Beer in the sun
Words: Mark Dredge
Wednesday 18 July 2018
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Obviously we’re starting in Germany, the home of the beer garden. If you’re going to Munich then head to Hirschgarten for Bavaria’s largest beer garden, where 8,000 seats spread in the sun and shade through the park – they serve simple beer snacks or you can take your own food. For somewhere a little cosier (where there’s only 5,000 seats…), the Augustiner-Keller on Arnulfstraße is the quintessential German beer garden where you sit beneath large chestnut trees gulping from large mugs of one of the world’s greatest lagers.
Klunkerkranich is almost the opposite of a traditional beer garden and it’s on the roof of a Neukölln parking lot which has been transformed into a varied multipurpose space, including a large green space, and it has a spectacular sunset view. Elsewhere in Berlin, Inselgarten is on a tiny island in the Spree and it’s a fun riverside escape from the city. There’s the Bavarian-ish Prater Garten or simply buy €1 bottles of lager in the corner store and take them to nearby Mauerpark because sitting in the park drinking cold beer is what the locals do.
LETNÁ BEER GARDEN, PRAGUE
It’s a bit of a walk uphill to get to Letná Beer Garden but the panorama over the centre of Prague is the reward and then that view becomes the backdrop you get to enjoy when drinking fresh glasses of Czech lager.
THE ROYAL VICTORIA PAVILION, RAMSGATE
I’m a sucker for a sea view and this restored old pavilion is right on Ramsgate beach with an always-busy wood-decked balcony which wraps around the pub as sandy-toed drinkers vie for the seats closest to the sea. It’s Britain’s biggest Wetherspoon pub (around 1,400 capacity) and probably its most impressive.
SINGLE FIN, BALI
Second only to the views of Ramsgate (I’m from Kent so I’m biased) are the ones you get at Single Fin overlooking Uluwatu Beach, Bali. It’s high up in the rocky mountain face and you can spend all day watching surfers while drinking Bintang or cocktails until the stunning sundown.
LOTS OF PLACES IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
Austin has the best outdoor drinking spaces of anywhere I’ve been in America, including bars like Scholz Garten, Banger’s, and Easy Tiger, a bakery and beer garden next to an inner-city creek, but start with three great breweries: Austin Beer Garden Brewery which, with that name, you’d expect to be good; Live Oak Brewing has huge open grounds under oak trees where you can drink their delicious German-style beers; and a little out of town is Jester King which is set in 50-acres of serene farmland – it’s an amazing place to drink their exceptional farmhouse ales.
VON TRAPP BREWERY, STOWE, VERMONT
The Von Trapp Family (yes, the ones from The Sound of Music) built a house in Stowe, Vermont, which turned into a lodge and later they added a brewery making classic European-style lagers. Hike or bike to the beerhall which is set in cleared woodland, surrounded by birch and maple trees (from which they make their own syrup), with benches spread across the grounds with views of the mountains in the distance.
COLONIAL BREWING, MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Endless sunshine and loads of open space makes Western Australia a top outdoor drinking destination. Little Creatures in Fremantle is an essential stop on the harbour, while Feral Brewing, in Swan Valley, is like a big Aussie backyard of family-friendly play areas, cold beer and a big barbecue. But head towards Margaret River for the most impressive locations: Colonial Brewing is set on a lake, there’s some inside-outside seating and green space as far as you can see, where people play games and drink good beer. Plenty of other breweries with huge outdoor spaces are nearby.
...AND CLOSER TO HOME
I’ll finish with three more British outdoor drinking locations (because one massive Wetherspoons probably doesn’t make this a satisfying list).
The White Lion Bar at the Avon Gorge Hotel has a gorgeous view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge from their large terrace.
The Ferry Inn, Salcombe, has a boat dock right up to the edge of the bench-lined garden overlooking the estuary.
The Noah’s Ark Inn, Lurgashall, is the postcard English village pub with a small garden facing the local cricket pitch.
Just remember to pack an umbrella, sweater, the factor 30 and a couple of sandwiches to cover all weather and the inevitable point where you’ve had one-too-many beers.
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