Germans are known for their love for beer. There is no country as Germany in the world where people consume so much beer in their gardens. The ‘beer garten’ originally is a Bavarian tradition, faithfully followed for 200 years long. In the meanwhile, the Biergarten has conquered the whole country and are found in every German city in great numbers. The Biergartens today are popular abroad as well and you see them in the most unexpected locations at from Asia to New York to Buenos aires. Some of Amsterdam’s trendy hangouts embraced the characteristics of the Biergarten.
In Germany, every self-respecting bar/restaurant has a beer garden in spring and summer. Now you probably wonder what the big difference is between a beer garden and a terrace. Well, a traditional beer garden is without fuss and consists of long wooden tables & benches, positioned on gravel and in the shade of ancient chestnut trees. Because of the long sliding tables and benches people sit together and mix easily. This makes the atmosphere open and friendly. It provides a great social environment to sit and enjoy the sun and drinks. The Biergartens are occupied by young and old and is fun for everyone. A traditional beer garden is basically a mix of a terrace and nice hang-out in the park, this is because you can bring your own food to a traditional beer garden. Unfortunately, this is not possible at the Biergarten at the Wiesn.
The existence of the bier cellars is a result of a practical solution to the following problem; brewing in the summer was banned because of fire hazard. Because the thirsty Germans could not last without their favorite drink, beer supplies had to be kept cool. For these beer stocks special beer cellars were dug and breweries planted chestnut trees that led to shadow.
Food in the Biergarten
The brewers wanted sell their beer directly to consumers. Therefore in summer, they put wooden tables and benches next to the beer cellars under the chestnut trees and served their beers. Naturally, the pub owners did not appreciate this competition. To meet their complaints, the Bavarian King Ludwig I forbid breweries to serve food in the Biergarten. Nowadays, in most beer gardens you can buy a Brotzeit (cold meal), but you are also allowed to bring your own food. Traditional beer garden specialties are Schweinshaxe (grilled pork), sausage salad, radishes, Brezel mit Leberkäse, Obatzter or Obatz’n (Camembert with butter, onions and peppers) and also Steckerlfisch (fried fish).
Besides the Oktoberfest, Munich is a breathtakingly, beautiful city, with more than 100 Biergartens! We can certainly recommend you visit a traditional biergarten during your Oktoberfest weekend, to enjoy the atmosphere, to try some beers and a Brotzeit.