Just across the Ohio River situated in Newport is the first Hofbräuhaus to open in the United States. Not only is the beer authentic but it is the ideal place for a celebration in true German fashion.
The German heritage of Cincinnati is one that has shaped the city for centuries with culture, food, and music. The city unites by hosting the largest Oktoberfests in the USA when everyone can claim to be German for a day. It is the closest you will get to being at the Oktoberfest in Munich. However, you may be closer to Munich then you think.
Discover why the Hofbräuhaus Newport is a little piece of Germany here in Cincinnati and the ideal the perfect place to celebrate.
A Little History
As we began making plans for our father’s 60th birthday we kicked around multiple options. If there is one thing my father loves is Germany. My grandfather came from the little town of Liechtenstein, Germany. Not to be confused with the country. A few years ago our family visited the town where my grandfather was raised and met our distant family that still lives in the original Gasthaus. It is hands down my most favorite travel memory of all times.
I watched in awe as the sweet lady I just met pulled out photo albums with pictures from their visit to the USA in the ’70s. Photos of my grandparents, my dad, and his siblings were all there.
I sat in awe as she spoke in German about the family, the passing of her husband and how she was so grateful to be able to meet us. After sharing in a few laughs and tears she graciously gave us a taste of their homemade schnapps and beer which was out of this world.
It was an experience that my father still talks about and holds dear in his heart. We ended our tour of Germany in Munich at the Hofbräuhaus. It was the ideal ending to a perfect trip as my father was surrounded by his family, drinking his favorite beers while soaking in every moment of German culture.
The Perfect Birthday Celebration
Since a trip to Germany isn’t on the agenda for a few years we knew exactly where to go. We immediately started planning the ideal German celebration at the Hofbräuhaus in Newport. It was perfect on so many accounts that my dad had a phenomenal evening. Here are a few things about the Hofbräuhaus that you might not know that make it the ideal place for any celebration.
Why Is Hofbräuhaus Famous
Known as the most famous tavern in the world, the Hofbräuhaus Munich opened in 1589. The brewery was open mainly to supply beer to the royal Bavarian family, the Wittelsbach. The beer grew in popularity thanks to the “Bavarian Beer Purity Law” which stated that only natural ingredients could be used in the brewing process. Hops, malt, and water make up the traditional recipes that are still in use today.
The growing brewery had to move around the corner to the Platzl where it still stands today. For a long period of time, the Hofbräuhaus was the only brewery in Bavaria.
The brewery’s monopoly was used to make money by placing a tax on the sale of beer. Today the brewery is a hub for tourists and locals alike looking for homemade beer and traditional foods. If you go you can make reservations online but be prepared to share your table with other guests if you have a small party.
What Does Hofbräuhaus Mean?
Hofbrau means an informal German restaurant or tavern. It literally translates into court brewery.
When Did Hofbräuhaus Newport Open
The Hofbräuhaus Newport was the first Hofbräuhaus to open in the United States. Since Cincinnati is Munich’s sister city, it is only fitting that the first Hofbräuhaus open here.
The story of how Hofbräuhaus Newport came to be is quite intriguing. It all started with a gentleman named Eric Haas. Eric and his business partner bought the historic building that is currently home the Hofbräuhaus in hopes of opening a Woodstock Cafe.
After his business partner decided to go another direction, Eric was debating what to do with this great space. It was during a choral tour through Europe that Eric found himself sitting in the Hofbräuhaus Munich immersed in the Gemütlichkeit” and hospitality that the idea to open one in Cincinnati crossed his mind.
The Hofbräuhaus already had their scouts out looking for a spot in Cincinnati. A location that was being considered was a parking lot by Paul Brown Stadium until Eric presented them with the location in Newport.
They fell in love with the building and began to make plans. This was not a quick process and after years of negotiations, the Hofbräuhaus Newport opened in 2003. The initial opening of the Hofbräuhaus Newport left them with a shortage of beer that required them to import over 12,000 kegs to meet the demand.
More brewing tanks were installed to help meet the demand. The Hofbräuhaus Newport is set up similar to the Hofbräuhaus Munich complete with a Bier Garten. Guests can enjoy live music and traditional food in a warm and friendly German atmosphere.
Hofbräuhaus What To Order
A behind-the-scenes tour of the Hofbräuhaus will leave you with a new appreciation for the beer that is brewed there. The science of brewing beers is quite complex and mastered by few. The Bier Master at the Hofbräuhaus Newport has been there since the beginning and is often training others who go and open their own breweries!
However, the Hofbräuhaus brews by a different set of standards. Standards that were established back in 1516 with the Bavarian Beer Purity Law. Samples of the official Hofbräu beer brewed in Newport are sent to Munich for testing to ensure guidelines and quality are being met. It is why the beer that you drink in the Hofbräuhaus Munich is identical to the beer you are having in Hofbräuhaus Newport.
Hofbräuhaus is known for its classic beers. The Hofbräu Dunkel is one of the most popular beers available. This dark lager is 5.5% Alc. by volume, medium body and easy to drink. The Original Lager is the beer the Hofbräuhaus has been famous for. At 5.2% Alc. by volume, this staple is fresh, crisp and one of my personal favorites. The Hefe Weizen is a wheat beer that has a banana and clove flavored aroma. It clocks in with a 5.4 % Alc. by volume.
There are also monthly seasonal beers that are celebrated with a special keg tapping of the new beer the last Wednesday of each month.
The Food At Hofbräuhaus Newport
Traditional German dishes are always a favorite while dining at the Hofbräuhaus. Pretzels with beer cheese, schnitzel and of course sausages. They claim to have the best wurst in town. Sauerkraut balls, spätzle, and other German classics are throughout the menu but they also offer a wide selection of non-German menu items.
Fresh salads, salmon, and burgers are a few of the favorites that keep people coming back for more. They have a great Kids Menu with a big variety full of great options.
Why Celebrate at the Hofbräuhaus
You Can Reserve Space
Depending on the size and when you would like to have your celebration the Hofbräuhaus has a catering team that will meet your every need. From a variety of set menus to just making reservations for smaller parties the team at Hofbräuhaus will take care of you. Keep in mind that reservations for the traditional dining hall are only available for parties 12 or less Sunday-Thursday.
Tap Your Own Keg
Considering hosting a party, happy hour or large group gathering at the Hofbräuhaus Newport. They offer a fun option in which you can tap your own keg during the celebration. This is widely popular with rehearsal dinners. company events and larger celebrations.
Plenty Of Space
If there is one thing we love about the Hofbräuhaus Newport it is that there is plenty of space! Long tables in the Bier Hall are perfect for gatherings while space in the quieter areas is available as well. The outdoor Biergarten is a great place to spread out and relax in the warmer weather months.
It is rare that you will visit the Hofbräuhaus Newport without live music playing. From accordion players to bands there is always music drifting through the air. Kids love to get up and dance which makes for a celebration to remember.
The Hofbräuhaus Newport hosts a Kids Night the second Tuesday of the month. Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. There are face painters, balloon artists and live entertainment the kids will adore.
We hope that the next time you are on the hunt for the perfect family-friendly restaurant to have a celebration you will consider the Hofbräuhaus. If you are in need of more great things to do in the Cincinnati area be sure to check out our Cincinnati favorites!