Franz’s Lagerhaus is one of those small strip mall restaurants in a quiet suburb that could easily go unnoticed…if it weren’t for the beer. Franz Rothschadl has been brewing delicious, award-winning beer in Palm Harbor, Florida for over 20 years. And this isn’t just your ordinary beer, either. Franz isn’t afraid to brew a Lambic or a Belgian-style Tripel. His latest offering is the 1516 Zwickel, brewed by Weihenstephan (the oldest brewery in the world) to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of German Beer Purity Law—the law restricting beer ingredients to water, barley, and hops. Zwickel (pictured below, right) is an unfiltered, Bavarian-style lager brewed since the Middle Ages.
Drinking a cold beer outside on a beautiful day is one of life’s simple pleasures—one that Lagerhaus makes easy with their authentic Munich-style beer garden (pictured above, left). But there is more to Lagerhaus than just great beer and a great beer garden. It is their commitment to celebrating Bavarian beer culture that really won me over.
Throughout the year, Lagerhaus hosts several Bavarian-inspired festivals, including an Oktoberfest in Fall and a Frülingsfest in Spring. Oktoberfest requires no introduction. Frülingsfest, which literally translates to Spring fest, is a mini-Oktoberfest celebrated in Munich and Stuttgart each year from late April through early May.
Regular Lagerhaus customers who sign up for their loyalty club receive invitations to these events and other beer and food tastings via email. Lagerhaus also advertises their Bavarian-style fests through their Facebook page. It is thanks to Franz and his emails that I learned the German word for Spring fest and so many more fun snippets of Bavarian culture and language. Of all the breweries that make up the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail, Lagerhaus is the only one with a firm, delicious commitment to Bavarian culture.
This commitment extends from their beer to their food as well. You can get excellent Bavarian-style food at Lagerhaus any day of the week, including house-made bratwurst, schnitzel, spaetzl, and sauerkraut. During festivals, you often see them making schweinsbraten (Austrian-style roast pork) over a fire pit in the beer garden.
Lagerhaus’s Frühlingsfest is scheduled for April 16th this year—that’s next Saturday—from 3pm-12am. They will be grilling “authentic fest food” over the fire pit in the beer garden, and serving the 1516 Zwickel to celebrate 500 years of Reiheitsgebot (Purity Law).