Classic Bavarian Bier Hall brings more than 400 Years of Beer Brewing and Dining Expertise to Chicago Area

Rosemont, IL – Hofbräuhaus Chicago, the first and only German micro-brewery, beer hall and restaurant in the Chicagoland area, will celebrate its grand opening Monday, March 18 in MB Financial Park at Rosemont.  Located at 5500 Park Place, the custom-built 20,000-square-foot restaurant and brewery will be one of only four official Hofbräuhaus locations in the United States. Hofbräuhaus Chicago will adjust their hours of operation to accommodate the March 18 grand opening festivities. The restaurant will be open for regular business from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and will reopen at 5 p.m. for the official grand opening celebration, which is open to invited guests as well as the public. The  traditional keg tapping ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Space is limited and early arrival is suggested, as the restaurant will not be accepting reservations.

The grand opening festivities will feature live music from an authentic “Oompah” band all the way from Austria, a traditional keg taping ceremony with a parade led by a lively German bugle corp., delicious Bavarian fare (from a limited a’ la Carte Menu), and, of course, Hofbräuhaus Chicago beer, brewed onsite using 400-year-old-techniques.

At Hofbräuhaus Chicago, guests will feel as though they are stepping into legendary Hofbräuhaus in Munich.  With a menu replete with traditional Bavarian specialties served by Dirndl-wearing waitresses, nightly live entertainment from Germany or Austria, the Bavarian-style building also houses an on-site micro-brewery led by a brewmaster trained in the 400-year-old recipes and techniques needed for the production of Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s beer.  The venue captures Munich’s legendary Gemütlichkeit (a friendly, relaxed, hospitable environment) where guests sit at long, communal tables as they enjoy delicious fare and live music.

As the proprietors of the first and only authentic German micro-brewery, beer hall, restaurant and beer garden in the Chicago area, principals Joe Matuschka, Mike Matuschka and Ted Wynn, and managing partner team BCD (who established Las Vegas’ beloved Hofbräuhaus) have taken pains to create an environment as authentic and unforgettable as the 400-year-old original.

“We are excited to bring this classic venue to the Chicago area and MB Financial Park at Rosemont,” said Joe Matuschka. “Hofbräuhaus Chicago will be an experience unlike any other– with its lively sing-alongs, dancing in the aisles, standing on benches and wonderful hospitality– it is truly a must-visit destination.”

The spacious venue also features a Biergarten for the summer months that overlooks MB Financial Park and two comfortable rooms available for private parties that provide the ideal backdrop for a birthday celebration, wedding or corporate event. The Beer Hall or “Schwemme” seats more than 500 guests and the King Ludwig Room can accommodate up to 180 people for a unique celebration.

About Chef Klaus Lotter

Chef Klaus Lotter is a Chicago-area native who grew up enjoying his grandmother’s Northeastern German dishes at home.  Two years of intensive training at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont and an internship under renowned Chef Paul Bartolotta at Chicago’s Spiaggia restaurant gave Lotter the confidence to move to Germany. After an internship at Hotel Gasthof Gallus in Beilngries, he began working at the Four Seasons in Munich where Chef Andreas Mayer took him under his wing. That experience proved invaluable as after two years Klaus accepted his first sous chef job at Ristorante Aquarello in Munich — it has been going uphill ever since. Lotter moved back to the United States where he has served as a sous chef at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago and the executive chef at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort, Double Tree Hotel and Aramark at the Morton Arboretum.

About Brewmaster Ben Zollenkopf

Bavarian-born Ben Zollenkopf is the technical director of international brewing for Hofbräu München.  In this position it is his job to pour more than 400 years of Bavarian tradition into every ounce of the Hofbräuhaus Chicago beer. Zollenkopf first apprenticed as a brewer and maltster (one who makes malt—germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as “malting”) before he studied in Weihenstephan, Bavaria. After graduating as brewmaster, he worked in Chile for three years before spending five years as the brewmaster for several of Bavaria’s finest breweries.  Most recently he spent six years as technical director for startup breweries throughout the world.

The Beer Menu

Four beers will be brewed on-site at Hofbräuhaus Chicago. 

  • Premium Lager – the distinct aroma of fine hops whets the guests appetite for a full-bodied flavor
  • Dunkel – as the first type of beer to be brewed at the original Hofbräuhaus, this dark beer has a history as rich as its flavor
  • Light – both flavorful and refreshing, this calorie-friendly brew has a hoppy flavor that German beers are known for.
  • Hefe Weizen – brimming with fruity notes and a refreshing finish, this beer is a delicious complement to Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s authentic cuisine.

An array of seasonal beer offerings, including a special Oktoberfest Hofbräuhaus Chicago brew, will be available at various times throughout the year. Additional cocktails and an array of fine wines also are available.

Delicious Traditional Bavarian Fare

Chef Klaus Lotter ensures the authentic taste and quality of the Bavarian menu with mouthwatering dishes for every diner, including more than 20 Hofbräuhaus signature items.  Highlights of the menu include Münchner Schweinebraten (“Munich Pork Roast”) with vegetable garnish, dark beer sauce, and breaded dumpling; Schnitzel Wiener Art, a classic breaded pork cutlet served crisp and golden brown, so large that you might not find your plate, served with cranberries and homemade Bavarian potato salad; Münchner Weisswürste, two of Munich’s famous white sausages (veal and pork) traditionally poached or grilled with freshly baked original pretzel and sweet mustard imported from Munich; and Hofbräuhaus Platte, a great combination of Bavarian favorites, with smoked pork loin, pork roast, smoked sausage, dark beer sauce, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.�

In terms of ingredients, almost all items on the menu are produced on-site with genuine ingredients; no mixes or processed blends are used. Like the beer, whatever is not available locally in the authentic state is imported. The sauerkraut, for instance, is brought from Germany, yielding a smooth, creamy pickled cabbage that unlike most found in America, is not acrid or overpowering in flavor. �

Similarly, Hofbräuhaus Chicago flies in its pretzels frozen from a bakery overseas, then bakes them fresh for each table — chewy and perfectly browned on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. The pretzels are shipped from Germany under stringently monitored conditions, 30,000 to a container, with individual generators running constantly to keep them frozen. As they spend eight weeks on a ship, the temperature is constantly scrutinized, with no fluctuations beyond ten degrees allowed. Every three to four months, a new container of pretzels arrives, ready for pairing with rich, creamy Obatzder cheese and the American-established accompaniments of two German mustards—sweet and coarse-grained as well as a piquant onion version.

Daily lunch specials are available for $9.95.�

Hofbräuhaus Chicago

Hours of Operation
Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. – midnight
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Live Entertainment Schedule
Sunday: Noon – 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Monday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday: 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Saturday: Noon – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Hofbräuhaus Chicago is located at 5500 Park Place in Rosemont, in the MB Financial Park at Rosemont.  Free parking is available in the lots adjacent to the building or in the nearby parking garage (free with validation.)  An on-site gift store is filled with unique gift items, apparel and traditional beer steins.  The phone number is (847) 671-BREW (2739).  For more information, visit hofbrauhauschicago.com.

A Brief History of the Hofbräuhaus

In 1589, Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria, dissatisfied with the beer that was being brewed locally, retained brew master Heimeran Pongratz to create a rich brown ale that both suited his palate and followed the rigorous “Bavarian Beer Purity Law” of 1516 that stated that only natural ingredients could be used in the brewing process. Beer (like bread) was considered a basic foodstuff at the time, as well as a beauty treatment for the ladies of the court, who typically consumed seven liters daily.  Beer from the Hofbräuhaus (which means official brewery for the Duke’s court), quickly grew in popularity and in 1602 a wheat beer was developed at the request of Wilhelm’s son and successor Duke Maximilian I.�

By 1607, the need for 38,000 gallons each year necessitated a move to larger brewing quarters, so Munich’s Hofbräuhaus was erected in its current location. In 1828, responding to complaints from Munich’s ordinary citizens that they were not permitted to enjoy the Hofbräuhaus beer from the royal brewery like the public employees, Ludwig I issued a decree granting a license for the beer and cuisine to be served publicly in the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, giving commoners the opportunity to lift steins at the same table as the gentry. Thus, the Hofbräuhaus Inn that attracts millions each year was opened.

Today, Hofbräuhaus is an iconic symbol of Bavaria with indelible ties to the Munich’s history.  During the Thirty Years War when the Swedes occupied Munich, they struck a deal with city leaders: in exchange for not pillaging and plundering the city, they would leave peacefully if given 362 buckets of Hofbräuhaus beer. In 1780, Mozart credited the Hofbrauhaus with providing him the strength to write his opera “Idomeneo.”

On October 12, 1810, the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen involved all the citizens of Munich; the celebration grew into the Oktoberfest, an annual festival now so closely associated in the minds of many with the Hofbräuhaus.   In January 1823, Hofbräuhaus beer was used to extinguish a fire at the Munich Opera House when firefighters discovered their water supply frozen.  In 1935, composer Wiga Gabriel and lyricist Klaus Siegfried Richter wrote the famous Hofbräuhaus song – “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus – oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” (“In Munich there’s a Hofbräuhaus – one, two, and down the hatch!”).

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