Beer Garden Culture in Germany
Enlarge image The real thread: too much booze (© dpa / picture alliance ) Historical Background
The beer garden (in German: Biergarten), a special type of garden restaurant, was originally invented in Bavaria in the 19th century. The first beer gardens were merely a side effect of the brewing facilities. Since water at low temperature was required to brew a certain kind of beer, breweries sought out spaces near rivers, spaced their brewing facilities in cellars and planted trees on top of those. People could bring their own food – a tradition, still accepted in most Bavarian beer gardens - and consume the beer at the spot or carry it home. Consuming on the spot grew more and more popular over time. The only beer cellars left of this era are the Paulaner-Beer-Garden and the Hofbräukeller in Munich.
Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Garden restaurants are always Germany’s favourite option in the summer months. Because winters are cold and can stretch from December until well into March and the short summer period from May until September is not too hot, people want to get out of their houses to spend time in fresh air, surrounded by nature. So it is probably not the least bit surprising, either, that beer gardens are spreading all over Germany, especially in major cities like e.g. Berlin, Munich and Cologne, but also in smaller towns. One of the reasons for the almost infectious spreading of beer gardens all over Germany, apart from German obsession with beer, is the rustic and traditional atmosphere that is traditionally set up in a garden, shaded by chestnut-trees. The traditional brass music, the salty, simple food served in any beer garden all over the country, the big, simple wooden benches and tables add to the relaxing and welcoming ambience. The food usually includes traditional Bavarian specialties such as “Weißwurst” (Bavarian veal sausage) with sweet mustard, pretzels and several pork dishes.
Beer gardens though, are just the most popular of the many traditional ways of outside eating and drinking. Other parts of Germany invented their own traditions, such as “Strausswirtschaften” in wineries all over southwestern and middle Germany, where winegrowers sell their self-made wine along with simple but traditional food.