Bauhaus Biergarten brings German experience to Springdale!
originally printed Arkansas Gazette
By Brian Sorensen on January 26, 2023 9:43 am
Springdale might be best known for tacos and tortas, but there is a new culinary curiosity in town.
Bauhaus Biergarten aims to be the prototypical German experience with an indoor taproom and outdoor beer garden with classic German beers and traditional German food. If you’re into liter-sized steins of pilsner, and knockwurst that will knock your socks off, this is your place.
The brains behind Bauhaus — and the hands behind the bar and muscle in the kitchen — belong to longtime local business provocateur Daniel Hintz and relative Northwest Arkansas newcomer Chef Jennifer Hill Booker. Their shared interest in German fare led to their partnership in Bauhaus. Booker is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Paris and has authored several cookbooks. She serves on the James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Council. Hintz is the CEO of the Velocity Group, whose mission includes building downtown master plans and launching economic initiatives in communities across the United States. He is the former executive director of the Fayetteville Downtown Partners, and served in the same capacity for Downtown Bentonville, Inc., where he helped breathe life into its once-sleepy downtown district.
Their concept is something new for Springdale. There hasn’t historically been an outdoor drinking culture in the city. There are a few places to drink without cover, but not many. And nobody remembers anyone doing German food like this in Springdale before.
There is a long history of German beer gardens in other parts of the state. Henry and Alexander George, brothers who immigrated from Kelsterbach, Germany and settled in Little Rock, operated a brewery and beer garden way back in the early 1840s. Joseph Knoble of Wittenberg, Germany opened his brewery and beer garden near the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith in 1848. Germans most assuredly brewed beer wherever else they settled in the state — at places like Morrison Bluff, Paragould, and Subiaco — and it’s safe to assume beer gardens sprouted up around them.
Germans didn’t land in any meaningful numbers in Springdale, however, and therefore had no noticeable influence on local culture and cuisine. Springdale’s heritage starts out Native American, turns Scotch-Irish, and eventually diversifies to include Hispanic, Marshall Islander and Southeast Asian. There are lots of interesting things going on in town, but nothing German.
I’ve been to Bauhaus a couple of times now. The building is big and boxy with a muscular presence on the streetscape. A vibrant pastel-colored mural covers the exterior walls from ground to roofline. The taproom is in a smaller (and plain white) section to the north of the main building. Bauhaus Biergarten is written in big letters above the doors. The space inside is fairly compact, but the bar is long and welcoming. Hintz has been behind that bar on both of my visits. His interactions with customers are lively, loud and aimed at anyone within earshot.
The beer garden is just outside the taproom and extends to the sidewalk. There are picnic tables and overhead string lights to keep things lit up after dark.
Flanking the beer garden to the north is an Airstream trailer that has been converted to a professional kitchen. This must be the place where Chef Booker works her magic. Her pretzels, pickled vegetables and gourmet sausages certainly seem to keep customers satiated.
I met a friend at Bauhaus just before the holidays. It was chilly and damp outside, but inside the taproom it was warm and the tables were full of people drinking cold lager and nipping on German charcuterie. I don’t remember seeing a television anywhere. And I don’t recall anyone staring at the blue hue of a phone screen. German beer gardens (and English pubs) still seem to be safe havens for conversation-making.
Two specials of the day caught my eye on this pre-Christmas visit. One was a full liter of German beer for only $11. What a deal! Paulaner, Bitburger and Weihenstephaner are often on tap at Bauhaus. I went with a full liter pour of Paulaner’s Original Munich Lager. It went down fast and smooth, just like a German lager should.
The other notable offering was a spiced red wine called Glühwein served warm. It’s a traditional holiday beverage in Germany and Austria, where it’s usually featured at the famous Christmas markets. I was tempted to give one a try, but ordered a half liter of Hofbräu Dunkel instead.
My friend and I enjoyed catching up over a couple of delicious bottom-fermented beers (or beer brewed with lager yeast, which is the case with most German beers). It was obvious that other patrons were having as much fun as us. Bauhaus seems to have real potential to become a community gathering place for locals, and a fun side excursion for those living elsewhere.
I didn’t try those delicious German sausages that day. I’m watching my cholesterol, after all. At least that’s what I’ll tell my doctor if he asks.
Noch ein Bier, bitte!