way into this pub is very interesting. We first went through an arch into a cobbled courtyard. We then walked under building into the biergarten (not open in February!).
I have seen it written that this biergarten is the most beautiful in Ulm, and I can believe it. It is because in a central location within there is a handsome building that wouldn’t be out of place in Italy. It is very old and I’ll come back to it later. Finally, from the cold of the night, we arrived in the pub. We had a quick look around to find a table and settled in to this very comfortable pub.
When Steve first suggested we visit the Drei Kannen I misread the name and thought rather stupidly that it was the Drei Kannonen, the Three Cannons.
However a Kann is a pot or pitcher, sometimes it is used to describe a pot of coffee in the form of Kannchen. Obviously they were used for carrying beer, but the significance of there being three, I don’t know.
The pub was first recorded in 1550 which is the construction date of the Italianate building in the biergarten. The early history after that doesn’t seem to have recorded.
A next important date was 14th October 1831 when the local government granted the pub the right to brew their own beer. A brewery was constructed and began production in 1832.
In 1912 the biergarten was completely rebuilt with new trees being planted and it gained a new popularity. At what time the brewery ceased production is not known but I would guess maybe 30 or 40 years ago.
Golden Ochsen, founded in 1597, is the regional brewery in this area and they brew Drei Kannen Spezial, a special for this pub, supposedly to the original recipe. The other draught beers are all from the same brewery: Pils (5.1%); Kellerbier Dunkel (5.3%), a dark and Hefeweizen Hell (5.5%), a wheat beer.
Looking around inside the pub it was decorated with dark varnished wood up to the ceiling. Fixed wooden benches are arranged around the outside walls. In the centre of the room is an unusual circular table that also is surrounded by fitted bench seats. In the side of the service area is an illuminated case that contains the Drei Kannen, alluded to in the pubs title. In one corner of the room is a green-tiled kachelofen, a traditional wood-burning stove. There is also another room on the first floor.
The menu specialises in the Swabian cuisine that is said to be the best in the land. If visiting this ancient city you should seriously consider coming to this pub for both a unique beer and superb regional cooking. It’s less than ten minutes walk from the cathedral.
Drei Kannen, Hafenbad 31/1, 89073 Ulm. Tel: 0731 67117
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-24.00
As mentioned above this pub is easily reached from the cathedral. From the end where the Tourist Office is located walk along the north side of Münsterplatz and then turn left into Hafenbad.
You will find the pub on the left.
From the railway station take the No 1 tram in the direction of Böfingen. Alight at the second stop, Justizgebäude, walk diagonally across the small garden on the right. You will then find yourself in Hafenbad. One hundred metres on the right, you will find the pub.
Ulm railway station is well-connected by Regional and Regional Express trains.
There are InterCity trains to cities all over the Germany and also Salzburg in Austria.
French Railway’s high speed TGV trains also run direct to Strasbourg and Paris.