When two Bellevue natives wanted to open a pub and restaurant to honor their German ancestors, the Bierkeller, located at 600 Southwest St., was born in 2012.
Fast-forward to 2014, and the brainchild of Matt and Mark Strecker has come a long way. Helping with this transition is Sylvia Burns.
Burns grew up in Germany and came to America with her husband Mel when she was 23-years-old. Raised by family members who were amazing cooks, Burns will carry forward that tradition by providing patrons with incredible Bavarian food. She also contributed to the decor by displaying beer steins she and her family have collected for the past 30 years, some of which are around 100 years old.
While the menu has a great selection of German treats, including Oma’s Sauerbraten, Sylvia’s Jäger Schnitzel, and Deutsche Haehnchen Brust, a German chicken breast, the beer selection is what Foaming at the Mouth’s Bill and Alan were excited to see.
Walking in it was easy to see that the Bierkeller takes its beer very seriously. 28 taps lined the bar in three main sections - German beers, microbrews, and mass-produced macro brews - all that change as the kegs run dry. This bar has something for everyone!
On the macrobrew list were the usual suspects - Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Budweiser, PBR, and Labatt Blue. Also offered were Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Guiness, Fat Tire, and Vanilla Porter.
Catawba Island’s Sieche, a Scottish-style ale, was a local brew on tap, as well regional favorites from Founders (Dirty Bastard, All Day IPA), Bell’s (Two-Hearted Ale, Oberon), and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
A great selection from Germany included Weihenstephan, Reisdoff Kolsch, Warsteiner, Bitburger, and Hofbrau Dunkel.
Be sure to check out the bierkellerpub.com for the most up-to-date specials - including a $3 pint draft beer night on Mondays - and a list of beers on tap or in bottles. And be sure to say hello and welcome to Sylvia while you are there.
And now on to the beers:
Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf
ABV - 4.8%
This selection was the quintessential Germany Kölsch beer. It has a bright golden color with a very clean look. The smell is very floral and this leads to a floral taste - it is a beer that tastes like it smells. The finish is dry and the mouthfeel is crisp. It is what you expect from a Kölsch-style brew. If you like a light-style beer this one will not disappoint.
Munich Dunkel Lager
ABV - 5.5%
This beer pours, looks, and smells like it has a lot of promise. The color is an impressive mahogany-amber and it pours with a decent amount of head. The head sticks around for a while as it clings to the side of the glass. The aroma reminded us of raisins and brown sugar - it smelled sweet. The taste was pleasant, but not overwhelming. It didn’t live up to the promise up front. It is, however, a drinkable beer that can be enjoyed year-round.
Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan
ABV - 8.5%
For our third sample we decided to keep our streak of trying a local/regional microbrew intact by sampling a beer from Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This scotch ale did not disappoint!
The beer was poured into a tulip glass and the deep copper color was on full display. The head was large and took a while to diminish. The aroma was malt-forward, meaning it smelled sweet, mixed with a hint of caramel. There was also a noticeable smell of alcohol.
While it smelled of alcohol, the flavor was that of sweet with a slightly bitter finish. This bitterness makes you want to pick up your glass again quickly to enjoy more the sweetness on the front end.
As is the case, another beer from Founders does not disappoint.