By Ashley Strehle Hartman/World-Herald Correspondent
Published in the Omaha World-Herald, May 31, 2018
Bärchen Beer Garden
Where: 6209 Maple St.
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday
Info: 402-502-9902 or barchenbeer.com
There are few things in life as satisfying as a good beer and a soft pretzel.
At Bärchen Beer Garden, you can get both.
This German-inspired bar in Benson primarily serves European craft brews from Belgium, Scandinavian countries and, of course, Germany. It also has a selection of upscale bar food — including those pretzels I mentioned.
The beer list features about four dozen brews — including a rotating list of about two dozen. Predictably, most of these beers are in classic German styles like dunkel, Kolsch, weissbier and pilsner.
Bärchen also has a few local beers thrown into the mix, like Lucky Bucket’s Belly Flop Strawberry Blonde and Farnam House Brewing Company’s Dopplebock. If you want to stick to a more standard domestic, they also have Miller High Life.
The majority of the beers come in multiple sizes. You can get them by the pint, half-liter, liter or quarter-liter. The prices range from $3 for a pint of Miller up to $26 for a few beers in a liter size. You can get a liter of most of their beers for about $10.
I had the Crooked Stave Petite Sour Raspberry. I got it in an 8-ounce size for $8. It was crisp and tart with just a hint of sweetness from the raspberries. I’d recommended it if you like fruity or sour beers. It was a nice, easy-to-drink spring-time brew with only 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
I also tried the Paulaner Salvator Dopplebock. This was a heartier German brew at 7.9 percent ABV. It has depth, but it’s not heavy, and it has a distinctive malty flavor. My drinking buddy really liked it.
Along with its extensive beer list, Bärchen also has a selection of about 15 cocktails, including Manhattans, bloody Marys, Moscow mules and margaritas. All of them cost less than $10.
Bärchen also has a selection of whiskey, a small list of shots and a few wine options. As for me, though, I recommend you get a beer and a pretzel instead.
The Culprit Café soft German pretzels come in a pair for $12. They have just the right amount of salt and they’re served with beer cheese and whole-grain mustard. Word to the wise on the mustard — it’s packed with horseradish, so expect some heat. Though I wasn’t a fan, my friend in the know assures me this is how they do their mustard in Germany.
In addition to its pretzels, Bärchen serves up meatballs, house-made sausages and a small selection of sandwiches.
You can settle in for a meal at Bärchen indoors. Or, if the weather is right, I recommend checking out Bärchen’s spacious beer garden instead. It has plenty of seating at wooden picnic tables, lots of patio umbrellas for shade and it’s pleasantly decorated with string lights and a bunch of potted plants. They also have a few large fans to keep you cool.
Inside or outside, Bärchen is a cozy, comfortable place to enjoy an evening — ideally with a beer in one hand and pretzel in the other.