Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – midnight
Brewing success south of the Nebraska border
Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Company, which was voted Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, is a landmark in the heart of Hays, Kansas. The diner incorporates four storefronts which were acquired by the Liberty Group. Designer Chuck Comeau brought in the original components when designing the buildings by using limestone and I-beams to complete its industrial, yet modern feel. Hand-painted murals only add to the fantastic atmosphere, and history comes to life through the walls of Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Company.
The unique name comes from the community’s Volga German heritage. According to Gella’s website, Gella is a Volga German term meaning “you know” or “don’t you agree.” Back when field workers couldn’t stop to eat lunch, beer and bread played interchangeable roles, which is why Lb. stands for Liquid Bread.
Gella’s Lb. Brewing Company beers have won many prestigious awards, bringing home the gold, silver and bronze medals in the World Beer Cup, which is considered the Olympics of Beer Competitions, and the Great American Beer Festival. House beers that brought home hardware included No. 07 Raspberry Wheat; No. 08 Lemon Ale; No. 09 American Hefeweizen; No. 55 Ft. Fletcher American IPA; No. 50 Liberty Stout; No. 01 Pale Ale; NO. 02 American Wheat; No. 03 Amber Ale; No. 04 American Brown and No. 06 Oatmeal Stout.
Definitely full throttle in every bottle
What does it take to achieve world renowned success on the great and growing beer stage? Gerald Wyman, co-owner and brew master at Gella’s, says being a brew master takes a bit of experience in brewing beer, designing recipes and setting up the brew house.
Wyman got his start by building his own brew house 18 years ago. Right now, there are 61 distinctive brews at Gella’s, all from the visionary mind of Wyman. His favorite brew? “I like them all,” he says.
It is an eight-hour brew day for each beer. The beer then goes through fermentation, a process that takes 14 to 28 days for an ale and up to 35 days for a lager. Other duties involve ordering the malt and hops and yeast management.
Wyman brews twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. “I actually enjoy the brew day the most,” he says. He savors the aromas of the malt mashing in and the boil. He says the key ingredients to making the perfect beer are to be super-clean and very detailed, to never cut corners and to be extremely picky throughout the process.
Stellar service with a smile
Derrick Broeckelman, front of the house manager, says Gella’s award-winning craft beer, nationally recognized food, and amazing staff sets the diner apart. His staff of 50 offers nothing less than stellar service where a glass never goes empty and the smiles keep coming.
Gella’s not only hand crafts its beer, but the food is hand crafted too by Executive Chef Manuel Hernandez, former semi-pro soccer player and aspiring Ironman athlete. Hernandez took his love of cooking from Chicago to Mexico and is now bringing it home in Hays. Chef Hernandez graduated from the Culinary School of the Rockies and takes gratification in preparing the finest cuisine, where it’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience.
Hernandez infuses some of Gella’s beer into his cooking. He has created the Brewben, which is a take on the Reuben and uses Lb. Brewing Co.’s gold award-winning Oatmeal Stout. And a sweet treat is the Root Beer float, made from Gella’s Lb. Brewing Co.’s own root beer.
Top 20 restaurant recognition
And Kansans agree. Last year the readers of Kansas Magazine voted Gella’s Diner one of the top 20 restaurants in Kansas. On Chef Hernandez’s menu, you will have to opportunity to savor the flavors of dishes that bring a world-wide influence such as the ever-popular Cuban, Chicken Pad Thai or a scratch-made Gyro.And Gella’s offers banquet and catering to its clientele, both on and off site, with lunch and dinner menus, as well as event planning assistance, full beverage service, and hors d’oeuvres.
“When you look around, and you see people are happy with what they are eating,” Hernandez says, “it is really, really rewarding. When you do something you love and you are passionate about it, it comes natural. It’s quite easy.”
Wyman says you should come to Gella’s because it is the best place in the country. “We have the best food and I would like to think we have state-of-the-art beer,” he says. “Nobody will be disappointed!”