By definition, a beer garden (taken from the German “biergarten”) is an outdoor space where beer and food are served. The concept actually originated when Bavarian breweries planted gardens above basements to keep their beers cold enough to ferment them underground. Open-air breweries originated in Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital, in the 19th century, and are still common in southern Germany. They are usually attached to a brewery, brewery, pub, or restaurant.
The institution of the warm climate has its roots in 16th century Germany. The beer gardens were spacious, family-friendly outdoor spaces that encouraged customers to stay. As they developed in American cities from the 1840s to the 1870s, music, games, and other entertainment tended to be part of the appeal. Later, Anheuser-Busch capitalized on this idea by creating a series of theme parks called Busch Gardens.
According to Hofer, the Bayerische Biergartenverordnung, a law passed in 1999 that regulates the socio-cultural nature of outdoor breweries, “allows customers to bring their own food to outdoor breweries, something that differentiates current Bavarian breweries from those in other German regions and Germanic countries”. Because Maximilian's decree did not prevent Bavarians from bringing their own food to breweries, gardens became popular places for picnics. Märzenbier literally translates to “March beer”, since it was a beer that was normally prepared in March to be kept cold during summer fermentation. The origins of the Brauordnung often date back to 1539, but Franz Hofer, who teaches German history at Cornell University and runs a blog about beer, explained by email that the “decree that limited brewing to the time between the festival of Saint Louis, in Bavaria, granted brewers the right to sell beer directly from their brewing establishments.
The features of a traditional beer garden include trees, wooden benches, a gravel bed, and freshly prepared meals. The breweries set up tables and benches right next to the winery and designated it as the brewery's “beer garden”. This is so integral to the culture of outdoor taverns that the Bayerische Biergartenverordnung (Bavarian Beer Brewery Ordinance) of 1999 allows traditional tree-shaded establishments to close later, allowing customers to bring their own food and exceed the noise limits that are normally in force. Maximiliano's decree is no longer in force and many beer gardens prohibit the sale of food that is not sold at the establishment.
However, after Prohibition, the United States never established a proper beer garden again. Although its trees were originally planted to protect beer from the sun, they now provide shade for customers who come to enjoy a cold beer by the river. The second reason, Hofer told me, was that the Bavarians had discovered that fermenting lagers at colder temperatures, between 39 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, produced a purer beer than beers brewed under warmer conditions. Just as important for the beer garden is the atmosphere of Gemütlichkeit, which conveys a sense of warmth, friendliness and belonging.
A notable and clearly Czech contribution to the American beer scene is Pilsners, a pale lager beer that was introduced in 1842 and named after the Czech city of Pilsen.