In Munich there is nothing better than enjoying a fresh drink in one of Munich's numerous beer gardens. But did you know that there is also a reason to celebrate?
It was 200 years ago that Max I Joseph, Bavaria's first king, signed the “Biergartenverordnung”. This law allowed the breweries to serve beer, but not food – which is the reason why even today you are allowed to bring your own “Brotzeit” (lunch) to the really traditional beer gardens.
Why such strange rules?
In the hot summer in 1811, the restaurants in Munich stayed empty. People preferred to drink their beer in one of the brewery gardens, where chestnut trees were offering protection from the sun. The beer was stored 8 to 12 meter below ground in wooden barrels and served in steins – surely one of the freshest drinks these days, as more advanced cooling systems were still to be developed.
Of course, the restaurant owners were not too happy with the situation – that's why the king had to intervene. On January 4th 1812 he signed the “Biergartenverordnung”. It stated that the breweries were officially allowed to serve beer to be directly consumed on site, but they could not serve full meals – this was left to the restaurants.
What used to be a disadvantage, is now an advantage for the costumers: To the really traditional beer gardens you can still bring your own food – e.g. traditional Obazda (Bavarian cheese speciality), Wurstsalat (sausage salad) or Radi (white radish).
If you want to find out more about Bavarian beer gardens and their 200 years of history, pay a visit to the special exhibition in the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum*.
Or just start comparing: This extensive list of traditional beer gardens in and around Munich* will surely help you.
*link to German web site