On the holiday celebrating Mexico’s defeat of the French in 1862, a German biergarten opened in Downtown Lafayette. ¡Arriba, arriba, andele!
It’s the Wurst Biergarten, a Teutonic wonderland of bratwurst and brew, sauerkraut and ginormous pretzels. The venue, in assembly for several months, lifted the lids on its 8’x40’ re-purposed shipping container at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“Lots of happy people,” co-owner Robert Guercio says of the Wednesday evening opening.
The brats come from Earl’s Cajun Grocery and, like the brötchen buns from Poupart's that they’re served on, are made fresh several times a week. The Wurst will expand its menu in the coming weeks, but right now it’s uber authentic, serving three types of traditional brats: a white brat with dark chicken meat and hen, thyme and cracked pepper; a traditional beer brat with fresh garlic and a spicy beer brat, all served under a bed of German sauerkraut and choice of three types of mustard. On the side are pommes frites — hand-cut German “French” fries cooked in lard, which Guercio says is healthier than vegetable oil. The eatery will be adding traditional Bavarian pretzels and pastries to the menu soon.
The biergarten is dog-friendly and also features booths for arts/crafts and farmer’s market vendors. Guercio says he and his fellow owners are playing it by ear as far as summer hours, but will likely be open evenings until midnight on weekends when Lafayette’s adjacent bar scene can support late-night noshing. They also plan to add a misting system to cool off patrons during South Louisiana’s hot summer evenings. Live music is on the horizon, too.
But the Wurst Biergarten wouldn’t be a true biergarten without beer. “We couldn’t order the beers we wanted until we got our permits finalized, and it’ll take two to three weeks for those to come in,” he says. But as of Friday, the Wurst Biergarten will have, on tap natch, a selection of Trappist ales, Belgian saisons (unfiltered farmhouse ale), an organic honey brown ale from Austria and a traditional German Pilsner. The draught beers come in 22.5-ounce and 42-ounce servings. Can- and bottle beer of many popular North American beers, including Mexico and Louisiana, are also available, along with soft drinks.
“It’s really all about carrying beers that are unique, that you can’t get anywhere else,” notes Guercio.