With summer well under way, it's definitely time for a post on Milwaukee's beer garden revival!
The biergarten is not your average Milwaukee drinking experience: there's sunlight, fresh air, and a startling number of children underfoot. Erin visited the Estabrook Park Beer Garden this week and interviewed patrons about the kid-friendly, beer-happy atmosphere. You can hear her piece below!
Milwaukee's German heritage was crucial to its development as the Brew City. German immigrants brought their beer-making expertise to the area in the mid-1800s, and the city quickly developed (ok, cultivated) something of a reputation. After the Great Chicago Fire, the city's breweries sent humanitarian beer aid to our smoldering neighbor. (Schlitz ran with this idea, and began sending beer to every prestigious person they could think of, including Teddy Roosevelt). Pabst was already famous for brewery tours in the 1880s; back then bottles of PBR came bedecked in blue, silk ribbon. We still celebrate these brewers' expertise - and superb marketing skills - today with the Pabst Theater and Miller Park's Milwaukee Brewers.
With German beer came German drinking culture. In the early 1900s, Milwaukee was full of traditional beer gardens, with communal picnic tables, German signage, live music, and an open, social ambiance. This is the model the city used for its current Beer Garden in the Park program.
Four regular and two roving beer gardens operate in Milwaukee's public parks throughout the summer and early fall. Patrons are welcome to bring their own food and (non-alcoholic) drinks. Hope to see you there!