Did someone say beer and brats?


Baked in a stone hearth, the Brat Haüs pretzel is a fantastic break from ho-hum “bar snacks.” Order the fonduta for dipping, and mix in some of that house-made whole grain mustard!


Anyone who knows Chef Payton Curry (perhaps from previous gigs at Digestif, Caffe Boa, Welcome Diner, or sightings at FnB) knows that when he gets passionate about a project, he throws his heart and soul into making everything no less than perfect.  But I gotta admit I had my doubts when he initially told me about his next big venture, a Scottsdale-based German biergarten featuring a variety of brats, burgers, and craft beers.  I had to wonder if that genre was going to be a big enough canvas for his creative chef-foolery.  

But as the weeks progressed and I saw (via social media, of course) Payton and partner Dave Andrea gradually transform the old Oregano’s space near Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Boulevard into a biergarten worthy of the streets of Frankfurt, those doubts began to disappear.  Payton and Dave admittedly don’t take themselves too seriously, and this shows in every detail of Brat Haüs—from the funky light fixtures crafted from steel beams and old ammo boxes formed into wall décor and condiment holders to the whimsical outdoor mural (which will change every few months) and the Bru Haüs restroom door (aptly labeled “Beer Recycling”).

Brat Haüs is kind of a funny, disjointed place, all pulled together by the large biergarten in the center, which, in the cooler months (think Oktoberfest!) promises to be the place to hang out with friends, drink a few brews and play a game of washers or two.  The back kitchen is where all the natural meat, straight from the Midwest, is ground and cased into an eclectic variety of brats, which are then smoked before they head into the front kitchen, where they’re finished off on the grill. Attached to that kitchen is the “market,” where you can purchase a selection of brats and goodies to take home, or simply hang out and grab a brat to go or dine in.  Another small outbuilding houses the Bru Haüs (i.e. bar), serving up a solid selection of German, Belgian and North American beers (warning: the Belgian beers are pricey), wines, artisan sodas, shakes (“adult” versions available), and even an adult butterscotch root beer float made from root beer schnapps…yum!

The Moroccan Lamb Brat, paired with Apricot Onion Chutney and served on a lightly toasted roll with house-made pickles, was a great choice.

The menu is simple but fascinating. Who knew you could get so creative with brats? Oh sure, you wimps can stay traditional (Beer Bratwurst, Spicy Brat, Sweet Brat, Thai Chicken, Vegan Grain Sausage, Kosher-Style Beef, Spanish Pork Chorizo and Chicken with Roasted Chiles)—but why not be adventurous and try the gourmet brats (Duck Duck Dates, Moroccan Lamb or Turkey Loukaniko) or the even more off-the-wall exotic selection (Rabbit & Hops or Rattlesnake Ripper)?  There’s always a “guest chef sausage” created by one of Payton’s colleagues in the Valley, with proceeds going to charity (the menu debuted with a barbecue pork and jalapeño brat from Chef Justin Beckett).  Choose your brat, then choose your topping (sauerkraut, spicy peppers, pickle relish, root beer onions, apricot onion chutney, or pickled red onions…all house-made).  Can’t decide? Ask for pairing recommendations—the friendly servers are more than happy to offer suggestions.

Make sure you’re hungry if you order The Pig Mac!

If you’re more in the mood for a burger, you’ve got three tasty options, including The Pig Mac (pun intended; Payton’s famous for ’em), starring two quarter-pound patties (one pork, one beef), lettuce, pickle, caramelized onion, and “hush hush” sauce.  My husband could barely finish this—but perhaps that’s because we started off by sharing a delicious pretzel (stone hearth baked in-house) with a beer-and-cheese-laden fonduta for dipping, and then tried the thrice-cooked Belgian fries. For those preferring lighter fare, go for the salads (spinach, beet or chopped wedge), all said to be stellar, particularly the beet (beets, sunflower sprouts and seeds, and apricots with a honey-citrus dressing).

But whatever you do, try to save room for the Drunken Date Cake—as the menu says, an “intoxicating” sponge cake made with Oatmeal Stout.  I tried this on a subsequent visit and was blown away.

