Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh delayed -- once more?

The Pittsburgh Hofbräuhaus opening has been delayed again -- when were they supposed to open? Early 2007? -- I hope for the last time. There's a story in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that reports the opening date has been pushed back to February 24th.
Nick Ellison, managing member of Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, said the opening had to be postponed because of delays in getting utilities hooked up. "We've got to have utilities to brew beer, and we can't open until we get beer," he said.

So...no beer brewed yet? Six weeks to opening? Hmmmm... Anyway, seating has been finalized at 450 indoors and 600 outdoors, very ambitious for Pittsburgh in a recession, but if they bring in a decent price, it might work.

Let's see, the menu's up...from what I see, the appetizers look a bit pricey, as do some of the sandwiches (an $11 reuben?), but the entrees are quite reasonable. I'd like to see some lower-priced snacky bits, schmankerl, or maybe, as is done in Germany, there will be side kiosks or circulating waiters with trays of snacks, low-priced and paid for in cash? Oh, wait, maybe the Side Dishes menu will work. Maybe.

Don't know how much the beer is, either, although there is a beer list on the last page of the menu: Hofbräu Premium Lager (5.2%), Munich Weizen (5.4%), Light (3.8%; "Similar to American Light Lagers, but much fresher and more flavorful"), and Hofbräu Dunkel (5.5%). They also promise a new seasonal every month (a lot, for German brewers) and a keg tapping celebration of the new seasonal on the first Wednesday of every month. Good times!

The February 24th date is a soft opening, with the grand opening scheduled for April 1...which is WhiskyFest Chicago, dammit! Ah, me.

Thanks to a number of readers in the Pittsburgh area who passed that story on immediately: they know you're interested. And indeed you are: Queries about the Pittsburgh Hofbräuhaus opening have been the biggest hits on the blog for the past two weeks.

28 comments:

Steven said...

"...which is WhiskyFest Chicago, dammit! Ah, me."

Um... there's an HB in Chicago, ye know. :-)

They don't brew there, but it has to be the freshest Bavarian beer I've had outside Germany. More styles on the list too -- including seasonals and a year-round Maibock!

On the downside, the atmosphere is far from true Bierhall. Give and take.

Jeff Bearer said...

They will keep delaying opening till you stop delaying your trip out here. We miss you Lew, when are you going to come out and have some East End Fat Gary Brown Ale with us?

jp said...

yeah I saw that menu too. The first couple of pages resemble more a TGIF than Southern Germany, but that is OK, you have to get people in there and the Hauptgerichte look pretty close. And Besides if you want to eat authentic German in Pittsburgh there are plenty of places like Max's Allegheny tavern for instance.

Lew Bryson said...

Steve,
I'm blowing in the day before, and leaving the morning after: no time to enjoy. Besides, I'd rather go to Resi's, all things being equal. All things being equal, I'd probably rather go to Hopleaf or Delilah's, actually!

Jeff, I actually did visit Da Burgh in December, just for one night, the Penn tapping, though I managed to get to Point Brugge and East End, too. Gotta blog about that. Way too quick a trip, and I'd have said something, but it came together literally about 14 hours before I left.

JP, I don't think you're going to get most Americans to eat some of the stuff Germans regularly eat in beerhalls: weeping radishes and leberkase? Sure, some, but not enough to base a menu on! I thought it was a pretty good balance of German and American, though like I said, I would like to see a lot more of the schmankerl-type stuff. That's a lot of the beerhall experience for me...er, outside the beer and the people and the music, that is.

Anonymous said...

JP:

> plenty of places

Plenty ???? Max's Allegheny tavern is good, but I can't think of another place with good authentic German food - many claim to have it but they are just horrible.

JP said...

OK maybe not plenty but enough:

Teutonia Männerchor (personal fav)

Penn Brewery (RIP)
Kleiner Deutschmann

(remember Otto's?)

Joseph Huber said...

I'd like to see more german beer it would be cool if they served some Neuweiler, Horlacher, Schmidts, Augustiner, Esslinger, Gretz, Burgermeister and the like.

jp said...

What would be very cool is if pgh Hoffbrau sourced its Brezel from the Pretzle Shop on East Carson, these are really some of the best Pretzles I have ever had. Lew, I know you are a Philly guy but I have to say these Pretzles are worth the trip.

Lew Bryson said...

I'm a Philly guy, JP, but I'm not so blind as to think a standard Philly pretzel is anywhere close to a German one. There's a German deli in NE Philly I go to, Rieker's, that has German-style ones, and they're worth the trip. But HB makes their own in Germany, and I would hope they'd do the same -- w/out any changes! -- in Pittsburgh. I haven't been to any of the American HBs...anyone had the pretzels there? Steve?

JP said...

