EAT and Drink This Week: Himmel Haus’ Sauerbraten & Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest

On a typical week, we look to feature a dish and drink separately – a dish that looks to squelch those pangs of hunger and a drink that showcases the many places around the lake to whet your whistle. But, just like last week we are changing it up and combining both options to again celebrate the flavors and fun that is Oktoberfest.

Yes, we are once again dipping into the pool of Oktoberfest this week. The big celebration in Munich, Germany lasts two weeks, so why can’t we celebrate two weeks in a row, too? Whether you want to celebrate or not, we’re hitting you this week with some real German traditions – starting with the food.

Sauerbraten: Widely regarded as a national dish of Germany, this is not something that is quickly prepared – even a sloth might call this process slow. But slow or not, there’s mad attention to detail in Himmel Haus’ version.

Himmel Haus’ Sauerbraten.
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

It all starts with a beef roast that sits in a marinade mixture of red wine, vinegar, and anywhere from 12 -15 different herbs and spices (we’ll spare you the laundry list) for a minimum of seven days. When its week long soaking comes to an end, the beef is then slow roasted for about four hours and sliced fresh to serve. Well, I say slices, but the meat is so tender, it kind of just falls apart and falls in line right on your plate.

It is served with luscious gravy that is made directly from the marinade (with a few added ingredients), and topped with some fresh chopped parsley. It’s paired with garlic green beans and mashed potatoes (or, if you prefer, spätzle). I can get mashed potatoes anywhere, so you know I have to take advantage of a house made fresh spätzle when I can.

As you might expect, the roast is insanely tender and super juicy. The juxtaposing flavors of sweet and sour play the perfect game of tug of war on your palette and when you add the richness from the gravy, you can feel how those slow-layered flavors were built.

The green beans are cooked in olive oil with garlic and shallots to a perfect crisp-tender and the spätzle is even more glorious if you can swipe it through the left over gravy – that is if there’s any left.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest: If there’s an Oktoberfest celebration, there’s sure to be beer. And if you’re not able to attend the festival in Germany, what better way to ring in the celebration with a beer from one of only six breweries that are allowed to pour at the actual event.

Himmel Haus’ Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest.
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

This version from Hacker-Pschorr is a Märzen-style that clocks in at 5.8% ABV. The nose gives off a nice malty aroma, but super clean. The slightly bitter and tangy notes are supremely balanced and there’s a creamy sweetness, that when combined with the toasted malt taste, ratchets up the flavor, but not at the expense of being heavy – it’s actually quite light on its feet.

This beer will be tapped from traditional old wooden kegs as part of Himmel Haus’ 11th annual Pageant celebration on Saturday, October 7; starting at 8 p.m. Contestants are judged across a variety of different criteria to win the $1,000 prize, and whether you are competing or not, everyone is encouraged to attend in their best German attire. While the Pageant is only for 21 and over, all ages can still enjoy the food and Oktoberfest shenanigans leading up to the event. Prost!

Himmel Haus is located at 3819 Saddle Rd. in South Lake Tahoe. For menu items and additional information visit them online at or reach them via phone at 530-314-7665.

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