‘The Newest 400-Year-Old Tradition’
Built on the notion “if you brew it, they will come,” Hofbräuhaus St. Louis recently became the newest beer establishment in Belleville, Illinois. The company’s German name translated into English means “royal court brewery,” and the Belleville owners certainly enjoy holding court there from long, wooden tables in das Bier Hall.
“Hofbräuhaus was built on the love of beer. What started as a demand for better brew has turned into a 400-year tradition of pure flavor,” says Alex Matthews, vice president of marketing for Hofbräuhaus St. Louis–Belleville’s management company.
Four simple ingredients—barley, yeast, hops and water—were brought from Munich, Germany, in 2003 to initiate the first Hofbräuhaus franchise in the United States; that location was in Newport, Kentucky. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Las Vegas. Hofbräuhaus St. Louis-Belleville is the eighth American franchise. The brewery and restaurant are modeled after the Munich-based Hofbräuhaus, which traces its roots to 1589.
Locals believe Hofbräuhaus and Belleville go together like bier (beer) and brezeln (pretzels), due to the city’s strong German heritage dating to 1848.
“We’re proud to bring these authentic, centuries-old German recipes to the St. Louis area,” Alex says. “We’ll have a smattering of seasonal favorites throughout the year, but we’ll always have three classic Bavarian beers on tap.”
Those classic Bavarian beers served at the establishment are brewed according to the 500-year-old Purity Law of 1516. The law means German beer is made by producers committed to creating it as an all-natural beverage, with no chemicals, preservatives or process enhancers, such as artificial enzymes or yeast nutrients. These producers also don’t mix starch sources, such as rice and corn.
All of the beer served at the Hofbräuhaus is brewed onsite, except for two seasonal beers imported from Munich, Alex notes. The brewmaster is Ben Zollenkopf, who previously worked for the Hofbräuhaus corporate headquarters in Germany as technical director for international brewing.
Examples of classic Hofbräuhaus beers include an original premium lager, Hefeweizen and Dunkel. Seasonal beers or microbrews beers also offered are Oktoberfestbier, Pils, Dunkel Weizen and Märzen.
Join the Oom-pah Party
The Belleville location is the largest Hofbräuhaus in the United States, with room to simultaneously host 1,100 people between the beer hall, private room and outdoor beer garden, according to Hofbräuhaus sources.
As expected, they serve traditional Bavarian cuisine, such as potato pancakes, liver mousse, sausage salad, cheese spreads, pork sausage sandwiches, pot roast, roasted chicken, seared salmon, currywurst Bavarian potato salad, sauerkraut, spätzle, red cabbage, bread dumplings, potato dumplings, applesauce, rye bread and of course, schnitzel. They also offer vegan frankfurters, cheese noodles and vegan schnitzel. Desserts include cheesecake, ice cream, Black Forest cake and imported apple strudel.
Hofbräuhaus’ executive chef, Andrew Jeffery, also creates cyclical dishes, daily soups and other special food features for group packages and seasonal menus, such as the successful Father’s Day brunch in June.
Live entertainment is a large part of the Hofbräuhaus St. Louis experience, from the giant Alphorn to authentic live bands. Guests sometimes can be found dancing in the aisles.
“We turn strangers into friends with the communal dining experience found in traditional taverns and the very first Hofbräuhaus in Munich,” says Alex, who adds that customers come from throughout the Midwest to experience the camaraderie.
The Belleville establishment opened in April, and its team has been busily hosting guests since. This Hofbräuhaus is located off Illinois Route 15 across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
Venture there to personally seek out the beers: “Gebraut nach dem deutschen Reinheitsgebot” or “Gebraut nach dem Bayerischen Reinheitsgebot von 1516,” which translates to “Brewed according to the German Purity Law“ or “The Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.”
Oktobär promises to be a special time at Hofbräuhaus St. Louis. To impress the bar’s team and local residents during a road trip to this new establishment, offer a toast to “Gemütlichkeit,” (pronounced ɡəˈmo͞otlikˌkīt), which is a German word that conveys the feeling of warmth, friendliness, good cheer and a sense of belonging from social acceptance.
123 St. Eugene Drive, Belleville, Illinois, 618.800.2337, HofbrauhausStLouis.com