A Brief History
The Biergarten Tradition Continues
Beer gardens originated in Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital city, in the 19th century, and remain common in Southern Germany. They are usually attached to a brewery, beer hall, pub, or restaurant.
Started (in the strict sense) by decree of the kingdom of Bavaria in 1812, the original breweries likely included Löwenbräu, Hofbräuhaus, Augustinerbräu, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten, beers from whom you can find on our menu even today.
At the time 1539 and 1553 laws were still in place in the region prohibiting the brewing of beer in warmer months due to the tendency of fire breaking out during the process of grain being boiled into wort. Because of this, beer needed to be stored in a cool place prior to later consumption, so subterranean cellars were dug, often topped with layers of dirt and gravel. Later, Horse-Chestnut Trees were planted above cellars to provide added shade in warmer months.
Incidentally, Centre Street stands upon the original site of the Centre Street Brewery, which was in operation during the Eerie Canal (which existed below what is now Schenectady's Eerie Blvd.) We too have subterranean vaults that exist to this day below our main bar and part of the patio/biergarten area in which beer was stored.
So what do you do when you have cellars full of cold beer in a shaded outdoor spot? Well, drink the beer of course! It started with simple benches and tables and later foodservice and traditional entertainment were introduced. Biergartens we're a place that tables were shared with strangers bringing about lively conversation and friends made.
Common in pubs all over Europe, music was and still is an integral part of the experience. From folk sing-alongs to musicians exhibiting their craft, it was a natural fit to bring this into the Biergarten atmosphere. What is known now as a 'Church Organ' actually originated from the pub culture present in Germany during the mid-16th century. The famed reformer Martin Luther, co-opted the pipe organs used in pubs for use in churches due to people's familiarity in singing to such an accompaniment. The tradition of hymns in church started in pubs and Biergartens.
The food caused a problem for smaller breweries who couldn't compete with the offerings, so for a time, biergartens in the region were prohibited from providing foodservice, and as a concession, patrons were permitted to bring their own food. After time, restrictions lifted and established Biergartens, like us, don't permit victuals not purchased here. (Unless of course, the kitchen is closed!)
That tradition continues today. While our service model focused on the best craft beer available, we have cultivated a talented group of cooks who provide a growing selection of crowd favorites and a gastronomical spin on classic pub food. We also adopted the tradition of live music by curating the best local talent available to augment your experience.
We hope you enjoy the space we've created, outside in the warmer months, and indoors in the colder ones - each with a warmth and comfort that is designed to make anyone feel comfortable while enjoying a bite, a drink, our live music, a game or meeting a new friend. We're glad your here and look forward to seeing you often.