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BAVARIA


Beer Gardens Bavarian


Story by Katie Wood Photos by Megan Smith


Most Americans wouldn’t dream of taking their child to a bar for a friendly family atmosphere, but in Munich, Germany, the local beer gardens are “perfect for fami- lies,” said Helga Strohmayr, who works in public rela- tions for city of Munich. “In the city, there are a lot of fl ats without gardens or balconies,” Strohmayr explains,


“T e sun is shining


in summer and you want to go outside… You are out- side under the chestnut trees, there are no cars, the chil- dren can run, there are playgrounds and its easy for the family.” Some beer gardens “also have a mini golf area, not


just playground, but diff erent attractions for children,” added Isabella Schopp, who also works in public rela- tions for the City of Munich. One may think that a beer garden is all about the beer. However, while it is a place to drink German beer, the


main thing that distinguishes a beer garden from a restaurant with outdoor seating is the food. “At a beer garden, you can bring your own food, but you have


to buy your drink right there,” Schopp said. T is concept dates back to the 19th century. During that time, brewers would brew their beer in the win-


ter and needed a place to store and keep their beer cool in the summer, so they stored the barrels in cellars underground and planted chestnut trees above them. T e chestnut trees were vital because their large leaves and branches were needed to keep the ground around the cellars cool and shady. People then began to set up tables and chairs under the trees aſt er King Ludwig I gave the brewers permission to sell their beer there but not food. Since then, the sites have been known as beer gardens and


the people of Munich, along with international tourists, have fl ocked to these gardens to drink fresh beer straight from the barrel. Tables covered with tablecloths indicate full service with a


waiter, and tables without tablecloths are meant for those who decide to bring their own food. Both Schopp and Strohmayr


54| ALPINE LIVING 2011


agreed that the majority of people bring their own food, since that’s the main concept. However, if you are going to buy food, Strohmayr recom-


mends ordering the radish with lots of salt. She also suggest- ed that visitors try one of the large pretzels and some spicy sausages. “T en you are very thirsty, and you must drink!” she added


with a laugh. T e beer gardens aren’t open all year round. T ey open in


April and stay open through October, and day to day, it de- pends on the weather. “When it’s cold and rainy nobody sits in the beer garden,” Strohmayr said. Strohmayr said that summer is the best time to go to a beer


garden, saying, “in the summer it is still warm and you can sit [outside] as long as you want.” Most beer gardens are open until 10 p.m.


How to locate a beer garden: T e best way to fi nd a beer garden is by using a city map. Ev-


erywhere there is a “leaf from the chestnut tree, there is a beer garden,” Strohmayr said.


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