Everyone remembers the first time they heard the term beer garden and, more memorably, when they found out that beer didn’t actually grow in it. The English language is ill equipped to describe the heart-swallowing anguish of that discovery. AND YET hops and wheat are practically types of grass so I say the dream lives.
Winter is the time to congregate ‘round roaring furnaces and trade stories of perilous journeys to the mead hall, but come summer we raise the roof. We raise the roof so high it becomes redundant and we’re left out in the open. Do we run for cover? Do we search for shade? Nay, we sprawl.
The greatest perk of living in the sunshine state (and, more specifically, Brisbane) is the almost excessive amount of unencumbered sunlight, and what kind of opportunists would we be if we didn’t pounce on it? Come September, the mild conditions render our capital naught but a rolling landscape of prime real estate for beer gardens. Ditch the sleeves, fetch a brim, and make sure you’ve downloaded the Uber update—Helios is out in full force and he hates to drink alone.
Here is a cheeky ten-strong taster of the best beer gardens in Brisbane to soak up the sunshine.
Death Valley Bar
In conjunction with adjacent project Red Robin Supper Truck, Morningside’s Death Valley Bar have got your weekends absolutely SORTED. Dedicated solely to the pursuit of a quality, this dive features no fewer than ten rotating taps of specialty brews and thanks to Death Valley’s second calling as a record label, the beats are always blissful sounds. Settle in on the deck for a brewski in the mellow afternoon and hold out for sundown and a taste of whatever’s happening at the Red Robin Supper Truck.
It is well documented that there are four basic components of any beer garden: open air, defined parameters, ample snacks, and copious ale. Covering all bases is the hub within the hub of Paddington, Remy’s beer garden. Their burger and beer offerings have been whittled down to a neat selection of the finest, designed to be enjoyed Remy’s open-air courtyard, which features live DJ sounds on weekend afternoons and generally emanates a chipper mood.
What kind of purported river city would we be without an open-air drinking spot right on the water? Reminiscent of an old-school surf club, Riverbar kindles nostalgic aquatic vibes without the pesky sand in every cranny. The food and drinks all lend themselves to sharing—the cocktail jugs are always super on a bright afternoon—and there’s always the babel and clamour of the indoor booths if the weather makes a spontaneous turn for the wetter.
Brisbane Brewing Co.
Laneway dining and sunshine drinking come together in a furious clash of pilsners, platters, tasters, and taps. The folks behind Brisbane Brewing Co harbour the kind of love for brewing that borders on fanaticism. These people don’t do it just to have somewhere to be on a Monday, this stuff is a vocation, and with every beer brewed onsite from only the finest natural products, you can’t get better or more local than a pint from Brisbane Brewing Co. Best enjoyed in the open-air, naturally.
Bavarian Bier Café
Yes they acknowledge that craft beer is having its moment, but if the Bavarian Bier Café is going to be known for anything it will be upholding the traditional values of the birthplace of the beer garden (or Gemütlichkeit). All their biers satisfy the regulations protecting bier production in Germany, which places the Bavarian Bier Cafe in a unique position on the Eagle Street Pier, spouting brews nonpareil, as the only place where alpine drinking culture meets riverside views.
The kids at the helm of Shady Palms understand the health benefits of a stunning repast with a side of fresh air. Best known for their twisty take on neo-American cuisine, expect everything from sliders and tacos to chilli fries and wings to go with whatever hectic concoction you plucked off their menu of cocktail jugs, beers and ciders.
Fitz + Potts
They spend the week providing locals with brunch and morning charge, but come the weekend Fitz + Potts transforms into a foxy dive with kickass vibes and an outdoor lounge that reminds us of idle weekends at someone’s holiday house. They source all their beers from independently owned local microbreweries and maintain an exclusive and niche selection for maximum freshness. Best enjoyed on a lazy afternoon with a decadent platter (serving suggestion).
Sixes and Sevens
Here to debunk the myth that beer gardens only ever serve beer is James Street’s dapper darling, Sixes and Sevens. A long time favourite of the stylish set, the old world charm of this speakeasy’s interior can only be rivalled by the tumbling oversized steps of their outdoor salon, made all the more glorious by the basking sunshine and carafes on carafes of refreshing summer cocktails.
Woolly Mammoth Alehouse
Having recently upped their game with the food things, Woolly Mammoth Alehouse is now a hot contender for the most happening joint on the block. This is largely due to their array craft taps. So many taps. More taps than you could feasibly sample in even the longest session (yes, that was a challenge should you choose to accept it). We’re not kidding when we say that the variety of beer is really quite stonkingly vast so don’t be surprised if the cheeky arvo tipple turns into a bender.
Southbank Beer Garden
Southbank Beer Garden talks a big game but don’t forget the first rule of sunshine drinking: if the term ‘beer garden’ is in the name, they’re legally obligated to give you goodtimes. And yes, they understand not everyone drinks beer, which is why they have very considerately provided a carefully curated collection of wines and cocktails. Throw in some Kilpatrick oysters and lay a setting on their deck and it’s just like a licensed picnic.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie