Griffith craft brewery opens patio

New Oberpfalz Brewing's Dan "Gus" Lehnerer. His craft brewery recently significantly expanded its seating by adding a patio.

GRIFFITH | People enjoy the outdoors in plenty of ways in Griffith: biking on the Erie Lackawanna Trail, shooting hoops downtown, clambering up the World War II tank in Central Park, attending one of the many festivals, or fishing while the sun sets on the lake at Oak Ridge Prairie.

Add craft beer to that list.

One of the town's three new craft breweries has added a patio, and a second one will soon.

New Oberpfalz Brewing, the Bavarian-themed craft brewery at 121 E. Main Street, has greatly expanded its capacity by adding outdoor seating. Wildrose Brewing at 1104 E. Main Street also soon hopes to add enough al fresco tables to seat 20 to 30 more customers at any given time.

Owner Karen DeJong said Wildrose's patio could open as soon as this week if it gets approval from the Indiana Excise Police.

New Oberpfalz will be able to accommodate about 24 to 32 more customers when the weather is nice, boosting its capacity to around 100, owner and brewer Dan "Gus" Lehnerer said. 

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In keeping with the German beer hall vibe, the area includes planter boxes with long grasses and flowers that include petunias. 

"We wanted to make it look nice and add to the fabric of Griffith," Lehnerer said.

The hope is the patio area will attract more cyclists coming off the nearby trail, who have sometimes been apprehensive about coming inside the taproom when they're sweaty. They're always welcome in the taproom but might feel more comfortable outside, Lehnerer said.

"We encourage everybody to enjoy the weather," he said. "It's shaded in the afternoon and there's an open breeze. It's an interesting area. There are trains in two directions, and planes fly overhead on approach to the Griffith-Merrillville Airport."

New Oberpfalz also recently expanded its taproom hours from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.