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Pub review: Die Bierstube

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UW communication alumna Brittany Hartman, third from left, and Sara Coats, fifth from left, celebrate with friends on Monday night at Die Bierstube.

It is immediately apparent upon entering Die Bierstube that Shultzy’s does not possess a monopoly on the U-District’s supply of German beer and food. This bar, located in the far-northwestern reaches of the U-District at 6106 Roosevelt Way NE, possesses something approaching Old World charm — in addition to its fine Bavarian fare — that is disappointingly absent from the other “pubs” in its neighborhood. The pub ambience manifests itself in Die Bierstube’s dark, wood-paneled walls, worn, wooden tables, German-style tap fonts, and a clientele with an average age well above their mid-twenties. This bar, in short, begs you to pull up a chair and order a beer.

Die Bierstube’s strong suit is, unsurprisingly, its beer. Like Shultzy’s, Die Bierstube features a lengthy selection of imported German draught beers from centuries-old breweries like Spaten, Maisel, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. The dozen-odd beers are each sold in volumes of .3, .5 and one liter, and cost around $4.25, $5.25 and $9.75, respectively. Each beer is also served in a glass made by its respective brewery, which serves to greatly enhance the authentic German feel of the establishment.

For beer-lovers brave or foolish enough to give it a go, Die Bierstube proudly offers a two-liter chugging challenge featuring a giant drinking glass called “The Boot.” For around $20, a minimum of three people can fill up “The Boot” with beer and, once it is picked up, must drain the massive vessel before it is placed back down. German tradition states that the second-to-last person to drink from “The Boot” must pay for the next round, so challengers are given the incentive to drink as much as possible as the volume of beer in “The Boot” gets low.

The beer menu has a brew for everyone. The light Hacker-Pschorr Weisse is a good beginner’s beer with a light, though not anemic, body and a spiced aftertaste reminiscent of Hoegaarden. The Spaten Oktoberfest is perfect for a light-beer drinker who wants to try a darker variety that won’t offend his or her inexperienced palate. Hacker-Pschorr’s Dunkel Alt, an appetizing dark lager, tastes vaguely like a mocha porter without bitter coffee flavors. The mighty Paulaner Salvator was originally brewed by German monks as a replacement for bread during Lent and weighs in at 7.5-percent alcohol by volume. The Salvator, or “Savior,” has a thick, malty taste comparable to liquid bread, yet features a swirl of other flavors that even moderate-beer drinkers may appreciate.

Those who would rather sip a mixed drink than quaff an ale are able to do so: Die Bierstube features an abbreviated list of German interpretations of popular American mixed drinks, such as the Honig Dropf (Honey Drop). Mixed drinks cost between $6.50 and $7.50, a range that sharply contrasts those offered by lower-priced bars on the Ave.

Die Bierstube’s food menu is surprisingly authentic. Even simple and inexpensive menu items like the landjaeger, a thick, traditional German beef-and-pork jerky served with marbled rye bread, impress with their German taste. Perhaps the best part about Die Bierstube’s German fare is the prices. A light meal of currywurst or a bratwurst sandwich cost patrons around $7.

Die Bierstube’s inviting Old World-pub interior is complemented by one of the U-District’s strongest selections of beers and a solid menu of fairly-priced German grub, strengths that more than negate the distant location.

The verdict: Die Bierstube is a bar for beer lovers, plain and simple, and certainly one that every UW student should visit at least once.

Reach reporter Andy Fulton at arts@dailyuw.com.

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