A beer garden (or in the German language, Biergarten) is an open-air drinking establishment that originated in Bavaria, where beer gardens in general are distinguished from traditional beer gardens today. In Austria, the beer garden is called Gastgarten (guest garden).
Beer gardens developed in Bavaria in the 19th century, during which top-fermented beer was predominant. According to a decree by King Ludwig I, this had to be brewed during the cold months, since the fermentation had to take place at temperatures between four and eight degrees Celsius. In order to provide this beer during the summer, large breweries dug beer cellars in the banks of the river Isar, which allowed them to keep the beer cool. In order to further reduce the cellar temperature, the banks were covered in gravel and chestnuts were planted, since their leaves provided good shade in summer.
Soon after, the beer cellars were used not only to store but also to serve the beer. Simple tables and benches were set up among the trees, and soon the beer gardens were a popular venue for the citizens of Munich. This aggrieved the smaller breweries that remained in Munich. In order to prevent the further loss of customers, they petitioned Ludwig I to forbid that the beer cellars surrounding Munich to serve food. Thus, the patrons had to bring their own food.
This decree is no longer in force, and many beer gardens do serve food today, but many beer gardens still allow their patrons to bring their own food. The latter beer gardens are called traditional beer gardens. In summer, these are a cheap and convenient way of eating out under chestnut trees in the shade, avoiding expensive restaurants in the upscale city of Munich and have become an important part of life for many citizens. Traditional beer gardens cannot be found in other German cities. The Biergärten have developed their own food culture, which typically features Radi (Radish), Brezen, and Obatzda. If one chooses to buy food on site, another classic is Hoibe Hendl (half a grilled chicken).
The Waldwirtschaft near Pullach and the Kugler-Alm, both of which claim to have invented Radler, are among the oldest Munich beer gardens. The largest traditional beer garden in the world is the Hirschgarten in Munich.
Beer gardens around the worldEdit
Many locales around the world feature the name beer garden. Most of them are indoors, thus more resembling the German beer hall, featuring the originals' selection of foods, and live music. In Japan, outdoor beer gardens are enjoying increasing popularity.