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How to Turn Your Backyard into a Beer Garden

Why have a plain old barbecue when you can host an Oktoberfest? Make it authentic with these tips.


  • Step 1: Set up picnic tables Set up wooden picnic tables with tablecloths featuring the blue-and-white checkered design of the Bavarian flag. If possible, put the tables under a shaded area.
  • TIP: It's better to have one long table rather than a few small ones, because beer gardens are all about mingling.
  • Step 2: Have plenty of beer Have plenty of German beer on hand, including light beer, lagers, pilsners, and wheat beer. Serve the beer in half-liter or liter mugs, or covered beer steins.
  • TIP: Have some German wine on hand, like Riesling and Spatburgunder, for non-beer drinkers.
  • Step 3: Throw wurst on the grill Grill different kinds of sausages, like bratwurst, weisswurst, and knockwurst. Another beer garden staple is "steckerlfisch," or "fish on a stick." Stick whole mackerel on skewers and grill them.
  • Step 4: Prepare the side dishes Put out bowls of sauerkraut, warm German potato salad, and red cabbage. Make sure each picnic table has a big basket of soft pretzels and sweet, coarse mustard.
  • Step 5: Pipe in some polka Pipe in some oom pah pah polka music.
  • Step 6: Give a lot of toasts Ask everyone to raise their glass so you can offer a toast. When you're finished, say "Prost!" which is the German word for "Cheers!" Do this often.
  • Step 7: Bring on dessert Have apple strudel or black forest cake for dessert, and serve it with ice coffees topped with fresh whipped cream.
  • FACT: One of the most famous beer gardens is Munich is called the Chinesischer Turm, or Chinese Tower, because of its pagoda-style building.

You Will Need

  • Picnic tables
  • Blue-and-white checked tablecloths
  • German beer
  • Beer mugs or steins
  • German sausages
  • German foods
  • Polka music
  • Apple strudel or black forest cake
  • Iced coffee
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • German wine (optional)

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