Have you ever been to a restaurant that was 400 years old? Can you even name a restaurant that is 400 years old? Are there even any restaurants in the world that old? Technically there is at least one. That I know of anyway. Now it may have gone through some changes and renovations and rebuilding once or twice, but it still counts. That restaurant is Hofbräuhaus.
Yes, the world-famous beer hall/brewery/restaurant in Munich, Germany. It has been around since 1589. Now it started off as the Royal Court Brewery (hence the name), and slowly over time transformed from the royal brewery to a royal brewery/beer hall to a public brewery/beer hall to all that including food to the brewery moving to a different location. Oh, and you can throw in the birth of Oktoberfest in there as well.
But just to be clear, I haven’t been to Munich. However, I have been to the next best thing: Hofbräuhaus. In 2003, Hofbräuhaus opened their first franchise in the United States, and that happened to be in my own backyard. Newport, Kentucky is just a hop, skip and a jump south of Cincinnati (that’s where I live). So, after a short trip across the river we entered a little transplanted bit of Germany at Hofbräuhaus, Newport.
You start off by walking in to a German beer hall. Dark wood paneling, flags, rough wooden common tables (definitely a German tradition) and a portrait of King Ludwig II. The next thing you notice is the accordion player. Yes, accordion player. Playing a selection of German songs that will get you in the spirit.
Continuing as your wander through the large beer hall you will notice the beer steins. Beer steins you say? Yes. Locked up along the walls are Hofbräuhaus beer steins locked up in little cages. Each one belongs to a member of the Stein Master Club and stays there in between visits. Talk about an exclusive club.
Of course, no visit to a German beer hall would be complete without some authentic German beer and cuisine, and Hofbräuhaus Newport has plenty of both. The Original Lager is the beer Hofbräuhaus has been brewing since 1589. Their Hefe Weizen is a wonderful wheat style beer. For those of you that like a darker lager there is the Dunkel. And no, you don’t have to be German to appreciate these beers.
And the food is about as German as you can get outside of Munich. My favorite was the Bauern Schnitzel. For those of you not familiar with Schnitzel, it is a breaded pork cutlet fried crispy and golden brown. The Bauern Schnitzel is then topped with black forest ham, Swiss cheese and homemade bier cheese. Let’s just say it was so good it inspired me to create my own homemade version (look for my recipe soon). I mean, pork, ham, cheese and more cheese. What’s not to love? Then there was the Wurst plate. Grilled bierwurst and bratwurst. Yumm. No need for jokes about it being the wurst. It was the best. We also sampled the Black and Bleu Steak salad, the giant pretzel, the Dunkel Bourbon Chicken and the Dunkel Bourbon Salmon.
So, the next time you are in the Cincinnati area and feel like stepping into a little bit of Germany, check out the Hofbräuhaus Newport. Where else can you go for real German beer, real German food, and the chicken dance?
Disclaimer: Thank you to Hofbräuhaus Newport for inviting us out and allowing us to sample their cuisine. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.