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Food + Drink

The Best Beer Gardens in the U.S.

Autumn's crisp weather means beer garden season is just hitting its stride. Here, we've got all your Pilsner, Bock, IPA, cask ale, and Kölsch-related needs covered.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

See recent posts by Chelsea Stuart

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The Standard Biergarten, New York City

If you’re at all familiar with André Balazs's The Standard, High Line, then you’re probably well aware of the celeb-heavy, see-and-be-seen set that flock to penthouse party spots – Le Bain and Top of the Standard – each night. But down on the ground, if you can squeeze through the throngs of suited up Meatpacking men, you’ll find the equally cool indoor/outdoor Standard Biergarten. Reserve a seat at a Stammtisch table (they have three built in taps for self-service), and get ready to hop on a pingpong at a moment's notice (they’re in very high-demand). You’ll also probably be hankering for something salty to soak up your mug (or boot) of beer, and that’s where classic German fare from Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner comes in (think: enormous soft pretzels, bratwurst and apfelstrudel).

Where to Stay in NYC

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Courtesy of Ron Capistrano


SABBIA, New York City

La BirreriaEataly’s rooftop beer garden – hosts a different pop-up restaurant each season. Currently filling out the space is SABBIA, an Italian seafood spot decked out with cabanas, beachy stripes and seaside motifs. While this may not look like a beer garden from the get, one glance at the menu reveals 50 different brews, including unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally-carbonated housemade casks made fresh by Eataly’s head brewer – Teo Musso (of Baladin), assisted by Sam Calagione (of Dogfish Head). Housemade varieties like the Disco Gets a Bad Rep (black lager with notes of chocolate), Gina (pale ale dry-hopped with thyme), and Vera (wheat ale brewed with blood orange) accompany executive chef Fitz Tallon’s coastal Italian fare.

RELATED: 10 Stylish (and Affordable) NYC Hotels

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Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten, Asbury Park, NJ

In case you somehow missed it, the Jersey shore is kind of having a moment. At the forefront of the renaissance is the hip and revitalized, Asbury Park. The burgeoning town made waves as an NYC weekend escape this summer thanks to the new, retro-chic Asbury hotel, but the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, with its 9,000 square foot outdoor rooftop biergarten and 6,000 square foot indoor hall, has also been convincing city slickers to hit the shore. Thirty-one draft beers, like the Festhalle Original, Radeberger Zwickel, and Reissdorf Kölsch, are paired with elevated gastropub bites like Beer steamed mussels, Scottish salmon, hungarian beef goulash, making for a more than worthwhile visit.

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Courtesy of Will Byington


Sheffield's, Chicago, IL

Sheffield’s caters to American crowds with two of the nation’s most treasured things: hometown craft beer and savory BBQ. The enormous patio features a rotating tap list that hovers around 25 different varieties, including Blake’s Flannel Mouth Cider, Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro, and Schlafly Kolsch (plus more microbrew bottles and cans than you can count). While you nurse a beer at your picnic table or by the fireplace, Sheffield's smokers are at work cooking up Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket and peanut butter burgers (yes, burgers slathered in creamy PB).

Where to Stay in Chicago

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Dacha, Washington D.C.

In D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, Dacha slings a bunch of brews and even more spunk – just look how they encourage patrons to bring their “dogs, cats, kids, chinchillas, cute grandparents, hippie aunts, overbearing bosses, obsessed lovers and shy first dates.” Regardless of the company you keep, any trip to Dacha will be met with German, Belgian and American brews (our faves: Radeberger Pilsner, Schofferhofer Grapefruit Radler, Leffe Blonde Ale) plus wines from Oregon, Austria, France and California, meads, ciders, and gluten-free beers. There's also a small menu of German potato salad, fried pickles, and pretzels.

Where to Stay in Washington DC

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Independence Beer Garden, Philadelphia, PA

Ask a local and he’ll probably tell you to stray far from Philly’s Independence Mall, but we promise that IBG is worth pitting yourself against the tourist masses. With 40 taps of regional and domestic craft beers – like Nodding Head Monkey Knife Fight, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, New Belgium Citradelic – and a cool 20,000-square-feet of prime garden space looking out on the Liberty Bell, we're willing to ignore its address. Plus, there's a standout small bites menu – like kielbasa with horseradish and sauerkraut, al pastor tacos with roasted pork and pineapple salsa, and crispy wings – to accompany the brews and views.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Drink Like a Politico in Philadelphia

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Zeitgeist, San Francisco, CA

If you’re looking for high-design, you won’t find it at the Mission’s Zeitgeist. But what you _will _encounter s a laid-back dive bar with 64 international and American varieties on tap (Hoegaarden, Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas, being a few) served by the pint or the pitcher. The SF institution is heavy on character, just take a look at its massive patio decked out with drink-wielding pink elephants. Match all that with their classic cheeseburgers, kielbasa and grilled cheese and it’s easy to see why the low-key hangout is fave among locals.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

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The Rathskeller, Indianapolis, IN

At the Rathskeller in Indianapolis, appearance and authenticity are central to your biergarten experience. Just peep the hangout’s locale – the 19th-century Athenaeum Building – which is hands down, one of the city’s greatest examples of ornate, Romanesque German architecture. Inside, an extensive beer menu is split between varieties from Germany, continental Europe, the UK, and the US. To compliment your brew, you’ll find comfort plates like warm soft pretzels, German weiss bratwurst, and a handful of schnitzels.

RELATED: The Ultimate Book for Beer Snobs

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Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden, Austin, TX

Food is an essential part of the equation at Banger’s, where a draft list 104 beers deep is met by a menu of more than 30 gourmet housemade sausages (hello, duck, bacon and fig; South Texas antelope and venison merguez; and veggie options like beet and goat cheese). The Americana-centric hangout also wears many different hats, moonlighting as a country music venue – with two to three live shows a week; a dog park (with specialty doggie sausages); and regular events host, like weekly big band brunches and monthly Saturday pig roasts.

Where to Stay in Austin

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