May 19, 2021
Comfort + Community = Biergarten
The atmosphere of community space is something that can’t be seen but is tangible. It comes in hearing laughter, smelling great food, and the taste of a good Dunkel. We love to think that our Biergarten in Pittsburgh is where the community can be felt and enjoyed.
Since our opening in 2009, we have had the privilege of watching our community gather in our Biergarten when the weather warms up.
The tradition of eating, drinking and gathering in the open-air grounds us in our Bavarian heritage. It’s the tradition of sharing good food and weather with all walks of life.
We, of course, must also acknowledge that this tradition was born out of the need to keep bier and people cool in the warm months it was available for sale.
The next time you’re walking along the river in Pittsburgh, and get the need for a meal and community, stop in! We’d love to see you.
Bier and Shade
In the earlier days of brewing in Bavaria, bier was brewed in a cycle that followed the weather.
From September to April 23rd, bier would be brewed in caves. Part of the reason for this was to keep fires from happening. The kettles used for brewing got extremely hot. The cool stone environment the caves offered was perfect for the process.
When the bier was ready in April, brewers dug out their caves, placed chairs for their patrons, and opened for business. They would be busy making their caves cozy by setting up chairs and planting large chestnut trees to provide shade.
The shaded environment went from chairs and trees to tables being added. Patrons would come to the garten and sit and enjoy food that brewers sold with their biers. Thus, the Biergarten was born!
However, not everyone was a fan of the new way of dining.
The pub and restaurant owners in the area were upset about the open-air setups taking business and began to protest. Their cries drew the attention of King Maximilian I, who helped both parties reach a compromise.
In January 1812, a decree was released stating that Biergartens could only sell bier and bread. No hot foods were to be sold by the breweries. That change made the competition happy and did not deter Biergarten patrons from coming to enjoy open-air dining.
Instead, ‘garten goers brought their sausages and cheeses and shared them with their fellow patrons. They brought tablecloths, cutlery and desserts as well. The atmosphere created was one of community and comfort found in Biergartens across the world today.
The Bavarian word for community is Gemeinschaft. We know that the word community keeps coming up, but you cannot speak about Biergartens without acknowledging the movement of community that they brought.
It is a feeling that we at Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh strive to create for our beloved community.
The creation of the open-air dining experience in Bavaria is awe-inspiring because the people created it. The locals brought in meals of cheese and sausage to share with those they may not know or have the opportunity to meet in other circumstances.
In 1897 the ban on selling hot food in Biergartens was lifted, but nothing changed for the brewers or their customers. The people of Bavaria had already chiseled out their cultural moment and continued to bring their own food and make Biergartens a focal point in their communities.
For well over 100 years, Biergartens would have the sound of talking, steins clinking, and music emitting from them. In the late 1990s, some citizens in Munich raised a complaint about the late-night noise levels of their local Biergarten.
Those complaints led to the Bayerische Biergartenverordnung being placed into law on April 20th, 1999, or the Bavarian Bier Garden Ordinance in English. In it, the importance of Biergartens to the Bavarian cultural experience is expressed.
It is also stated that Biergartens would be subject to noise requirements and operating hours listed within the document. Most notably, that Biergartens would now close at 11:00 p.m. to avoid being a nuisance to the communities they served.
Willkomen im Biergarten (Welcome to the Biergarten!)
In 2009, Hofbrauhaus opened its doors and Biergarten to the community in Pittsburgh. With access from the street and the restaurant, all in our community are welcome to eat, drink, and enjoy all our city has to offer…including the spectacular riverfront views.
Both our full menu and a full-service bar are open to you when enjoying the Biergarten. We personally recommend the Munich Market Salad as well as an order of Fried Pickles. Both have bright and fresh flavors that are perfect for warmer weather.
Feel free to also grab a stein of your favorite bier after a Steelers game or a walk along the riverfront. Our Southside Works location makes us easy to find and a great place to start an adventure.
Don’t forget that we also have seasonal biers and brews that are easy to drink and pair well with everything on our menu. Come to Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh today to sit in our Biergarten and enjoy the best our community has to offer! We’ll save you a seat.