by Brooke Peipert
Germania Brew Haus in Alton, IL is something unlike anything in the area. While at a first glance of the name, one might think that this place is just another bar on a main street in America; there is, however, much more to it.
You can visit Germania in the morning for coffee and muffins and come back for beer and pretzels for dinner. Offering a plethora of choices, this gem of a place has something for just about everyone. A veteran-owned, family-operated business, it specializes in a rotating menu of German style appetizers, from pretzels the size of one’s own head to protein balls and muffins that are sure to not disappoint. A trained team of baristas whip up delicious things from lattes to Italian sodas. And Germania grinds its own coffee beans from a local coffee company. Patrons can also come back for a happy hour with Germania’s unique self-serve tap of over 12 arrays of beers and ciders from local and non-local microbrews. With the help of a micro-chip wrist band, customers activate the tap(s) of their choice and simply pay by the ounce, giving them the option of just trying a beer rather than having being forced into to buying an entire beer that you are unsure about liking. If it isn’t the tap system catching patrons’ eyes, it is typically the historical chandelier suspended from the ceiling and the cozy environment that quite literally feels like home. Grab a beer and walk up a flight of stairs to an upper level where hours can be spent enjoying the view of the Mississippi River from their rooftop deck or playing various board games that Germania employees have stacked on the shelves for patrons to play.
Germania has a lot more to offer outside of their delicious menu! In addition to being a coffee shop by day and self-serve tap by night, it’s a great place to find the historical walls flooded with art from local artists. Brooke Peipert with BLPart and Curating manages the art on the walls and hosts anything from opening receptions, charity art raffles, silent auctions, artist talks, and closing ceremonies. (For more info on art events coming to Germania Brew Haus, Like and Follow BLPart and Curating on Facebook.) The art on the walls rotate with each artist’s work hanging 6-8 weeks dependent on each individual show. Currently, the walls are adorned with the newest body of work entitled “The Indelible Spirit”, by Tracey Ippolito. You can be sure to be unexpectedly moved by Tracey’s in-depth paintings based on things like spirituality, mental illness, and what it is that defines the human experience. The show will continue through May 15th, and will close with a silent auction of smaller, unexhibited and even more affordable works by the artist. The artist will be available for a live talk and questions pertaining to her body of work. The closing reception will be on May 4th from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm with live music provided by Joey Ciaramitaro.
In addition to featured solo artist events at Germania Brew Haus (hosted by BLPart and Curating), is an event called “Coffee.Shop”. Every third Sunday, some of Alton’s most talented artisans set up to sell their handmade goods for the event. Come shop and support local artists, grab a coffee and embrace this place that roars with a unique charm that only Germania Brew Haus embodies. As a small business, Germania Brew Haus is an advocate for supporting a variety of artistic endeavors in the community, such as ‘The Night Market on Broadway’. The ‘Night Market on Broadway’ is a summer event that takes place in the pocket park between Germania Brew Haus and Jacoby Arts Center every Thursday beginning June 20th at 7:00 pm. Local artisans and vendors come out, live music takes place, and you’ll experience a vibe that will welcome you with open arms to come back again and again. The ‘Night Market on Broadway’ is a family-oriented event, including pets, so you really have no reason to not make it out to support local artists who are so passionate about selling their home-made and handmade goods that they return week after week, season after season. During the market, Germania Brew Haus collaborates by hosting an open mic night, beginning at 7:30 pm. The first open mic night will be on June 20th and continue every Thursday evening, so grab your guitar and head down to one of the best open mic nights in Alton. If you aren’t a musician, grab a beer and enjoy our little river towns’ local musicians. For more information on ‘The Night Market on Broadway’, Like and Follow their Facebook page.
With all this, Germania Brew Haus should be an inspiration to anyone thinking about starting a small business. The owners humbly run a family business providing the community with a place nothing short of unique. With options for everyone who visits, featured drinks and appetizers keep patrons coming back. In compliment to the ever-changing menu of beers, coffees, and appetizers, locals have really begun anticipating the new local art each month, often asking when the next show is when ordering their morning coffee. So, cheers to Germania Brew Haus for providing Alton with a business so willing to support our local artists and musicians in the way that they do. If you’ve yet to have the pleasure, go ahead and make your first visit and this little hotspot will keep you coming back.