Organizers of Barrington’s inaugural ChristKindlFest just finished lining up all of the beer and food vendors for the three-day outdoor winter market and festival coming up in downtown Barrington on December 6th, 7th and 8th. The result is a mouth watering mix of authentic German fare for our community festival which is expected to draw thousands of people from Barrington and the surrounding Chicagoland suburbs. Because we just couldn’t wait to learn more about the beer and food that will be served at the fest, we dropped by to visit one of ChristKindlFest’s featured food vendors, Bauer’s Brauhaus, a German restaurant and bar on Slade Street in neighboring Palatine.
That’s where we met one of the owners, Jan Bauer Simpson, who will be at ChristKindlFest with her family serving authentic German brats, cheese curds, warm pretzels with mustard and apple strudel.
The Bauer’s Brauhaus restaurant menu includes many recipes they have inherited from ancestors who originate from a town called Ulm in southwest Germany, also the birthplace of Albert Einstein.
Jan and her brother Jason run the kitchen at Bauer’s Brauhaus in Palatine and they also provide the German food for Palatine’s Oktoberfest. We asked Jan to give us a taste of what they’ll be serving at Barrington’s ChristKindlFest and visions of strudels danced in my head the minute she put the plates on our table.
Brats with Homemade Sauerkraut
Bauer’s Brauhaus will be serving both hotdogs and brats at ChristKindleFest. When I took a bite of one of their brats, I thought I died and went to homemade sauerkraut heaven. “The great thing about our brats is that we cook them in beer so they’re moist and juicy and, for the festival, you’re going to have a choice of a plain brat or a brat with our sauerkraut which is homemade right here in our restaurant.”
Fried Cheese Curds
I actually never had fried cheese curds before I tried them at Bauer’s Brauhaus on Friday. I developed an instant craving at first bite. They serve a side of ranch dressing with their curds for dipping which is the perfect cool complement to these warm, crispy, cheese-filled treasures. “We get them from a dairy co-op in Wisconsin. They’re nice and big and puffy and you get them fresh out of the deep fryer. Dip them in some ranch and they’re sinfully good.”
Warm Baked Pretzels with Mustard
What can I say? With the German beer that will be flowing at ChristKindlFest, you simply can not go wrong with a warm baked pretzel! “We import our pretzels from Bavaria so it’s an authentic German pretzel that we finish baking here at the restaurant. They’re doughy yet crispy and we serve them here with yellow, spiced Bavarian or whole grain sweet mustard or a house made German beer cheese dip.”
And the grand finale will be one of Jan’s specialties and favorite desserts, the apple strudel. “It’s just a great staple with any German menu. You start your snacking with a pretzel and a beer and you end it with a strudel and hot cider.”
Speaking of the perfect foods and beverages to warm you up during December in Barrington, here are some of the other offerings you’ll find this year at ChristKindlFest.
Kookers’ casual dining restaurant has something for everyone including hot dogs, burgers, Vienna beef, shakes, fresh-cut fries, burritos, salads and “unbeatable” thick and rich flurries.
228 W. Northwest Highway
Barrington, IL 60010
McGonigal’s Pub will be serving assorted hot soups.
McGonigal’s offers a traditional Irish Pub setting with a warm, fun and inviting atmosphere plus 20 beers on tap and delicious Irish fare. Best sellers from their menu include fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and boxtys plus the “best burger in the region”.
105 S. Cook Street
Barrington, IL 60010
Riverside Chocolate Factory in McHenry will be serving Egg Nog and assorted chocolates. Known for their hand-dipped fruit, chocolate covered nuts, turtles, peanut butter and chocolate, fresh cremes, homemade fudge and old fashioned English toffee, Riverside will offer the perfect way to treat your friends and family throughout the three-day festival.
2102 W. Route 120
McHenry, IL 60051
Two Samuel Adams beers will be available at ChristKindlFest, including their Winter Lager, a seasonal brew they describe at SamuelAdams.com as “Bold and rich, with a touch of holiday spice.”
“Unlike many winter warmers, our brew is a spiced bock using a larger yeast that creates a smoothness and crispness to balance the deep malts. Samuel Adams is brewed with fresh ground cinnamons that offer just the right warming spice to complement the beer without overpowering it.”
They will also be pouring Samuel Adams Boston Lager at ChristKindlFest. Samuel Adams describes its full flavored Boston Lager or “Amber Lager” as bold, rich and complex with a distinctive balance of spicy, complex hops, slightly sweet roast malts and a smooth finish.
“Almost 30 years after Jim Koch brewed the first batch in his kitchen, we still brew it today using his great-grandfather’s original recipe. Roasted & caramel malts impart a rounded sweetness and full, smooth body. The unmistakable character of this brew began as our original and became an American original.”
Two beers from the Warsteiner Brewery will also be served at Barrington’s ChristKindlFest, including its Premium Dunkel, an “exceptionally smooth, dark, German pilsener” and its Premium Verum, a “world-class international premium pilsener.”
This family-owned brewery is headquartered in the Sauerland region in the German state of Westphalia. Today, the company is managed by the 9th generation of the Cramer family. Its history of unparalleled rise from a mere regional beer to an international premium brand is rooted in the concepts and values of tradition and innovation.
It is a blend of California dry red wine and port with natural fruit flavors, spices and orange peel. “This will warm you up from the inside out.”
The Glunz family says their Glogg is best served “gently heated, alone or with a touch of brandy or Cognac.”
ChristKindlFest will take place in Barrington’s Harris Bank parking lot between Cook Street and Grove Avenue, where Cruise Nights are hosted during the summer. The Barrington Village Association, the same group that hosts the Barrington Farmers Market, has partnered with the Barrington Breakfast Rotary to plan the three-day event. In addition to authentic German food and drinks, the fest will feature retail vendors offering unique items and authentic German merchandise plus holiday-themed activities like carnival rides and a live reindeer display for kids plus live music day and night.
There will be no admission charge to attend ChristKindlFest during the day, but there will be a $5 cover charge for the evening activities. The event will run from 3 p.m. to midnight on Friday, December 6th, from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, December 7th and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 8th. Stay tuned for more upcoming ChristKindlFest features for a closer look at the retailers and scheduled entertainment planned. In the meantime, for more information, visit the festival website at ChristKindlFest.com and for your own taste of what’s to come, stop by and grab lunch or dinner at Bauer’s Brauhaus in Palatine. You’ll find their full menu at BauersBrauhaus.com.