Thursday, 4 July 2013

Is it actually a beer "garden"?

I'm sitting in the beer garden of one of my favourite pubs in Norwich, The Reindeer, drinking Brooklyn lager and a question popped up in my head... "Is it really a garden?" I mean, they call it a garden and it's nice to sit here in the sun, smoking and drinking but essentially it's just decking with some picnic tables. A garden I see as an area that has a lawn, with flower beds, as well as a patio or decking but neither on its own. I'm not sure it can constitute a garden with just flowers in pots, and hanging baskets. I mean, you wouldn't call a balcony a garden, would you?

A garden, ideally, would also have an area for kids to play so they don't run around the tables knocking peoples drinks over and screaming in their parents ears for another bag of crisps even though they've already had two bags today which is more than they'd be allowed usually. A garden would also be somewhere you can bring your dog, with a communal water bowl by the lawn.

A garden would be an open, sunny space.

I like gardens.

13 comments:

  1. Yes, because it originally comes from German, and their 'biergartens'.

    Which nominally consisted of actual garden areas (much like a back garden in Britain) where people would congregate to drink beer.

    So while it has been co-opted, as have most English phrases, to mean any outside area where people sit to drink beer, it is an accurate description, as the English (British) definition of garden is wide-open.

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    1. But that's it... when I go to a beer 'garden' i'm not familiar with, and it turns out to just be a patio or some decking I feel awfully underwhelmed.

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  2. There's not even a damn potplant there! A beer "garden" has to have some plants at least. IMO A patio with some greenery counts.

    In the UK "beer garden" really seems to be a PC synonym for "some space where you're allowed to smoke".

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    1. Ha, the pot plants were behind me!

      Someone on twitter pointed out last night that 'beer garden' seems to be a marketing term, much like 'craft beer'. If you stick 'beer garden' on a sign, people will flock there in the summer. It gets people excited.

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  3. We'll be mostly decking @urban_sessions but we'll have raised flower beds and plants and stuff! And more importantly beer, lots and lots of awesome beer!

    See you Sunday for high fives and pints! x

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    1. If there are loads of plants, I'm sure I can bring myself to call it a garden!

      See you Sunday x

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  4. Nate you need to get to Regensburg and visit their beer gardens. One of the nicest towns in Germany and with four, no I think five breweries. Most of the beer gardens are sheltered by mature trees - you have to watch out, and drink fast, or pollen drifts down from the lime trees and gets in your beer.

    Of course in Norwich there's the Plough, which has done wonders with what was quite a hideous back yard - that's a proper beer garden (and proper beer too; I see their Porter has won champion beer of Norfolk again. It's getting a bit predictable.) And if you head north, the Heath House has a bowling green as well as a garden, and keeps its range of beers extremely well in my experience.

    But what are we looking for in beer gardens? I think for most of us it's just being able to sit outside, in Mallory-ish spirit "because we can" - which in England, let's face it, we can't do for about ten months of the year :-)

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    1. Yes, I really do need to get out to Germany again! Regensburg looks really nice, and there's no doubt I'll find some delicious rauchbiers.

      Maybe I'm just disappointed by beer gardens because, for me, The Plough is the benchmark. Amazing beer and an amazing garden, and it's even better when the BBQ is up and running! I've never heard of the Heath House; where is it?

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    2. The Heath House is in the Arctic North - up Sprowston Road then turn right into Gertrude Road, just past the Prince of Denmark (if memory serves, because I can't be bothered to look at Google Maps).

      Might be a long way to go, but then again, you pass so many good pubs on the way out... or indeed the way back :-)

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    3. Aha, nice! I will have to check it out!

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  5. Now, Wacken has a real beer garden!

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    1. HELL YEAH IT DOES! Best place ever!

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  6. There are gardens and there are outside drinking areas. I agree a garden should have grass and such like.

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