IF YOU GO
* What: SturmHaus Beer Market, 1120 Houston St.
* Phone: 423-648-1120.
* Website: www.sturm-haus.com.
* Hours: 1-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 1-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
* Price range: $2 (pretzels)-$12 (featured cheese plate).
Blink, and you could miss it. Sturmhaus, tucked into the side of a brick building on Houston Street a block from City
Hall, doesn’t cut an imposing figure from the street. Inside, however, it’s one of the most interesting neighborhood mini-bars in Chattanooga. More than a dozen local and regional beers, including some obscure but delicious favorites, are on tap at any given time. This ever-changing lineup of well-curated libations is complemented by coolers full of old reliables that are sold by the bottle. Until recently, that’s all there was. Beer, pool, shuffleboard and good company.
But man cannot live by liquefied bread alone. The owners of Sturmhaus learned this lesson shortly after opening their beer and growler bar and have quickly added a handful of festive delectables suitable for adults of all ages.
For such an intimate location, Sturmhaus carries an excellent selection of artisan cheeses, handmade sandwiches and irresistible snacks. Order a plate with any three of your favorite cheeses for $12, if you choose. Try some local favorites like Cumberland cheese from Sequatchie Cove Farms, Thomasville Tomme from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Ga., or Alabama Goat Leg from Belle Chevre in Alabama. Or reach across the globe for some Danish jalapeno
Havarti and Dutch Gouda, carefully selected to improve your beer experience.
For something a little more filling, order an Enzo’s Brat ($7), cooked in beer and served on a fresh bakery roll, with
Lowensef hot or medium mustard to complete the flavor. Enjoy a simpler domestic flavor with the No Woman Grilled Cheese ($5), so-named after the Wisconsin cheese used in its creation, which mixes caramelized onions, fresh
sliced tomato and Bluff View Sourdough to create a more upper-crust version of the old favorite.
Continue snacking on German-American fusion with the pretzel and beer cheese dip ($4). The perfect treat to wash down
with a delicious beer, this dish uses imported Laugen Bavarian pretzels from Munich that are served warm with Buffalo beer cheese dip.
I started off with a Cajun Mix ($2.50), a delicious handful of nuts and pretzels seasoned with a variety of spices that would make Emeril Lagasse’s mouth water. It’s a wonderful mix that blends happily with other foods.
Hungry for something a bit more substantial, I called for an Enzo’s Brat, which, though delicious, was over far too soon. The hot mustard went perfectly with the brat, which in turn went perfectly with a regional pilsner beverage I was working to consume. I finished up with a FID Chili ($4.50), which comes courtesy of the Flatiron Deli and arrives with shredded cheese and delicious Fritos for dipping. There’s nothing better on a cold night than a hot and ready bowl of homemade chili.
To place an order, head to the back counter. Menus are available upon request, and service is polite and prompt. The food is ready quickly — sometimes immediately — and never disappoints.
Sturmhaus is small, but it’s got spirit. Spartan tables and chairs are comfortable enough to enjoy a few beers and a meal, and the TVs tuned to sports channels provide a nice distraction when waiting on a dining partner. The space is bright, but not too bright, and includes a pool table and one of the best shuffleboard tables I’ve seen.
Street parking is always available, and the restaurant is within walking distance of many downtown offices such as TVA and EPB.
Affordable, friendly and fast, Sturmhaus doesn’t disappoint. Come for the regional and international beer selection, but stay for tantalizing treats that will tease your taste buds. If you’re not afraid to try new things, you could be surprised when Sturmhaus becomes one of your favorite haunts. Contact Ellis Smith at email@example.com or call 423-757-6315.
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...