11:29 8-5-2010

Bob from our St. Louis Group called 2 weeks ago and insisted that Vonia and I some visit them. After landing late on Friday night, we drove directly to Sully’s. It’s a near old beer bar directly at the Belleville City limits. It’s long and narrow with a really neat beer garden in the back – with a large brick outdoor fireplace and lots of greenery.

Bob from our St. Louis Group called 2 weeks ago and insisted that Vonia and I some visit them.

After landing late on Friday night, we drove directly to Sully’s. It’s a near old beer bar directly at the Belleville City limits. It’s long and narrow with a really neat beer garden in the back – with a large brick outdoor fireplace and lots of greenery.

A bunch of the gang was there and we enjoyed the Pilsner Urquell that Sully and Jackie keep on draft. A guy on guitar played songs everyone could sing along to and we spent several hours there. The also had the picture of the Frey’s with Vonia and me at the Ochsenbraterei and lots of our coasters scattered about. Retiring to Bob’s house I poured over his beer stein collection while we enjoyed a final beer (Heineken). We hit the sack around 2 AM.

In the morning we had breakfast and went out to Art on the Square in Belleville, Illinois. There were a ton of booths set up and lots of people braving the rain. We perused the many stands – some really great stuff like turned stone bowls, kinetic sculpture, and colored glass. We talked the beer guys and learned that Bob’s new beer, Magic Hat, was selling like, well, magic. I tried the Boulevard Lager (good) and then Schlafly Wheat (not so good). After a while we had to duck inside a pub for shelter. The rain really poured and we found a table in an Irish Pub. Not only did they have Guinness, but also Paulaner. We enjoyed a couple of those with Bob & Ruth along with some homemade chips with vinegar. The other cool thing on the menu: Black & tan is known by all, but this place offered “Black & White Trash” – Guinness and Stag – very funny!

Belleville has a long history and a lot of connections to the “old country.” They are sister cities with Paderborn, Germany – located far in the northern part of Germany. Many of the farmers and townspeople in the area stem from this area of Germany. After the art show we toured a few of Belleville’s historical neighborhoods, including Colonel Koerner’s house – a friend of Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln.

We then found our friends back at Sully’s. Dean was manning the grill – pork steaks were on the menu and they were excellent. Annie made some interesting dips made with 3 different beers. Coupled with pretzel bread, they were delicious. Also wonderful was Tommy and Laura’s bacon-wrapped chicken & jalepeño Hors d’œuvres .. Added to that were many great sides and salads. We ate, drank and even sang a few songs together. Vonia and I were particularly touched by the fact that every single one of our guests in Bavaria turned out to be with us. Sully’s is such a friendly place – it seems that everyone knows everyone else there and it attracts a crowd of all ages – truly a great place.

Sunday morning we were treated to a German style breakfast followed by a fresh strawberry cheesecake which Ruth made. We then drove over to a German restaurant called Römer Topf. The owners came from Augsburg and the chef  apprenticed in Füssen! We had several beers – I went with the Paulaner Weißbier, of course. For lunch, we shared some Käsespätzle and then the Maultaschen and a potato pancake. I was surprised they had white asparagus as the special. I tasted a bit of that and it was excellent – as was the Schnitzel. I usually skip dessert, but I just had to test their “Spaghetti Eis” – vanilla ice cream extruded through a Spätzle press to look like noodle. Topped off with strawberry sauce and shaved white chocolate, it looks just like a plate of spaghetti. After a round of apple schnapps, I ordered a Maß of Warsteiner and we all sat outside for a bit. Though the skies were a bit grey, the temperature was really comfortable. The people running this place are doing an excellent job – great food which is highly authentic along with great beer. Happily, they also have a great start on a little biergarten.

Sadly we had to get to the airport and Bob timed our arrival perfectly. We got through security and waited just a few minutes for our plane. It was a great weekend with great folks we are privileged to know. We’ll be back!

By the way, check out the new website offered by Robert “Chick” Fritz Distributing:  www.chickfritz.com Of particular interest to my readers are the “Perfect Pour Videos” under the “Know Your Beers” section.

If you’re wondering if Vonia bought anything at the art show – she didn’t…but she has her eye on the turned stone works from Jack Richardson.