For the love of beer gardens
For many, when they think of drinking in Germany, they think of long skinny tables surrounded by people crowded shoulder to shoulder drinking liter mugs of beer while wearing lederhosen or dirndls.
That kind of thing absolutely exists - for a couple weeks each year. The rest of the year, the drinking scene is much more relaxing. Think of a quiet courtyard with an ornate fountain in the middle, paved pathways winding between wooden picnic tables sitting on soft gravel, big chestnut trees providing ample shades, swaying ever so slightly in a summer breeze. There may be music playing in the distance, but likely you'll just hear the clink of plates and glasses along with quiet conversation and occasional laughter. This is the typical German biergarten and I don't know about you, but I'd pick that any day over a packed noisy tent.
Every town, regardless of its size, seems to have at least one biergarten in Germany. Some may have ornate sculptures scattered amongst dozens of tables and some may just be a few tables with umbrellas on top of a gravel lot. Some even have a playground for the kids to
enjoy while the adults enjoy their drinks. And the question on whether a garden is "family-friendly" doesn't even seem to cross the average German's mind - of course they are - biergartens are meant for family and friends to gather.
That clashes a bit with the American drinking culture. These gardens call for a measure of subtlety and there isn't a whole lot we do subtly - including drinking. The American beer drinking culture largely started with German immigrants and there are accounts of them attempting to create biergartens in 19th century America and not always seeing eye to eye with their hard-working, hard-drinking clientele.
We now have far more breweries than America or Germany has ever had and with that increase in options, I'm starting to see some biergartens pop up in the US. I'm hoping we can contribute to that picture at Twin Span with our patio. We already have huge Bavarian style pretzels and with our Keller Pils and Hefeweizen, we have the same beer options as many biergartens. Now we just need some chestnut trees (lederhosen optional).