Lager lovers, unite! — at Rhein Haus, which boasts more than twenty beers on tap, many of them German imports and pilsners. But I'm on a brunch mission at this LoDo beer hall, and I get that not everybody wants a stein of suds with their morning meal.
Brunch at Rhein Haus comes with the usual suspects: mimosas and Bloody Marys for $4, but you can also try a beer cocktail. The beer equivalent of a Tequila Sunrise is the bar's grapefruit radler with a shot of tequila. A radler is a German concoction normally made with beer and lemonade; Rhein Haus uses a canned radler that comes in at only 2.5 percent alcohol, but the tequila definitely kicks it up a notch.
I've never considered schnitzel a breakfast food, but it's a logical choice at Rhein Haus. The pork schnitzel breakfast comes with half of a pork cutlet smothered in seven-sausage gravy with a side of potato pancakes, eggs and a soft pretzel. Some of those seven sausages can also be ordered individually, and you can also put together a meal of side orders to create your own personalized breakfast. I opted for eggs, bacon, potato pancakes and cheesy käsespätzle. The potato pancakes were fried to a golden brown — crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, nearly mimicking the texture of funnel cake. As good as the potatoes were, they were outdone by the käsespätzle, comparable to creamy mac and cheese, but with gnocchi-like spätzle noodles standing in for macaroni. On the sweeter side, strawberry French toast goes nicely with that tequila-spiked radler.
After brunch, you can burn off some of your schnitzel and spätzle with a round or two of bocce. There are three courts situated in the middle of the restaurant that can be rented by the hour. "The fact that we can mix bocce in with brunch is pretty cool,” says general manager Frank Peredia.
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On my visit, though, Germany was playing Sweden in a World Cup soccer match, so fans spilled onto the bocce courts. The entire restaurant was packed with rowdy soccer supporters, and their enthusiasm was intoxicating (so I'm now intensely following World Cup action). Peredia even let die-hard fans bring in their own chairs and sit in front of the giant projection screen. Other regulars chose to step next door to Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern, which is under Rhein Haus ownership and serves the same brunch menu, plus a few Wisconsin staples.
If brunch, beer and bocce don’t have you hooked already, Rhein Haus also hosts Sunday raffles, where winners can take home butcher cuts of meat. In July, the beer hall will unveil its new beer garden to add more outdoor space; currently there's only a front patio with several picnic tables and misters, but Peredia assures me that the beer garden will be impressive, with string lights and outdoor plants to give it a real Oktoberfest feel.
Rhein Haus is located at 1415 Market Street and serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Call 303-800-2652 or visit the restaurant's website for more details.