Von Elrod's, Where Beer, Bratwurst and Community Meet

By / Photography By Michiah Posey | March 02, 2018
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Von Elrod in Nashville
Von Elrod's, where community meets.

Drop in Von Elrod’s on a busy night or festival weekend and you just might find yourself in a stein-holding competition. Participants hold a 32 oz stein straight out, seeing who can hold it the longest. Drop the glass, spill your beer, or drop your arm below the 90 degree angle and you are disqualified. Last man or woman standing is the winner. Not up to that? Settle down in one of the “butt-hugger” benches right next to your neighbor. Contoured and angled to do just that, these massive benches stretch alongside tables spanning nearly the full length of the renovated 1950’s Trailblazer bus station. Whereas most restaurants are not designed to accommodate large groups, Von Elrod’s welcomes them with cozy communal benches and outstretched stein-holding arms. Patrons are naturally brought together, by principle and by design.

“We wanted the plumber and the mayor to sit next to one another and eat sausage and drink beer,” says CSO (Chief Sausage Officer) Jason Brumm, formerly of Strategic Hospitality. He and partner Austin Elrod Ray (M.L. Rose and A. Ray Hospitality) merged their visions of a beer garden and fresh sausage program.“Heir ist” Von Elrod’s was born.

With an atmosphere reminiscent of a corner bar or a well-planned tailgate (if only you had 15 types of sausages and 36 beers on tap for your tailgate), Von Elrod’s, which opened last fall, is inspired by the essence of 16th century German beer gardens. Long before the days of refrigeration, in the spring, breweries set up tables above the beer cellars, bringing people together over the “hoppy harvest.” True to that community spirit, at Von Elrod’s weekend brunch you will find kids and adults of all ages. Depending on the season, you will also find lawn games, dog-friendly seating, heaters for the winter and fans for the summer. During the warmer months, enjoy the open-air beer garden studded with strung lights, just a stone’s throw from the Sounds stadium.

Of course, bringing people together is not the only impressive thing about Von Elrod’s. The food is just as much a draw as everything else. Jason and Austin are serious about where their meat comes from. Together they have visited every farm that their chicken, pork, lamb, and beef come from. As Brumm explains, “We hold a high value on how the animal is treated, what it tastes like. Those two things have to align and they do naturally.” Von Elrod’s confronts the common saying “People want sausage, they just don’t want to see the sausages made,” with an open kitchen and large picture window showcasing their butcher room. All of their sausages are hand-cranked on site.

According to Brumm, Von Elrod’s is not trying to be the next Gerst Haus or Hofbrau Haus. The hostess stand does not say “Vil Common.” There are no lederhosen and dirndls, no blue and white banners. While there is some German influence and lineage for both Brumm and Ray, Brumm explains that they are really aiming to foster community celebration and joy above all else. “That’s not an old or a new world thing, that’s just an everywhere thing. We’re excited about what we’ve built. That was the idea to build something really familiar but not decorate it, not design it, not brand it as anything other than just a great hang. So community beer hall/ community beer garden.” We’ll drink to that.

Germantown Tuesdays | Tuesdays 4pm-close
1/2 off All German and Belgian Drafts
1/2 Off The Von Elrod Brat
1/2 Off Belgian Fries

Big Stein Thursdays | Thursdays 4pm-close. Get any BIG beer for the price of a small beer.

Article from Edible Nashville at http://ediblenashville.ediblecommunities.com/drink/von-elrods-where-beer-bratwurst-and-community-meet
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