One of my favorite autumn activities in eastern Iowa is a visit to Amana. Quaint little shops, the down-home General Store, local theatre, Millstream Brewery and the village’s simple feel make for a great afternoon of shopping and relaxation, and, of course, eating.
There are good options for dining in Amana, and the newest on the scene is Millstream Bräu Haus, located in the old Colony Inn, right around the corner from the Millstream Brewery. Though it’s only been open for about a month, Bräu Haus provides the same feel as Amana itself: hearty simplicity at its finest.
The menu options thus far are fairly limited. There is one page of food offerings, with burgers, brats, spätzle and pretzels, and one page of beer options, featuring Millstream’s own wide selection accompanied by Sutliff Cider and a rotating guest beer (currently from Lion Bridge). But this is by design, as there is no need for pages of entrees from which to select. Bräu Haus does what it does very well, and, in the tradition of Amana, the offerings are flavorful, local and filling.
I opted for the signature dish: Spätzle Makkaroni & Kase — a family recipe cheese sauce over plentiful spätzle noodles, served with the Mushroom & Swiss Bratwurst (they also offer brats in five other flavors: Back Road Stout, Honey Garlic, Andouille, Sriracha and Jalapeño and Cheddar). The cheese sauce is wonderfully subtle, the brats locally sourced from the Amana Meat Shop — and delicious. My companion and I also shared a Riesen-brezel (soft baked pretzel) as an appetizer, which was at least eight inches across and might constitute a meal in and of itself! Also served with the in-house cheese, it is easily the best pretzel I have experienced. Homemade cream puffs and cookies are available as well, so make sure to save room!
Coupled with a Millstream Back Road Stout, this meal may have been carb-heavy, but it was the kind of dinner that is so inviting, I wanted to keep eating even when I was well past full. My partner in crime chose one of the seasonal Millstream brews — the Pumpkin Imperial Stout — which I highly recommend you sample before it’s gone for another year. On a fine autumn day, enjoy it on the deck next to one of the fire pits.
Open a bit later than most of Amana’s other offerings, Millstream Bräu Haus is the perfect choice to wrap up a fun fall day in one of eastern Iowa’s tourist treasures, with a full belly and a darn good brew.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 208.