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The Best Beer Gardens Around the U.S.
The biergarten as we know it has come a long way from its German ancestor. (I can’t imagine Bavarian dukes playing ping pong or bocce ball, can you?) Yet, one idea ties them together: being among friends outside on a crisp autumn afternoon is one of the best ways to enjoy your beer.
Cities across the United States have caught on, continuing to combine the traditional biergarten with their unique, local characteristics. There are many fantastic beer gardens throughout the United States, but we’ve narrowed down the list to a few notables you must keep in mind when traveling to any of these cities.
New York - Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Let’s start off by going back in time - to the oldest existing biergarten in New York City. The Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall is over a century old, established in Queens, New York in 1910. This historic venue originated in a growing Czech and Slovak community in Astoria during the late 1800’s and was created by an immigrant support organization that still works to preserve these cultural roots throughout Astoria.
The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is an open environment that can provide a relaxing break from the world of attractions in New York City. Take a load off, recline under an umbrella, and soak in the shade of the trees while enjoying one (or several) of the 15 beers on draft. You’ll find the usual barbecue fare here, but don’t miss out on a feature that distinguishes the food - its Czech menu, including Tlacenka, goulash, Svickova. You may not be able to pronounce all those words, but don’t worry, the taste is what’s important.
Chicago - Sheffield’s
There are almost too many things to do in Chicago, but Sheffield’s is essential for anyone stopping by. Chi-town has always had a robust beer and barbecue scene, and Sheffield’s is one of the best places to experience it to its fullest. In fact, Sheffield’s has several bars within its establishment. The beer garden itself is located under a canopy of cottonwood trees. But make sure you get there early - this is one of the most coveted spots in Chicago.
Besides the immense beer list (nearly 50 drafts of craft beer on tap and 100 in bottles), be prepared to get some bangin’ barbecue - lamb burgers, smoked beef brisket, and pulled pork that’s been smoking for 14 hours. Sheffield’s isn’t all about beer and beef. It’s got a sensitive side too, hosting literary events, such as Reading Under the Influence. Drinking is not required, but strongly encouraged.
San Diego - Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
In May 2013, Stone converted the Naval Training Center in Point Loma to one of the most extravagantly designed beer gardens in the United States. The garden itself is 11,315 square feet, complete with courts for bocce ball and a movie theater. In its entirety, the Stone Brewing World Bistro takes up more than 23,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor space for both dining and drinking.
With so much space and so many features, Stone is a world of its own for the beer garden enthusiast. The menu is a refined mix of international cuisine and 40 craft beers on tap, including selections from its namesake, the Stone Brewing Company.
For a brewery with some unusually strong beers (they have a draft named “Arrogant Bastard”), the experience of the beer garden is almost the opposite - letting you unwind and take in the idyllic setting. Be warned, if you stop at the Stone Brewing World Bistro, it may be difficult to leave.
That concludes our list of some of the most noteworthy biergartens in the United States. We’ve visited the old and the new, but no doubt, we’ve just skimmed the surface of America’s biergarten culture. There are certainly more amazing venues out there, so tell us, what are your favorite biergartens?