The buzz about Wurst Bier Hall is totally justified.
With a convivial atmosphere, 36 beers on tap (and more in bottles) and a menu packed with pub favorites, 15 different kinds of sausages and German food that’s usually only available around the holidays or at your German Grandma’s house, downtown Fargo’s newest restaurant has a lot to love…except maybe if you’re a vegetarian.
(Okay, there are a few veggie options, but let’s face it — this is a meat lovers paradise.)
“There’s nothing like this in town,” said Bert Meyers, who owns Wurst Bier Hall with his wife Lisa and twin brother Klaus. And these three definitely know a few things about downtown food and booze. Bert and Lisa served up Chicago-style street food at Bertrosa’s from 1999 until they sold it in 2012 and Bert and Klaus own and run Dempsey’s Public House, the always-hopping Irish-style pub a few blocks north on Broadway.
Wurst Bier Hall has a similarly busy and comfortable vibe, just with a polished up, vaguely industrial look, heavy on the blonde wood and exposed ductwork. The front room is filled with long, communal tables that seat up to 20, just like you’d find at a traditional German beer hall.
They’re always packed with people getting to know each other and drinking from Das Boot, which is pretty much what it sounds like — a giant communal glass shaped like a boot that comes with its own rule-heavy drinking game.
Rules for Das Boot
By Bert Meyers
1. The boot can never touch the table until empty.
2. Before you drink, you must flick the glass with your finger. You must flick the glass again after you drink before passing the boot to the next person.
3. You must always drink from the boot with the toe facing up.
4. If you get splashed in the face with beer you must drink again.
5. The person that drank from the boot immediately preceding the person that empties the boot must buy the next boot.
6. If you break rules 2-4 you must drink again.
7. Never clink Das Boot with other glassware or slam it on the table, it will break!
Head chef Jay Morrison serves up traditional German favorites like schnitzel and spaetzle, yummy looking starters like pierogies with curry butter sauce, sweet potato frites with marshmallows and these brilliant Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese dip.
The insides are perfection — soft and chewy — while the outsides have a little crunch, the perfect amount of salt and taste exactly like hard pretzels.
Next time I’ll go with something traditionally German like schnitzel or spaetzle or maybe a house speciality like the Porketta Fargo (sliced pork roast with cheese, spinach and homemade salsa verde) but for my first time out, I trusted my instincts and tried one of the sausages. They’re served on fresh, thick bread with your choice of fried onions, sauerkraut or sweet or hot peppers.
Chicken apple sausage
I opted for the Chicken Apple topped with sauerkraut and a healthy dose of spicy mustard, which turned out to be a brilliant combination. The sausage was savory and the sauerkraut was the best I’ve ever had — tart and delicious with just a hint of sweetness that’s slowly winning over even the staunchest sauerkraut skeptics.
Our table sampled also the bratwurst and the Philly sausage (both good) and there are a ton lof other varieties to choose from including Lielbasa, German sausage, bratwurst, currywurst, mettwurst, linguiça, a bleu cheese brat, wild boar, elk, rabbit (which I’ve heard is really good) and alligator and some seasonal rotating varieties as well.
The beer menu is especially brilliant. Not only do they have a massive selection of complex and interesting brews, including offerings from local favorites and Junkyard Brewing Company in Moorhead, they also lay out their menu according to how they taste, which I love. It’s so much more intuitive and usually how people ask for recommendations anyway.
Since I was eating sauerkraut, it only seemed right to try a German beer. I opted for the Hofbräu Dunkel (they also stock Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, Hofbräu Original and Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen) which was malty and drinkable and not at all funky like the server warned me it might be. (I’m a craft beer girl, buddy — I don’t get scared off by anything except nasty artificial fruit flavoring in my beer.)
Philly Cheesesteak sausage with fried onions
Speaking of fruit flavors, my friend Erin tried a beer cocktail that featured a raspberry lambic beer and it was incredible, infused with hints of pear and huge hit of raspberry. It’s a must-try for anyone who insists they don’t like the taste of beer.
Derrick tried another combo, the Angry Ginger, which layered Guinness and Angry Orchard Ginger cider for a very pretty effect. The The taste was mellow and creamy with a little bit of a cider bite.
The Angry Ginger
Wurst Bier Hall is open 7 days a week and families are welcome with an adult over 21 until 4 p.m. And be sure to stop out when the patio opens up this spring.
Wurst Bier Hall
630 1st Avenue North
Bus: Routes 15 and 18
Minors allowed until 4 p.m. with an adult 21+
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
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