Lew I am serious. I lived in Germany for close to 5 years and in my experience these pretzels form the shop on east carson stand up with any Laugenbrezel I have ever eaten, with the exception of those Kaesestange with the speck on top. Plus I think it would be great to use local suppliers

R. Jelínek said...

Agree with JP. Those pretzels from the pretzel shoppe in the southside are excellent, and I grew up outside of philly.

Eat local.

sam k said...

I was always jacked that the Weeping Radish brewpub had the balls to name themselves after a traditional German bar snack that they refused to offer to their patrons.

And I gotta tell you, after seventeen years in the building trades, utility connections are among the first piece of the construction puzzle, so what's going on with this excuse?

R. Jelínek said...

Although I doubt that little place could keep up with demand for an outside contract as they are pretty stretched just supplying hungry foot traffic and locals on the sauthside.

jp said...

Please fill me in what is a weeping raddish ?

Lew Bryson said...

Popular German beer snack. You take a large white radish (they're about the size of your fist) and either slice it horizontally or spiral, salt the cuts, and re-assemble it. The salt draws out the water in the radish and it looks like the radish is "weeping." Um...kind of. Good beer food, and no-fat! (Which is frickin' rare, I'll tell ya...)

Steven said...

Lew -- While Resi's is certainly full of better atmosphere, and Laschet's German cuisine is the best in town, neither have beer as fresh as the new HB franchise. I'd bet they're flying it in direct for them -- unpasteurized. Seriously, that's how good it was... including an unfiltered, Zwickel-type beer last summer.

jp said...

Huh! Sounds pretty good. All that time there I never had one of those. I usually went for Rollmops or Matjesfillet/Bratherring while drinking beer. I did eat a lot of raddish sandwiches though. Well anyway let's just get the damn thing open before we judge how good or bad the eats are. My guess is they will be pretty good. Also very optimistic about the beer. I wonder what impact this place will have on the Church which is about the closest thing to a beer hall in pgh usually pretty packed.

Bill said...

I'm hoping that the Pittsburgh HBHouse provides the sense of gemutlichkeit Lew hopes for, but I have my doubts. I've been to the one in Milwaukee, and my experiences there echo Steve's comment about his experience at Chicago's HBHouse -- great beer, not authentic atmosphere. Saturday nights in Milwaukee -- loud techno-metal music, drunk 20-somethings, servers in push-up polyester dirndls. Sunday noons -- hard-drinking older men, mournful German church music, no female servers. Traditional German beer snacks of wildly varying quality.

Lew Bryson said...

Eeef. Bill, that sounds nasty. Might take some doing to get Americans to act like Germans, but not treating them like Germans isn't a good way to start. Hope they're thinking about this.

R. Jelínek said...

"servers in push-up polyester dirndls" sounds pretty good and sunday afternoons sounds like most of the folks on this blog and a big percentage of the guys I hang with!

jp said...

"Sunday noons -- hard-drinking older men, mournful German church music, no females" HAHAHA sounds like half the craft beer movement

R. Jelínek said...

Indeed. I'd go a step further and throw in "straight white" in front of older, given the recent discussions on the lack of blacks and gays in the craft beer movement.

Also you can take out "older" if you subsitute "evenings for "noon"

Bill G said...

With Penn's likely demise, at least as far as an actual brewery instead of a beer marketing company, the Hofbrauhaus is going to be a very welcome place in Pittsburgh!

For what it's worth, the last time I was at Penn (which is sadly the last time I will likely ever be there), it sounded like most of Penn's waitstaff will be hired on there, along with a brewer or two.

I've waited a long time for the place to open....if this is what it takes for the beer to be what it should be, then I can wait a month longer.

---Guy said...

"I've been to the one in Milwaukee, and my experiences there echo Steve's comment about his experience at Chicago's HBHouse"

FWIW, the Pittsburgh location will be only the 3rd Hofbrauhaus location in the US--the first 2 are in Vegas and KY (just outside Cincinnati).

Lew Bryson said...

Y'know, I wondered about that. I suspect the name "hofbrauhaus" gets used with some frequency in the U.S., no?

Bill said...

The Chicago and Milwaukee locations are owned by others, but have HB licenses -- they have the beers imported from HB, the flour for the pretzels comes from HB's mills, etc. They have different names -- Milwaukee's is the Old German Beer Hall. Not sure of how the LV, Kentucky, and Pittsb. ones will differ.

The Milwaukee has the spiral-cut radish.

Anonymous said...

Hofbrauhaus is opening March 4th!

echoamy said...

Don't you worry, the Bier is worth the wait. As for the food if it is anything like the food at Hofbrauhaus Newport (where I live), it's nothing to brag about.

I know they have already sent one of our brewers up there and he makes the best bier.