Germanophiles have been frothing at the mouth like a freshly poured lager in anticipation of the opening of Prost, a German pub that debuted a few weeks ago on the 8th Street corridor in Downtown Boise.
Some might say the City of Trees needs another pub like it needs more squirrels. But what about a pub that just pours German biers? Now that’s a different story.
Prost is a Seattle-based company with German-themed pubs there and in Portland. Many of the pubs are situated in hip neighborhoods. People come in droves for the select array of draft German brews and simple Bavarian-style pub grub.
Bustling 8th Street in Boise also rates high on the hipness scale, yet the diminutive space — a converted boutique across the alley from Red Feather Lounge — makes it more of a bierstube (a room for drinking bier) than a sprawling beer hall.
Keep this in mind if you plan on visiting Prost, as the place fills up early with those looking to score a table or a seat at the bar —unless you don’t mind standing up while quaffing beer. (It’s kind of hard to eat in that position, though).
Co-owners T.J. and Missy Sayles, who moved here from Seattle to open the pub, were smart to choose a smaller spot, because the place is almost guaranteed to be full on any given night. But many around town are asking if it’s big enough to accommodate all the German beer geeks who have suddenly come out of the woodwork.
Speaking of woodwork, T.J. Sayles, a contractor by trade, was in charge of the interior design. He’s created a rustic-looking space with dark-stained wood tables and a long wood bar, set off by the exposed brick walls.
The undeniable focal point is the line-up of bulbous ceramic draft towers that keep the German brews flowing.
Currently, the friendly and knowledgeable bartenders are filling traditional glass steins and pilsner glasses with 13 German draft beers — lagers, pilsners and wheat beers — offered in one-third liter, half liter and one-liter sizes. They serve bottled German brews as well.
For those who don’t like beer (bite your tongue now), Prost also offers a few ciders in the can and a short list of European and American wines.
I didn’t come to Prost for a glass of Riesling.
But I did show up for the Ayinger Celebrator ($5.25/ one-third liter), a delightfully dark double-bock lager with pronounced caramel and malty notes. It’s one of my favorite brews in the world.
Other lagers include an amber-hued Warsteiner Oktoberfest ($5.50/half liter) and an old-style Zwickelbier ($5/one-third liter), a cloudy and smooth unfiltered lager with a slightly skunky finish.
Pilsners also get lots of play, like the ubiquitous and light Hofbrau Original ($5.50/half liter) and Bitburger Pils ($5.50/half liter), a golden brew that boasts hoppy and nutty flavors, with a bit of honey on the finish.
As for the food, it’s clearly designed to accompany the beer without taking center stage.
A cook in the closet-sized kitchen in the corner assembles plates with assorted cured meats (from Bavarian Meats in Seattle), mustard and bread.
Gaston’s Bakery was commissioned to make the soft pretzels ($4.25 each). These twisted knots of dough, golden brown and sprinkled with kosher salt, get served warm with a dab of stone-ground mustard on the side.
A long pretzel roll ($7), smothered with melted cheddar and served with a dill pickle spear, wasn’t overly exciting, but it served its purpose of soaking up the brew.
Besides pretzels, vegetarians won’t find much on the menu, except for the gurken salat ($5.25), a mound of thinly sliced cucumber coated in a sour cream-dill dressing atop a bed of mixed greens.
Now let’s talk meat.
I grew up eating Bavarian Meats in Seattle, so I was happy to see a plate of landjaeger ($4), which is a spicy and smoky hunter’s sausage served chilled with stone-ground mustard and toasted slices of Gaston’s Bakery light rye.
I was also happy to sink my teeth into some braunschweiger ($10.50), a disc of velvety liverwurst (with a pronounced pate flavor) adorned with crisp Granny Smith apple slices, rye bread and sweet and spicy mustard.
The brotzeit teller ($9 small, $12 large) is a good choice if there’s more than one hungry person at the table. A wood cutting board comes arranged with cured meats (bologna-like jagdwurst and pepperoni-spicy cervelat), sliced cheddar and Swiss, apple slices, red-rimmed radish, stone-ground mustard and rye bread. I was kind of disappointed in the cheese selection, though. What about all those great alpine cheeses produced in Germany?
Hot meaty treats include the curry wurst ($7), a plump and juicy weisswurst link sausage (marbled with pork and veal) zigzagged with curry-infused ketchup, and a straightforward bratwurst sandwich ($7.50) draped with tangy sauerkraut. Both plates were missing the promised pickles, or gewurzgurken, if you will.
But you probably won’t care much about an absent pickle or two once you wrap your hands around a shiny stein of amber lager.
Statesman reviewers pay for their meals and attempt to dine anonymously. Email James Patrick Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org