Raise a Glass

Happy families and great beer on tap at Zoiglhaus Brewing Company.

Family_Supper-dec15The night my family went to the new Zoiglhaus Brewing Company I did not have high hopes for an enjoyable evening. My toddler had refused to wear anything but pajamas after a potty accident and my baby had decided not to nurse right before we left, which meant he’d be hungry as soon as my dinner arrived. Luckily things turned around once we stepped into this large beer hall in outer Southeast. The hostess didn’t bat an eye at my daughter’s penguin jammies and helpfully offered to seat us at a long table near the play area. The place was loud and bustling, and many families were gathered at surrounding tables.

We tried the bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts skewers ($8) and a giant pretzel with cheese spread ($7). The tasty skewers (hello, bacon!) came on a bed of dressed greens and the portion was generous enough to almost make it an entrée for one. My 3-year-old daughter was a fan of the pretzel, as was everyone else.

For dinner, I tried the jägerschnitzel ($14), a pounded pork cutlet with mushroom gravy and buttery spätzle. Not exciting, but solid German comfort food. My father-in-law tried the sausage platter ($11) and was impressed with the crispness of the housemade sauerkraut. The kids menu featured a variety of options, including a small burger and hummus plate. I ordered the chicken schnitzel nuggets with veggies ($5) for my 3-year-old. Once she came back from the play area, she polished most of the chicken off of her plate (I ate the last couple of bites and understood; it made me wish they’d had an adult chicken schnitzel entrée.)

German-inspired beers with a PNW twist are where Zoiglhaus truly shines. I tried the seasonal Schwarzbier (all our beers were $4.50 a pint). It was a deep, dark beer, but had a light malty flavor minus the thick mouthfeel of a porter or stout. (Not surprisingly, Schwarzbier is listed as one of Willamette Week’s top ten beers of 2015.) My husband, a lover of hoppy brews, gave his nod of approval to the Haus IPA and Black Pearl Cascadian Dark Ale. My father-in-law was also extremely happy with his Zoigl Hefe-Weissbier, a Bavarian hefeweizen with subtle banana and clove notes.

Finally, our server was incredibly funny and friendly. The whole atmosphere was inviting and made me want to settle in for a long hang at one of the long wooden tables. Of course, with two small children, that didn’t happen. But we ate, enjoyed ourselves and got out of there before anyone had a meltdown. I’ll drink to that.

Zoiglhaus Brewing Company, 5716 SE 92nd Ave., 971-339-2374, zoiglhaus.com.

Great German Grub

Otto’s Sausage Kitchen is a gem of the Woodstock neighborhood. Take home freshly made sausage, from kid-pleasing old-fashioned wieners to tender Bockwurst or get a grilled sausage sandwich to go. ottossausage.com.

Fressen Artisan Bakery is a staple at farmers’ markets in Beaverton and Hillsdale, and they’ve opened a cafe in the Kerns neighborhood. Stop in for densely delicious German-inspired breads and sandwiches with names like “The Kraut.” fressenartisanbakery.com.

Kids and grown-ups alike love the signature fondue at Der Rheinlander on Sandy Boulevard, a touchstone for generations of Portlanders (also served at its sister restaurant, Gustav’s Pub and Grill with locations in Portland, Tigard, Clackamas and Vancouver). Plus: What’s not to love about a waitstaff that plays the accordion? rheinlander.com.

Denise Castañon
Denise Castañon

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