breu haus

Breü Haus serves up an array of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks in Sheldon.

“Strange Magic” floated through the speakers when I walked into Breü Haus Coffee & Brewery, and the opening music of “Ella Enchanted” concurs with my experience at the caffeinated bar on Second Avenue in Sheldon.

I moved to Sheldon at the end of January and I’m searching for new places to frequent, and — beyond the ambiance provided by Electric Light Orchestra’s third best song — the drinks at this cafe-taproom don’t bring me down.

At the suggestion of the bar(tender)ista on duty, I warmed up with a mocha, which I didn’t even see on the menu. Breü Haus likes to keep new items coming from the looks of its regularly updated Facebook page.

I’ve seen plenty of specialty offerings from trendy coffee shops, so the chocolate-laced java was nothing unique with its flavor. However, it did have one big point in its favor: I could drink it.

I mean that; the steamed milk and espresso was immediately sippable, unlike the overheated lava one may encounter at other establishments. I appreciated being able to enjoy my drink without waiting through half the shop’s playlist for it to be safe for human consumption.

On the topic of health, Breü Haus’ open floor plan may be a bit cavernous for some tastes, but it makes the watering hole an ideal spot to maintain distancing in our still-churning pandemic. Once N’West Iowa gets vaccinated, the space also looks promising for those looking to avoid an overcrowded bar experience.

It owes its spaced-out blueprint to the building’s previous tenant, the Iowa Department of Transportation. Owners Lora Meendering and Tami Vander Veen bought the former DOT property in fall 2019 and opened Breü Haus last summer. Being open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, the right drink is on tap whenever it’s needed.

The age-restricted beverages hold up their side of the menu. One patron told me he was enjoying their Ruby Parker — the brewery’s dark, malty Munich dunkel — so I took his word for it and went toward the lighter side of the list with the house IPA.

It hit all the notes my inner hipster was thirsty for: sharp, juicy and fresh. What struck me most was its approachability. The pale ale still had its signature hops, but it stayed away from being so hazy as to ward off the Busch Light drinkers out there. The menu simply lists it as “IPA” but if the Breumasters are looking for an apt label, a suggestion: Mr. Blue Sky.

My two drinks combined totaled in the single-digit dollar range. That’s partially because I only got a flight-sized beer — and I’ll be getting a full pint next time — but the listings are affordable for anyone looking to get a break from the drip coffee and six packs at home. It’s a nice little luxury without the sticker shock that could easily accompany an upscale-styled place like this.

The balance between the trendy and the typical is what Breü Haus does best. It’s got its warehouse vibe without being too cold. It’s cozy enough to enjoy familiarity without droning sameness. It’s exactly the kind of place that can thrive in Sheldon, now and in our eventual post-outbreak future.

Or, with less words: It’s been charmed with a bit of strange magic.