Tyrolean Inn Restaurant (here
) is a German restaurant nestled in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I've been there for dinner a few times over the years, and it has never disappointed, but I've never written about it from a beer perspective before, so I thought I would do a write-up.
Alright, so yes, this is a German restaurant. An aggressively German restaurant. Old-school German.
The ambiance is very obviously German or Bavarian country. The building resembles a cottage in a forest: you'd expect Hansel and Gretel to come skipping out, on their way for an ill-fated walk in the woods (what the heck was the problem with the Brothers Grimm, anyways? who dropped them on their heads as kids?). It really looks perfect amongst the redwoods. Exposed wood, fireplace, old-world German signs and lettering everywhere, steins hanging from the ceiling. German polka music piped in (accordions and tubas and all), including the Chicken Dance (I'm sure there's a real name for that song?). The waiters wear very German-looking clothes (stopping short of lederhosen), and the watresses wear the St. Pauli Girl outfit (dunno, I'm sure there's a real name for it?). I cannot tell whether they are just "playing for the crowd" and trying to seem as stereotypically German as possible, or if this is actually authentic (or intended to be such), but on a definitely-schmaltzy level, it works regardless. This place oozes Germanic mood...
The food is always delicious and filling, as well. This time I had pork chops with bacon, pepper and onions, served with mash and red cabbage, I quite-hazily remember this as being something like Sweinze Kottlete mit Zweibeck und Speck, but of course, that's probably utterly wrong... Nonetheless, it was quite good, the sauce being at the same time creamy and spicy, and offset well by the smokiness of the bacon. My wife had some pseudo-vegetarian option (cauliflower and brocoli smothered in some kind of cheese sauce), and we brought home some schnitzel for my son. I had warm apple strudel and ice cream (ahem, Apfelstrudel mit Eiscreme) for dessert, which was quite good as well, with lots of cinnamon and raisins.
But of course, this blog is not about food, per se, except as an adjunct to...
Germans like their beer. This place has several German beers (erm, biers?) on tap. And I rather like beer. In the words of our latest-added, and most infamous supreme court justice, "I like beer."
I'm not, however, usually a fan of German beer... So for those of you how are partial to overflowing steins of lager, take my assessments below with a Salzkorn...
I had a taster - they absolutely do not call them flights, that's too airy of a word for those of grounded German stock - of 4 beers, and in no particular order, here were my thoughts:
- Kostritzer Black Lager - like a porter with lagering and lager yeast. That German hop and lager aftertaste. Initial presentation reminded me of bottled Kölsch beer I'd had as a young man, somehow (despite the fact that that style utilizes ale yeast at lagering temperatures). Overall, too lagery for my taste. Bread-like after-taste shows up once the lagery taste subsides. Still, it was interesting trying a dark lager.
- Erdinger Dunkle Heffe-Weissen - another dark beer, this time a dark wheat. Very little actual taste, nothing like the heffeweissen taste I'm used to. Like drinking club soda with finer bubbles and slightly more body. Very drinkable, and would be quite refreshing on a summer afternoon after mowing the lawn - I imagine, were I someone who mowed any lawns, or even had a lawn to mow - but then so would a tall glass of water - were I someone who enjoyed drinking water... But seriously, as a refreshing beverage, it would work.
- Erdinger Heffe-wesien - a cloudy wheat. Like the dark one above, almost no flavour profile, but very drinkable.
- Weihenstehan Lager - From "the oldest brewery in the world" (by which I imagine they mean the oldest still-running brewery in the world)... This was quite flavorful, I actually quite enjoyed it. Old world hops (tastes like Hallertau maybe?), good malty balance, nice bittering and flavour. A good mouth feel, and while still thin like a typical lager, it had enough body to please the palate. I don't think I could drink a lot of it, but as a taster it was quite good. I would imagine this would be quite the crowd-pleaser at a German beer festival.
I was struck by the distinct lack of any nose whatsoever in any of these brews. The tastes of the dark lager and the old-school lager were very similar, from a hop perspective (not so for the grain bill). Old-world hops aren't exactly known for pleasing aromas, and the German breweries have not exactly embraced hop-backing, hop-standing, or dry-hopping, so the lack of nose is pretty understandable, I suppose.
I'll definitely be back to this place frequently. The food is great, the atmosphere delightfully kitschy, and I could stand to develop a better appreciation for the "lager side of beer", if you will.