Bier and Brats at Stammtisch

Food takes center stage at a new German beer hall from the owners of Prost!

By Benjamin Tepler July 2, 2014

The renovated Stammtisch space.

There are times and places in Portland to get your lederhosen fix: Otto’s Sausage or Edelweiss Delicatessen for cured meats, Oktoberfest celebrations for beer, Gruner for fancy, vaguely alpine cuisine. Beyond that, the offerings are slim. Stammtisch, a new beer hall and eatery from the creators of North Portland’s Prost!, is luring bierstube enthusiasts deeper into the world of Germanic brews, while raising the bar for the country's comfort-driven cuisine. 

Thanks to a major overhaul, Stammtisch has none of the aesthetic flaws of its dimly lit, tight-quartered predecessor, Spints Alehouse. The new, airy space, set on the corner of Northeast 28th and Flanders, includes a bar that wraps around into an expanded second room, a huge accordion window in front, and a soon-to-be christened “beer garden” patio with an extra 30 seats. (Bonus: Stammtisch broadcasts FIFA World Cup like clockwork)

House-made bratwurst and weisswurst.

The impressive 18-tap beer list ranges from a rare, malty, floral maibock to a smoked helles lager. “I want to expand people’s horizons,” explains owner Dan Hart, “—let them experience craft beers they might only find in tiny mountain towns in Germany.” It’s plenty dorky for most German beer enthusiasts, but accessible enough for the casual Beck’s drinker. Devoted imbibers are rewarded with a “Stammtisch Stein Club” membership: five thousand pours earns you a pair of actual lederhosen.

The full-length German menu—Stammtisch’s biggest departure from Prost!—is the work of former St. Jack sous chef, Graham Chaney. It's a step up in execution from most German fare in town, albeit through the lens of a French-trained Portland chef. You’ll find classic schnitzels and a Bavarian pretzel, along with less common maultaschen (big Germanic raviolis) and obatza (a paprika-spiced Camembert cheese spread.) Obatza was made for drinking, as is the addictively smoky roasted chicken with thick-sliced, fat-soaked potatoes. But there are hiccups across the board: skip the house-made weisswurst, which scarcely resembles the traditionally paper-white, mace-spiced sausage, and avoid the Weiner Schnitzel—closer to an oily, deep-fried bear rug than the Austrian icon. 

There’s a fine line between authenticity and caricature, (like the Disneyland-style show of German pride at the iconic Rheinlander) and Stammtisch straddles it well. It’s nostalgic for expats, edifying for the uninitiated, and—if they can nail down their German kitchen—delicious for everyone else.

401 NE 28th Ave
Mon-Sun, 3pm-2:30am

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