Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beer Garden Maze

Just wait until you have a few beers. Then try to navigate through here. This scene is so common to Munich, and all that you see has been set for hundreds of years – the gravel (no cement), simple benches (no garden or plastic furniture), chestnut trees (no umbrellas). All of this was outlined in the 19th century in what Bavarians call the Beer Garden Decree. It’s no surprise that beer gardens originated in Bavaria. They started as outdoor establishments attached to breweries. All of the local breweries at the time would build caves into the banks of the Isar River (where this beer garden exists today) to keep the beer cool, as the Fermenting process needs to take place at 2-4 degrees Celsius. The beer gardens were so successful that over the past 100 years, it seems every restaurant in town has a beer garden or something quite similar to it. I’ve tried to find out how many beer gardens are in Munich, but it’s nearly impossible as many restaurants, cafes, businesses, and even schools have their own beer garden. Munich even has the largest beer garden in the world, the Hirschgarden with more than 8000 seats – all wooden benches of course. Fortunately, the rules for the visitor are not so strict: Get good food, a beer of your choice (as long as it’s Radler, helles, Weiss or dunkle – because that’s all that’s served in Munich) and simply…relax.

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