A full-blooded Bavarian builds an authentic biergarten on the plains of north-central Oklahoma.

HIS RECIPE is the same one Prince Luitpold of Bavaria uses to make beer in a wing of his Kaltenberg Castle. He buys his ingredients from the prince. And his brewery equipment--"every little screw"--is handmade and German (a German crew flew in to assemble it). In fact, one of Luitpold’s brewmasters spent a year in Moore training a local to brew the royal recipe correctly (a sample of every batch still goes home to the prince).

A German diplomat who had visited all fifty states in the union declared he had never expected to find such an authentic German place.

Could the Royal Bavaria Brewery, Restaurant, and Biergarten in Moore be any more au-thentic? Well, actually, yes. Seems owner Jorge Kuhne also serves his German beers alongside a one hundred percent authentic Bavarian menu that features some forty German dishes (nine different gravies alone). "We brew our beer. We bake our bread. We bake our pretzels," said Kuhne. "Everything is homemade."

A full-blooded Bavarian, Kuhne’s dream was to build something purely German to give Oklahomans a taste of his homeland. The unforeseen result, however, has been to give Oklahoma’s brewpub industry some instant credibility. Beer may date to early day Egypt, but it was the German Purity Law passed in the early 1500s that decreed beer could only include four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast, and water.

Most brewpubs in Oklahoma use those ingredients to make a hodgepodge of beers--from British to German-influenced. Kuhne, however, sticks to fresh, unfiltered, southern German beers. How to determine if a German beer is fresh? "The stiffer the foam, the fresher the beer," said Kuhne. "It would be an insult in Germany to serve a beer without a head." (This rule doesn’t work with British beers, which are brewed differently and do not produce much foam.)

Royal Bavaria brewpub in Moore.

From left, Royal Bavaria brewmaster Roger Steely and owner Jorg Kuhne.

Royal Bavaria lagers its lagers five weeks ("twice as long as any of the breweries") because it makes the beer smoother. "If you let it ripen itself without disturbing the liquid at all," said Kuhne, "you get the best results." (Most breweries don’t like to tie their tanks up that long.) When the beer is ripe, it is served. Such principles of supply occasionally interfere with demand: Kuhne usually has three beers on tap--a blonde lager, a wheat beer, and a dark Munich lager--but sometimes he only has one to serve if he is waiting on a batch to ripen. "I could serve it early, and they probably wouldn’t even realize it," said Kuhne, "but this is against our principles."

Such attention to detail has paid off. Germans who have visited Kuhne’s establishment in Moore have been heard to say, "Why did we fly 6,000 miles to end up in Munich again?" A German diplomat who has visited all fifty states was taken aback to find such an authentic German place in the middle of Oklahoma. And not long ago, a German customer was seen with tears rolling down her face. Kuhne asked her if something was wrong only to have her answer him in his own native dialect, "No, I am home."

It was the ultimate compliment. Observed Kuhne, "In Germany with a restaurant and brewery, I would be one among a hundred thousand. But here in Oklahoma, I’m one among a few. Here I’m a little exotic."

Royal Bavaria is located at 3401 S. Sooner Road in Moore, (405) 799-7666.
3 back © Oklahoma Today next 4