A German Beer Hall Hits Park Slope With Die Koelner Bierhalle
The beer steins have landed.
Die Koelner Bierhalle (KBH) has only been open for two weeks, but it has already generated some well-deserved buzz with its offering of an authentic German beer hall experience paired with unique beers, a full bar, delicious food, friendly staff, and ridiculously affordable prices.
Located at 84 St. Marks Place, inside an old warehouse that has been converted into a spacious beer hall, Die Koelner is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that draws Park Slope families and young professionals, as well as tourists and commuters passing through the hub that is Barclays Center.
KBH aims to be a true German beer hall, with over 75 varieties of beer – 30 on tap – all imported from Germany, brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, and each served in its own unique glass. They also serve hearty German fare, such as kielbasa, spaetzle, and nine different types of bratwurst, plus lighter fare like a fish of the week and a Portabella mushroom burger.
“In [the town of] Cologne, people love their brats, but in Park Slope, with the eating-conscious, we had to modify the menu and make it healthier,” said André Jordan, one of three managers at KBH. “We want to create an environment where people can come, sit with friends face-to-face and discuss. It’s a lost art.”
Bartender and native German Lisa Romans said that the restaurant nails the little things, like having separate drink and food ordering stations – done “because beer gardens are so full [in Germany].”She admitted that “It seems a little off-putting for Americans, but we’re trying to really be authentic.”
From the full bar – complete with tequila, wines, and a full cocktail menu – we first sampled the Weihenstephan Dunkel ($6 for .5 liters, $11 for a liter), a wheat beer made in the oldest brewery on earth. Unlike American wheat beers, like Shock Top or Blue Moon, German wheat beers come in dark to light varieties. This beer has a full taste, with hints of fruit and vanilla, and was one of our favorites of the bunch.
Next was the Wurzberger Hofbrau ($7 for .5 liter, $13 for a liter) which was very light and refreshing, similar to a Stella Artois, with a hoppy finish. The Schneider Aventinus ($8 for a .5 liter, $15 for a liter) had a complex taste, including a smoky, malty vanilla. It was deceptively smooth, with 10 percent alcohol content.
We also tried the Zunft Kolsch ($3 for a small shooter, $6 for a large shooter) which was tasty, refreshing and almost fruity, and the Arcobrau Zwickl Lager ($7 for .5 liter, $13 for a liter), which was the darkest. It had a taste of malt throughout, but went down surprisingly easily.
When it came to eats, we had a German Pretzel ($3), which was perfectly soft and served with large grains of salt. We opted for a horseradish mustard sauce and a sweet and sour mustard sauce, both which had spicy flavors that paired well with the beer.
Continue the grub-fest with a juicy KBH Burger and Fries ($9), which comes on a Kaiser roll with onion, tomato and Worcestershire sauce; the fries are long and perfectly crisped. The succulent meat would go well with a side of German Potato Salad ($5), which is made fresh and tartly seasoned without being overwhelming.
We did not have room for dessert, but the Bierhall does offer Apple Strudel, Black Forest Cake and Bavarian Sponge Cake ($5 each).
The extremely affordable prices, said Jordan, were developed while keeping in mind their goal of drawing “repeat customers, where we develop relationships with our client base.”
So far, so good, with families coming on the weekends and married couples, singles, and tourists at night. “It’s a mixed crowd, but sophisticated,” said Roman. “They are not here to knock down a couple of Budweisers, but to sit around and enjoy the taste of malt.”
Die Koelner Bierhalle
84 Saint Marks Place
Open Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Reporting contributed by Denise Romano.
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