Published: 16 Jun 09 17:22 CET
With summer tentatively approaching, what better way to welcome the fleeting Teutonic sun than with a cold brew and tasty sausage? The Local offers up a sampling of Germany's best beer gardens.
Biergarten sure sounds fancy – as if someone is growing golden mugs of ale somewhere – but it certainly means more than just any old outdoor space hawking beer and bockwurst.
According to 19th-century historical accounts, beer gardens were born as Bavarian breweries were originally looking for a way to keep their stock of dark lagers cool during the hot months of summer. Cellars were dug in the banks of the Isar river, then later covered with gravel and chestnut trees for added protection from the sun. It wasn't long before breweries soon began serving customers in the shady coves directly above the cellar – a practice that led to today’s reigning concept of the traditional German beer garden.
Since those early days, some Bavarian officials have even gone so far as to develop a "beer garden ordinance" to protect both the concept of the beer garden – including the practice of allowing guests to bring their own food – as well as the health of the folks living in the direct vicinity of such a locale.
The Local has compiled just a small smattering of Germany's best beer gardens, but we'll add more over the summer. We also encourage you to send in your own personal favourites in the comments section down below. Prost!
Between 1820 and 1860, 1,500,000 immigrants arrived in America from Germany. Many of the new arrivals who settled in cities such as New York worked as shopkeepers and skilled tradesmen, although many more worked as employees in construction, brewing, and manufacturing. Although German immigrants did not mix politics and liquor, reformers were disconcerted by the atmosphere of their social establishments. Unlike the bars in Irish neighborhoods, the beer gardens catered to whole families. As this 1859 engraving shows, public drinking was only one attraction at a beer garden; but to reformers the presence of women and children suggested immorality.