Tuesday January 15, 2008

Hofbräu München

Hofbräu München

We don’t need to keep talking about the lamentable closing of Eidelweiss, now going on two years ago, but the fact is that authentic German food is hard to find in Miami. You would not expect a Lincoln Road joint to be much more then a stopgap to this problem, and in fact when it first opened Hofbräu München had a Latin section on its menu, some vestige of the Cuban restaurant that previously occupied the premises. Well, a year on, Hofbräu has established itself as a perfectly wonderful spot. It’s much more casual then Eidelweiss, and in fact is sometimes listed as Hofbräu Beerhall. A few niggles aside, is a great place for food and beer.

Ah, the beer. Three varieties of Hofbräu (plus two seasonal), all of course imported from Germany, are on tap: a lager, a wheat ale, and a dark. The lager is the default choice, as good as anything you’ll find on tap anywhere in town. I like my beer a little more bitter, but it should be just right for an American palette. The wheat beer is for the adventurous, unfiltered (cloudy) and with a distinct hint of citrus. The dark beer is rich and delicious, and unexpectedly easy to drink for anyone expecting a stout. All the beers come in half and full-liter mugs, the latter of which is recommended: if you’ve ever had two pints of beer with dinner, a liter is not much more, and it will make you stronger.1

The food so far has been exceptional. You really want to start with the Hofbräu Wurstplatte, four big grilled sausages of various styles, each more succulent then the last. It’s served with the obligatory sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. And while this is some of the least healthy food you’re likely to find on Lincoln, it’s a necessary occasional cardiovascular-health splurge for any carnivore. For an adventurous snack, split a Münchner Wurstsalat among a few friends over beer — it’s cold sausage and swiss cheese with vinegar, which, well, it’s a thing, anyway. I do have to agree with complaints about the mustard. While Hofbräu has a tasty sweet mustard that accompanies the wurst, I couldn’t really do a whole plate with it, and honest to goodness, the only other alternative is packets of Gulden’s. This actually is not a terrible alternative taste-wise, but it kills the vibe, man, and I hope it gets addressed soon. No excuse, as decent German restaurant is available at Publix, and especially so since they’re already flying in the beer…

Speaking of killing the vibe, let’s talk about the prices. Those liters of beer? $12 a pop. The Wurstplatte? $19. (And so it goes, almost all the prices having been raised from those listed at MenuPages.) Pricey, yes, but not so terrible when you consider (1) the imported goodies, in light of the weak US dollar, (2) exorbitant Lincoln Rd. rents, and (3) that it’s obviously not that easy to run a German restaurant in Miami. Be grateful, and eat your wurst. Less tangible is the relaxed atmosphere of the place, which is also sort of rare on Lincoln Rd. The booths inside have been replaced with real beer-hall style tables and benches, and the wood tables and chairs outside are comfortable and right-minded to the experience at hand, and yet none of this seems fussy or contrived. Well, ok, the waiters’ leather lederhosen pants are a little contrived, but we’ll let that slide.

Hofbräu München
943 Lincoln Rd. (between Michigan and Jefferson)
Miami Beach

[1] I predict that one-liter mugs of beer are going to be the next big thing. In Bogota there are trendy new places, sort of Starbucks-equivalent beer halls, which have been serving them, and the practice has spread to some of the other restaurants. This is a trend that is ripe for introduction to America — you heard it here first!

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  1. Superbee    Tue Jan 15, 11:50 AM #  

    Ich liebe Hofbrau.



  2. dreaming    Tue Jan 15, 01:15 PM #  

    i have wanted to try this joint, well, the beer, anyway. but there is no way im paying 12 bucks for one of those buckets. you can go buy a 12 pack of decent beer for the same price and drink it on your balcony at home.



  3. Blingtown    Tue Jan 15, 01:53 PM #  

    Excluding Zeke’s, (may god protect and keep it), $12 for over 33oz of beer on lincoln Rd. ain’t bad at all. If you really want to dork out and go cost/oz, it is probably the second cheapest place on Lincoln, especially if you include a $1/bottle tip.

    I have to agree that the 1L should be a catchy trend. It represents a commitment to chilling out that you just don’t feel having a bottle of beer. When you throw in a plate of weighty German food, you know it is time to cancel any plans for the day.



  4. CB    Tue Jan 15, 04:06 PM #  

    Schnitzel Haus on 79th St? The decor alone is worth a trip. I still need to check out their ‘beer garden’ though.



  5. b.a.c.    Tue Jan 15, 06:33 PM #  

    I’ve had my fare share of German beer while in Deutschland last year. I can skip the $12 rape.



  6. alesh    Tue Jan 15, 06:43 PM #  

    OK, I agree that it’s expensive beer. But I’ll say it again — it’s VERY good beer (on draft!), it’s an expensive location, and it’s the equivalent of almost three full bottles. Think of it as three $4 beers and it’s not so bad.

    Of course German beer is cheap in Germany; there’s no ocean to ship it across. This is why I’ve been favoring the American beers lately. But for an occasional treat, it’s not as outrageous as it may seem at first blush.

