Monday 20th January 2014
This is the only one of Düsseldorf's remaining traditional breweries that is not located in the Altstadt (Old Town), yet it is not far away. Its location is just north of the Hauptbahnhof (Central station), so is easily accessible. Despite being a Monday night the pub was completely packed out. I settled, as is often the case, close to the oak barrels that the Schumacher Alt (4.6%) is dispensed from.
Should you visit one of these traditional breweries and pubs in this city with only a desire for a few beers, this is the best place, as you are noticed quickly by the Kobes (the dialectical name for the waiters in their blue aprons) although you might have to stand or prop yourself on a stool.
I was in the brewery's Stammhaus which is the restaurant and pub in front of the actual brewery. The story of the Brauerei Schumacher goes right back to 1838 when Johann Matthias Schumacher purchased a brewery, along with its pub at Citadellstrasse 12, known as "Im Sonnenaufgang" (the Sunrise), in the heart of the Altstadt. He was succeeded by son Ferdinand (1) who moved the operation to Oststrasse 123 during 1871.
In 1902 Ferdinand handed over the operation of the brewery to his son Fritz. His other son Ferdinand (II) purchased the Goldener Kessel (Golden Boiler / Kettle) in Bolkerstrasse, thus re-establishing their presence in the Altstadt. In 1919 Ferdinand buys the brewery and the restaurant on Oststrasse from his brother.
The Oststrasse location was so popular that in 1924 the adjacent property at number 125 is purchased and both the restaurant and brewery were expanded. By 1925 this was completed and the beer supply to the Goldener Kessel came from Oststrasse. The existing brewery at the Goldener Kessel was leased to Joseph Schnitzler.
The Goldener Kessel restaurant and brewery was completely destroyed by bombing in September 1942. During another allied air raid in June 1943 the Oststrasse restaurant was wiped out by a direct hit. Yet, surprisingly the brewery behind it only suffered some damage to its roof.
Production was possible from 1945 although it took some time before the pub reopened. The Goldener Kessel was rebuilt and opened in 1948.
In 1955 Ferdinand (II) sold the company to his nephew Hans Schnitzler. The temporary building of the Goldener Kessel was replaced in 1958 by the new building that is with us today. Han Schnitzler died in 1966 and his wife Thea continued running the business. During the period of 1980 to 1990 the brewing equipment was completely replaced with new plant of a greater capacity.
On the death of Thea Schnitzler 1991, her daughter took over the reins of the operation and in turn, her daughter Nina Thea Ungermann became the next boss in 2005. The restaurant was greatly extended in 1997 and the opportunity was taken to build and equip a new kitchen. In 2007 the company acquired another pub on the corner of Kurzestrasse in the Altstadt. It is known as "zum St Sebastian". Worth noting is that this street is already home to Brauerei Kürzer, see separate article.
The pub is now quite large and rambling, and the food offered is really good with a mixture of Rheinland specialities and pan-European dishes. The rooms have wood panelling and there are many old paintings hanging on the walls. The tables are of typical scrubbed wood and the lighting is from electric chandeliers, all giving a feeling of warmth along with comfort.
It is possible to take away 1 litre bottles of Altbier in traditional flip-top bottles (Bügelflaschen) with a deposit on return. For the summer, there is a large biergarten. This is a great pub that shouldn't be missed if you are in the city and I hope to return soon; during the day-time, as I want to take photographs of the lovely interior when it is quieter.
Brauerei Schumacher, Oststrasse 123, Düsseldorf 40210. Tel: 0211 326004.
Open: Monday-Sunday 10.00-24.00. Biergarten: May-Oct 12.00-22.00.
The pub is less than five minutes away from the U-Bahn station of Oststrasse.
This is served by lines: U70, U74, U75, U76, U77, U78 and U79.
It is less than ten minutes from the Hauptbahnhof (Central station).