December 31st, 2010  |  Published in Northeast PDX

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I’m German. Actually, German American. Or, more specifically, I’m an American with a German last name. Lately, I’ve had this burning desire to learn more about the place where it all began, a thirst for knowledge unquenchable by even the largest stein of German beer. I figure if nothing else, as a NBA fan, I owe it to Dirk Nowitzki to explore the cultural roots of my family name.

So the past few weeks I’ve been on a tangent to learn more about Germany. Here’s some of what I’ve discovered. Random fact #1: Germany became the world’s first country to adopt Daylight Saving Time (DST), in the year 1916. Random fact #2: After the Irish, Germans are the second biggest consumers of bier in the world. The average bier consumption of the country is over 31 gallons per person per year. Proof that there is some German ancestry somewhere in my bloodline. Random fact #3: Germany is roughly three times the size of the state of Wisconsin. Fitting, considering I’m from Wisconsin. And I love bratwurst and bier about three times as much as most of my friends. Further evidence of my German roots.

In an effort to fully immerse myself in a more authentic German cultural experience (skimming Wikipedia online just doesn’t cut it), I recently rallied some of my buddies to meet me at Prost!, a cool German style pub located in the Mississippi District in North Portland. It features a variety of imported German biers, a miniature bier garden in the back and bathrooms that seem slightly crowded because they provide extra storage for the pub’s kegs. How can you NOT love a place where the bathrooms are full of bier kegs?

Upon arrival, we stake out a corner booth. Soon after, our waitress delivers a round of German brews (try the Spaten Oktoberfest, very tasty) and recommends we try the sausage sampler. We roll with the punches. The sausages arrive atop a monstrous pile of sauerkraut and a pickle. Not bad, but nothing to write home about, especially if you are German (or a Wisconsinite). Next, we order another round of biers and sausages, this time opting for a bratwurst sandwich, specifically the “Hot German Sausage” (pictured) sandwich. Casually, I mention to the waitress that I’d like my sandwich sans sauerkraut. A depressing and slightly embarrassing thought invades my mind…perhaps I’m not German after all. Is it at all possible for a German to not like sauerkraut? To make matters worse, apparently ordering a brat without sauerkraut is sacrilege in German culture because the waitress glares at me as if I just announced to every patron in the bar that her pretzels were soggy. In fact, so appalling was the request that it would ultimately be denied; my sandwich came loaded with sauerkraut anyway. Channeling my inner David Hasselhoff, I did the only thing I could think of to remedy the situation. I ordered another litre.

The sandwich was actually quite good, not too spicy as promised but enough zip to keep you warm on a cold Portland night. My biggest complain would be that the portions are not very filling. For $8, the sandwich should come with a pickle and some potato salad at the very least. Then again, maybe I would have been more satisfied had I not scraped a healthy heaping of sauerkraut off my sandwich.

Overall, the pub itself is a great place to meet up with some friends and enjoy some authentic German craft biers. In fact, when we visit again (and we will definitely be going back), we plan on drinking from boots (google it) for some added fun.

The bottom line on Prost! is this; after some great conversation, good biers and a healthy buzz, we had a stop to make after leaving the pub to take care of a little unfinished business. We went down the street for pizza.

Brat from Prost

Bratwurst from Prost

Different angle of the brat from Prost

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