    I do agree that drinking beer in your living room is cheaper. Duh.

    I shall have to check out Schnitzel Haus; thanks for the tip, CB.



  7. b.a.c.    Tue Jan 15, 09:44 PM #  

    How bout Czech Pilsner Urquell on draft at the Abbey? Worlds best beer (my opinion) for far less.



  8. alesh    Tue Jan 15, 10:30 PM #  

    Funny story~ I was at Archie’s pizza in Aventura a couple of weeks ago, and hankering for a beer. Asked my waiter what they had on tap, and he looked skeptically toward the bar, and said (i swear), “well . . . all we have is . . . bud light and plisner” (meaning pilsner urquell). I said, “you have the world’s worst beer and the world’s best beer and nothing in between.”

    I had the Pilsner, and it came in a shitty frozen mug with ice all inside it, but it was still amazing. All of which is to say you’re absolutely right. Still: Hofbräu München offers a totality of experience that I can’t get anywhere else and which, while I wouldn’t live there, is a nice place to visit once in awhile.



  9. Stefan    Tue Jan 15, 10:45 PM #  

    Hallo,

    schoen, hier mal etwas ueber ein deutsches Restaurant zu lesen!

    OK, maybe you can tell by now that I’m german… but anyway. Last summer I went to Hofbraeu with a few friends from Munich that were visiting me here in Miami. They said it’s good, but it doesn’t come close to “real” bavarian cuisine. What they really didn’t like was the Pretzels.

    If you ever have the chance, give “Bitburger Pils” a try. Best beer in the world! That has of course nothing to do with the fact that I grew up in Bitburg and earned my first money working in the brewery as a teenager, hehe.

    By the way, I’m still looking for a place in Miami where I can import my favorite beer from Germany, I just drank my last bottle of Bitburger that a friend gave me a couple of days ago :( I already miss it.

    Anyway, nice article!

    Take care & “Bis bald”
    Stefan



  10. I was there    Wed Jan 16, 07:59 AM #  

    Who remembers Zum Alten Fritz?

    It was in a house off of Biscayne Blvd around 30 something street…not far from the Omni…It was incredible! They served a light wheat beer with rasberry flavoring that would knock you on your ass, after drinking a few, they were sooo tasty! This was in the mid 1980s Miami.

    Hofbräu München is good, but too damn expensive for me, I have a family to feed and cannot afford it. sad but true.



  11. Steve    Wed Jan 16, 10:10 AM #  

    German food is the wurst.



  12. mkh    Wed Jan 16, 10:56 AM #  

    I’m not a beer drinker so I can’t* comment on that, but the food at Schnitzel Haus is great!

    *Okay, I suppose I could give an uninformed opinion, but I won’t (not that it seems to stop anyone else).



  13. whl    Wed Jan 16, 05:14 PM #  

    the 12 beer is worth it. u won’t need more than one.
    people watching is great.



  14. Miami Danny    Fri Jan 18, 04:52 PM #  

    Liter draft beers are great, but only in cold-weather countries. Not crazy about my beer flattening out and getting warm in the humid Miami air. Other than Zeke’s, price is pretty normal; but then there’s Zeke’s. Question is, why would anyone want to spend exorbitant sums eating on Lincoln Rd? Isn’t that supposeed to be for the tourists? God bless ‘em.
    Oh, and the food at The Royal Bavarian Schitzel Haus is affordable and delicious. The beer garden is really cool right now. Ate there for Christmas Eve Goose dinner, and it was as good as always. For a recap, go to Christmas Goose
    Two words, homemade sausages.



  15. Taste for Life    Sun Jan 20, 06:03 PM #  

    I second the previous post. Go to the Royal Bavarian Schnitzel House on 79th. Excellent food featuring Schnitzel and lots of other great german dishes. The Sausage plate is $19 and comes with 2 types of cabbage, mashed potatoes great mustard and a salad too!

    The place looks like a brothel at christmass. We loved it! Also the beer garden is a great spot to getaway from all of that Lincoln Road glitz.



  16. renebot    Sat Jan 26, 01:17 AM #  

    also try heidi’s gasthaus on sw 57 ave.



  17. Flo    Thu Jan 31, 05:20 PM #  

    Yeah,

    Ist das das Dritte in den Staaten? Ich war mehrere male in dem in Cincinnati (AWESOME).

    Komisch vor lauter bling bling, habe ich das in Las Vegas verpasst. Naja, gibt schlimmeres…

    Viel Spass noch mit dem guten Wetter. – Flo



  18. Flo    Thu Jan 31, 05:24 PM #  

    Yeah,

    damn German, can’t ralize that this site is for English speakers. Ok here the translated version, altough this article is indeed more interesting for people who like German food and BEER ;->

    ———
    I guess it is the third Hofbraeu-Muenchen in the States, isn’t it?

    I visited several time the one in Cincinnati, I tell ya, that is AWESOME.

    Hhhmm, because of a lot of bling bling and to much gambling, I must missed the one in Las Vegas on my road trip ;->

    Wish y’all a nice time with good weather, – Flo