Beer garden in the works for downtown Montgomery

Two Montgomery residents are hoping to give the Capital City a taste of Germany by launch a Kickstarter campaign to help open a biergarten in the downtown area.

Adam Warnke and James Weddle set their sights on opening Goat Haus Biergarten in the historic neighborhood of Cottage Hill nearly two years ago, but the business partners decided to first get their creative hub, AIRR, off the ground first.

"This was just a great opportunity to add something really cool and neat to this area," said Warnke. "It's been in our long term plan for a while, but we're finally to the point where we're ready to get things going."

AIRR consists of three houses on Clay Street that serve as space for anyone looking to launch a creative project in Montgomery. The third house, which formerly was the home of the Sassafras Tea Room, will house the Goat Haus Biergarten as well as the Karma Gastropub.

Warnke, a Cullman native and Auburn University graduate, said he got interested in opening a biergarten after visiting a few while in Germany. Along with Weddle, Warnke said he hopes to add a much needed place for downtown residents and visitors to relax outdoors and enjoy a beer or two while taking in views of the city as well as the Alabama River.

"When we first bought these properties, we both knew we wanted to do a biergarten," said Warnke. "We thought the property lends itself very well to the idea since its got outdoor space and great views of river and downtown. Cottage Hill is up-and-coming so it would be a great spot for it."

Warnke and Weddle have already raised more than 50 percent of their $10,000 goal through the Kickstarter campaign, which ends on March 16. Warnke said the money would be used to help spruce up the space by funding outdoor seating and landscaping as well as paying for additional beer equipment.

Goat Haus, which will be located at 532 Clay Street, will only serve beer and wine to begin with, but the owners plan to add food pairings to the menu eventually, including some of the more popular German fare like pretzels and hot dogs. As far as craft beer, Goat Haus will offer a wide range of beers with as much Alabama craft beers as possible.

"We've heard from a bunch of different factions that are excited about this," said Warnke. "There's a lot of Maxwell [Air Force Base] people and a lot of young millennials that are really eager to have a place to sit and enjoy the views, have a beverage and relax."

Warnke said that while they're optimistic about meeting their Kickstarter goal, Goat Haus won't be completely undone if it doesn't happen. The duo said they still plan to open the biergarten, but it'll be on a much smaller scale.

"If we didn't reach our goal, we'd still get it started, but it'd be a very paired down," said Warnke. "We'd have to start really small and go from there. This funding would allow us to get started on the right foot and make a splash with our opening."

While they're planning for an early spring opening, Warnke and Weddle will host an open house for Goat Haus from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday for those interested in touring the space and learning more about their plans.

"It's an open house so people can come out, see the vision and talk to us," said Warnke. "Hopefully they'll be inspired and want to contribute as well."

For more information or to donate, visit the Goat Haus Biergarten Kickstarter page or Facebook page.

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