News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 13, 2014

Germany’s day

Bierstube fills with black, gold, red for final against Argentina

TERRE HAUTE — The atmosphere, which smelled delicious, was thick with excitement as dozens of German soccer fans crammed into the Bierstube Sunday afternoon for the World Cup final match.

At 3 p.m. sharp, the fans, most wearing the red, yellow and black colors of the German flag, rose to the German national anthem and then settled down for some tall beers and traditional German meals as the final match between Germany and Argentina got underway on big screen TVs.

“This is to us the Super Bowl,” said Yvonne Felling, who was pouring tall German brews behind the bar. Felling and Erika Cantin, another long-time employee of the Bierstube, were both raised in Germany before moving to the United States and settling in the Wabash Valley, and both were clearly in their element Sunday amid the Germans and germanophiles.

“I have a really good feeling about this game today,” said Sven Schaefer, a German national now living in the U.S. The last time Germany won the World Cup, he was also abroad, he said. “Every time I’m someplace else, they win.”

Seated next to Schaefer, Ashley Pruett was also dressed to show her support of Germany, including a ring of flowers in her hair. She worked as a nanny in Germany, which is how she met Schaefer, whom she called her “souvenir.”

“I love watching it in English,” Pruett said, noting that the success of the U.S. team this year broadened the audience for the World Cup. In the past, the games were available only on Spanish-language TV in her area, she said.

Cheers and moans rose and fell from the fans in the Bierstube as players from Germany and Argentina maneuvered the ball around the field. A few admitted to being a little nervous about the outcome.

“It should be a very good game,” Pruett said.

Michael and Cathy Judd, who took ownership of the Bierstube in May, were clearly enjoying hosting the World Cup final party. The restaurant, a long-time Terre Haute establishment on the north side, is normally closed Sundays. But, thanks to Cantin and Felling, word spread of the special event and the party was on, the Judds said.

“This is a very good turnout,” Michael Judd said surveying the soccer fans filling his restaurant with their eyes glued to the big screen TVs put in place for the final match. The restaurant, at 1724 Lafayette Ave., also hosted a party the day Germany walked over Brazil in the semi finals, 7 to 1.

“We had a full house” for that match also, Michael said.

Tall, dark German beers were the almost exclusive drink of choice Sunday, Cantin said as she tried to serve meals and beers while simultaneously watching the game. “This is wonderful to serve so many great people,” she said smiling.

The Judds note they are not turning the Bierstube into a sports bar, but they are enjoying this opportunity to do something different at the restaurant during the World Cup, Cathy Judd said. Germany’s success has provided a welcome boost to business during otherwise slow summer months, Michael noted.

Once all the hubbub of the World Cup settles down, the Judds will be adding a new bar to the restaurant, in addition to new menu items and new beer selections, they said. “We hope to expand our customer base,” Cathy said.

Meanwhile, Amy Bagnoche and April Wolaver were seated at a crowded front table with other fans watching the tension-filled final match. Bagnoche was willing to go out on a limb early in the game and predict a win for the German team, though she and Wolaver admitted to not really following the sport.

“We’re German fans, not soccer fans,” Bagnoche said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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