German beer gardens call for a toast

by Azure Hall
contributing writer

As German folklore tells it, modern German beer gardens were born accidentally in Bavaria as brewers were trying to keep their stores of traditional dark lager beers cool and preserved throughout long, hot summers. As a storage location, underground beer cellars were dug along the Isar River’s banks. Layers of stone and the shade of Chestnut trees added additional protection from the sun. These shady spots near the cellars became popular destinations to enjoy the beers stored down below. More and more visitors came to enjoy the gardens near the river’s banks and a tradition was born.
Beer is an important facet of German culture. There is no better way to enjoy the various brews than outside in the fresh air of a beer garden. Visiting a beer garden during the summer is an epitomic German experience that shouldn’t be missed.
While they remain widely popular in Bavaria, beer gardens have spread throughout Germany and can still be enjoyed today. Most of the more authentic beer gardens are located in larger cities. Frankfurt boasts a number of impressive locations to enjoy a cold brew in the shade. Here are two of the more popular beer gardens in the city.
Oberschweinstiege is a Frankfurt beer garden that has been around since 1880. It is located a short hike into woods surrounding Sachsenhausen. Although Oberschweinstiege offers traditional German brews, it is famous for its apple wine – well worth the drive into the city.
Alyssa Neyer, Air Force spouse and member of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, visits Oberschweinstiege to get a taste of authentic German food and its specialty wines. “It is such a great place to eat. After the short hike through the woods, the apple wine really hits the spot. The food and the view of the surrounding lake make dining there even better. It is definitely worth the drive into Frankfurt.”
If hiking for your meal isn’t your idea of a good time, don’t fret. There are beer gardens more easily accessible. Bürgelstollen is a beer garden located high above the Frankfurt skyline that boasts amazing views and traditional Hessian cuisine. Bürgelstollen is also one of the more family-friendly beer gardens in the city, with a full children’s menu.
If you aren’t feeling up to a drive into Frankfurt metropolis, there are some local versions of the traditional beer garden a bit closer to the KMC. The Bremerhof hotel in Kaiserslautern offers a beer garden experience in its outdoor dining area. This Bavarian-style hotel serves beer on its patio in the summer months.
The Brauhaus am Markt Kaiserslautern combines German brewery culture with the comfortable beer garden setting. All beers are brewed in house and served on its shady patio. Traditional German food is paired with these local brews to complete the experience.
Whether you brave the drive to Frankfurt or choose to dine more locally, beer gardens are a great way to spend a sunny summer afternoon with friends and family. Be a part of tradition and remember to say, “Prost!”