Gourmet Haus: German beer and hearty fare on the Peninsula

Gourmet Haus Staudt, a chummy, innocuous pub in Redwood City, has received a considerable amount of attention lately, and it hasn’t been for its outstanding selection of German lagers on tap or the homey food that’s on the menu at the end of the week.
In mid-March, an Apple employee, perhaps unaccustomed to the potency of German beer, misplaced a next-generation prototype iPhone at the bar while celebrating his 27th birthday. Weeks later, the test model turned up at technology site Gizmodo, generating a great deal of consternation at Citadel Apple. Gizmodo had paid $5,000 to the guy who ended up with the phone after the Apple engineer left it on a bar stool at Gourmet Haus.
“There was no doubt about it. It was the real thing, so we started to work on documenting it before returning it to Apple,” Gizmodo wrote on its site. At the behest of an apparently apoplectic Apple, police turned up with search warrants at the homes of the Gizmodo editor who had written about the top secret device and the guy who found it, confiscating computers.
Newsmedian Jon Stewart called out Apple, bemoaning that the erstwhile revolutionary company that had once challenged the establishment had itself become “the man,” or as The Daily Show put it, “Appholes.” Stewart shouldn’t have been surprised; Apple has been more paranoid than a roomful of tweakers for quite a while now.*

Unexpected notoriety aside, “Gourmet Haus Staudt: a German Beer Garden” deserves more attention not only from beer lovers on the beer-parched Peninsula, but from aficionados of German beer from all over. Tucked behind a Bavarian gift/bottle shop and deli, the small pub sports some of the best German beer taps in the Bay Area. Gourmet Haus recently featured lagers such as Innstadt Edelsud, Hofbrau Maibock, Konig Pils, Kostritzer Schwarzbier, Spaten Bock and Optimator, Aktien Hell and Bischofhof 1649, as well as the potent Belgian ale Klokke Roeland, the sublime Weheinstaphener Vitus weizenbock and Valley Brewing IPA, for West Coast hop heads. The constantly rotating taps are a testament to the taste of the pub’s beer-loving owner, Volker Staudt.

Volker took over the business from his parents, who nonetheless continue to help prepare the food that’s available Wednesday through Saturday. A recent Saturday brunch featured a hearty Jagerschnitzel -- breaded veal cutlet and mushroom gravy -- with mashed potatoes. Also on the menu were some brats, sandwiches, hotdogs and big, soft pretzels.
The hunter’s schnitzel called for a beer that could stand up to the richness of the brown gravy, like the malty Kostritzer Schwarzbier, a lager that’s dark in appearance yet surprisingly light in flavor. Germans have been enjoying such combinations for nearly 500 years; the first documented mention of Kostritzer Schwarzbier dates back to 1543. Light-colored pilsners didn’t appear until some 300 years later. (Gourmet Haus lists The German Beer Institute's site for more information about everything beer in Germany.)

Gourmet Haus’s food would best be described as hearty and filling rather than gourmet. The schnitzel could have been pounded thinner and the bread crumbs fried a little crispier, for example. But the brown gravy gave the dish a rustic flavor that the Schwarzbier balanced admirably. On a Saturday afternoon, Gourmet Haus is a family-style restaurant with a sun-splashed patio where you can take your 10-year-old for a bite after a soccer game or your parents or grandparents for a simple meal. When food isn’t on offer, Gourmet Haus is a pub: same great beer but without the food.
The gift shop is also worth more than a cursory glance as you enter and leave the pub, not only for its jaunty Bavarian-style hats and HB Munchen Das Boot beer glass, but for its extensive selection of excellent German beers.

*Regardless of how Apple and Gizmodo work out their dispute, the $5,000-richer guy who left the pub with the phone might be guilty of violating an unwritten code of pub ethics.

Among the rules: ladies sit first; don’t talk on your cell phone in a pub; tip your server; if there’s a coaster atop a glass, leave it alone; and if you find something unattended at the bar and cannot immediately find its owner, turn it over to the bartender.

Gourmet Haus Staudt Gifts & Cafe
2615 Broadway St
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 364-9232

Store hours:
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Beer garden hours
Monday and Tuesday: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

11 a.m.-2 p.m.

5-8 p.m.

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