Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday August 14th 2010
Gerst Haus, Interstate Dr and James Roberton Pkwy, Nashville, TN
The Melrose Billiards was an establishment I would frequent from time to time for use of their shuffleboard table kept in the molding game room towards the back. Usually just one beer would be purchased from the un-enthused, un-conversational, frowny faced bartender, who although he must have noticed, cared not in the least about the rest of the beers we snuck in via backpack through the back door. Inconsiderate times. The one purchase I would make to justify my time on the shuff table would be a Gerst. A strange beer with a strange name, who’s origins always escaped us until, while circling around the stadium area downtown one day in attempt to free our incarcerated friend, we noticed the Gerst Haus. A German sausage house ripped from its Deutschland soil and deposited near the interstate in Nashville, TN.
Crom spoke wonders of their schnitzels, wursts, krauts, dense potato based sides, and live polka band, all of which he took in on his birthday while I was living out of town. With my birthday only days away, and Rat Bastard rambling on about RV’s in my kitchen fresh off a red eye from Miami, the Gerst Haus seemed like a good place for a mid afternoon celebratory detour. Old Vanny made the rounds, picking up the crew from their various living quarters in West Nashville, until at nearly full capacity she whisked us onto the interstate and took us to the Gerst Haus’s general vicinity.
Although my only time spent in Germany was in an airport shuttle driving from Nuremberg to Munich after our plane was diverted due to foggy landing conditions, the Gerst Haus seemed authentically German in comparison to my hour and a half journey. It was pretty dimly lit inside, outside light refracted off stained glass panes that decorated the top of the windows. Everyone needed extra deliberation time on the menu, it was expansive and expensive, we all ended up spending like $20!?! We sipped these “fishbowls” of Warsteiner while we waited, but some went for the Gerst.
I absolutely love Bratwurst, but I wanted to try something new and ended up siding with the Knackwurst dinner. Two full Knackwurst sausage links, made of a beef and pork combination, with sides of Spaetzle and Sauerkraut, and two pieces of rye toast. The Spaetzle I was told was a potato dish, and I believed it while eating it, it was reminiscent of a Gnocchi, and had the texture of some type of curds. In reality I guess it’s a heavy blob shapen egg noodle, which they topped with a brown gravy. I mixed it all together with some of the horseradish and beer mustard, heavy but excellent.
The Knackwursts were encased in a tight skin with a juicy pale meat mash inside. Honestly they were just okay. Maybe I’m not a Knackwurst guy, but I think it’s more likely that the Gerst Haus doesn’t have the best ones. Especially after trading a piece for some of Crom’s Bratwurst, I realized how grave a mistake I had made. The Brat was amazing, soft and crumbling beautifully flavored meats, prepared without flaw. Whereas the Knackwurst had a tougher outside that didn’t rip uniformly, appearance and taste wise resembling a pre cooked Kielbasa you’d find in the grocery store. It’s not like I didn’t eat it or anything! I dug into those puppies, mixing each bite up with a bite of rye and what I thought was a heaping helping of Kraut, until once the sausages were about done I realized my Kraut bowl was still pretty much full. I’d eaten a lot of it. I don’t know what they expect you to do with that much Kraut. I tried a few spoonfuls of it straight, but something was missing, what was it? Oh yeah, anything else.
We attempted to wrap up the occasion, but Rat insisted on ordering some fresh pretzels, foolishly declining his side of beer cheese. “I don’t need any beer cheese.”, he said. ???. And so the rest of us reclined with hands on stomachs, breathing a little heavier, spectating upon the dual pretzel post Bratwurst dinner and fishbowl consumption, which furthered our feelings of over satiation.
The ride back wasn’t as chatty, and when we got back home Rat instantly laid down on the carpet with his guitar case as a pillow and launched into a helicopter snore. The gravitational pull of my bed was irresistible, and under its trance, I was sucked in, waking up three hours later, having to re-reorient myself to the day.