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Clinton Tastes Local Brew

June 18, 1999

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) _ Forget about global financial reform. The real news here is beer.

``Clinton landed ... and straight to the Malzmuehle,″ the Express shouted across half its front page, referring to a local beer hall where the president dined Thursday night.

``Before the summit stress: lightning visit by Clinton in Cologne brewery″ the Koelnische Rundschau reported as its lead story.

Clinton shook hands with stunned residents and sampled local specialties at the wood-paneled beer hall: sauerbraten with dumplings and the city’s famous light brew, called Koelsch.

When Clinton walked into the Brauerei zur Malzmuehle, regular patron Dirk Rosenkranz stood up at his usual table, near the door, and was the first to receive a handshake.

``I can’t wash my hand now, for what, two, maybe three months?″ he said to the amusement of his pals, whose coasters were full of marks denoting each beer they’d consumed.

Clinton greeted customers as he walked to his table, stopping to exchange a few words and autograph coasters. The president asked the waiter to recommend a specialty. He was served sauerbraten, a marinated beef dish, with extra dumplings and apple sauce. ``He ate everything except one and a half dumplings,″ waiter Patrick Waale reported.

Patrons reported that Clinton downed just three-quarters of his first skinny glass of Koelsch and left his second glass untouched. Waale said the president switched to cola, saying he didn’t want to get sleepy.

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