And what better excuse to check out Brat Haüs than today (Thursday, August 16), which just happens to be National Bratwurst Day? In fact, Brat Haüs is offering free buns and homemade mustard and sauerkraut for all retail brat orders through the market section of the restaurant: simply call in your order for brats and fixins, pick up and have a sausagefest in your own home—if for some unfortunate reason you can’t hang around the Haüs.  Dust off your lederhosen and head on over!

Brat Haüs is located at 3622 N. Scottsdale Road, just north of Goldwater, next to Salty Señorita. Open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.  Telephone 480-947-4006.  Parking can be tricky; either find a place on the street nearby or, rumor has it, you can park in the Salty Señorita lot—but you might want to check first!

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2 Responses to Did someone say beer and brats?

  1. Chuck S says:

    My wife and I stopped in after recognizing the name from their FB page. We’d driven up from Tucson for something else and had to drive back, so sadly we weren’t able to do much beer testing. We did order food, although the delicious-looking oktoberFest Menu foods (schnitzel, etc.) we saw on the FB page weren’t on offer.

    The atmosphere of the restaurant is funky and fun, and it was too bad that the temperatures were too hot to sit outside in the beer garden. We somehow came in through the back door of the beer garden (parking is a little tricky), but fortunately the hostess stand was right out in plain view. We had to choose between the Bru Haus and the Brat Haus which are separate from each other. We sat in the Brat Haus, which was unfortunately rather warm inside, although the A/C did come on weakly after a few minutes. (It actually felt cooler outside when we left, because there was a bit of breeze by that time.) We were seated at a two-top table, which would prove inadequate to hold the food when it came.

    We ordered the Fundido, and each a brat (beer for me, sweet for my wife), along with some fries. It turned out to be a lot of food, and all good. The Fundido was a beer-cheese sauce with two freshly baked pretzels that were so hot we couldn’t touch them for a while after they arrived. The cheese sauce was delicious and tangy, although the texture seemed kind of grainy. The pretzels were very, very good. Being so freshly baked, they were very crisp on the outside (virtually every pretzel we ate in Germany had cooled and the outside was softer), but the inside was chewy and moist. The flavor was unique, slightly sweet and hearty, which I assume from the (whole wheat?) flour they are made with.

    The brats were both good, although I preferred the beer brat. I was surprised at how lean they were, not greasy at all. The rolls they came on were a little disappointing, commercial-looking and bland, with more roll than was needed to showcase the sausage. The brats came with six different condiments (several mustards, ketchup, curry ketchup, mayo, etc.), and I recommend the really authentic whole-grain mustard. The brats come with several choices of side, and we chose the very well done sauerkraut that was fresh, crisp and very tasty.

    The Belgian fries were really good, served in a paper cone. One niggle was that the larger fries ended up in the bottom of the cone, with the scraps and shorts laying on top. This is probably because they fries were just dumped into the cone from the fry basket. It’s unfortunate that the visual impression of this is so disappointing, because the flavor and texture of the fries is so good. We couldn’t eat them all, and my son was more than happy to reheat them for a snack the next day!

    The service was pleasant and prompt, and we were visited by the Assistant Manager during our meal. Our server actually used great initiative by commandeering a stool to use as a table ‘annex’ so we didn’t have food falling off of our table.

    We’ll come back to the Brat Haus. Despite the hitches, the food was good, the service was good, and we enjoyed the experience. We plan to visit when we have a local hotel room, so we can see just how “German” the beers there really are. Maybe it will be cool enough to sit outside next time!

    • barbara says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Chuck. Personally, I WAY prefer the Bru Haus over the Brat Haus (which strikes me as more of a place to hang out while you’re waiting for your “to go” items). The atmosphere in the bar has always been great. REALLY looking forward to Oktoberfest, but unfortunately we’ll be away the weekend of the “tapping”! Still, am sure we will “partake”!!! Chef Payton does an amazing job and is VERY enthusiastic about anything he is involved with!

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