Beer gardens in Germany developed in Bavaria in the 19th century, during which dark lager beer was predominant. According to a decree by King Ludwig I, this had to be brewed during the cold months, since the fermentation had to take place at temperatures between four and eight degrees Celsius. To provide this beer during the summer, large breweries dug beer cellars in the banks of the river Isar, which allowed them to keep the beer cool. To further reduce the cellar temperature, they covered the banks in gravel and planted chestnut, the leaves of which provided shade in summer. An example of the cellar architecture can still be seen at Augustiner Bierkeller.
A beer garden at a festival
Soon after, the beer cellars were used not only to store but also to serve the beer. Simple tables and benches were set up among the trees, and soon the beer gardens were a popular venue for the citizens of Munich. This aggrieved the smaller breweries that remained in Munich. To prevent further loss of customers, they petitioned Ludwig I to forbid that the beer cellars surrounding Munich to serve food. Thus, the patrons were allowed to bring their own food.
This decree is no longer in force, and many beer gardens do serve food today. But according to the Bayerische Biergartenverordnung (Bavarian beer garden decree) beer gardens still have to allow their patrons to bring their own food.
The latter beer gardens are called traditional beer gardens. In summer, these can be a convenient way of eating out under chestnut trees in the shade, avoiding restaurants in the upscale city of Munich and Bavaria. They have become an important part of life for many citizens. The Biergärten in Bavaria usually serve common Bavarian cuisine as Radi (Radish), Brezen, and Obatzda. If one chooses to buy food on site, other classics are Hoibe Hendl (half a grilled chicken), Hax'n (knuckle of pork) and Steckerlfisch (grilled fish).
tradionally beer was brewed in winter and stored in cold cellars - this has led to the more common in-door beer restaurants called Bierkeller (beer cellar). Many beer cellars have similar offerings as common in a beer garden - one of the largest is the Hofbräukeller in Munich. While beer garden has mostly replaced the traditional name of beer cellar in Bavaria at the end of the 20th century it happens that most beer restaurants in Germany will continue to use the name beer cellar also for their attached summer outdoor areas - for the purpose of differentiation it is sometimes named Terasse (Terrace) of the beer cellar.
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