Biergartens in Bavaria have been around for over 200 years. Originally, they were created out of a necessity to keep beer cool in the summer. With no refrigeration, the breweries dug cellars in the banks of the river, spread gravel on the ground and planted chestnut trees to provide shade. The result: a beer garden. Scholz Garten is the oldest beer garden in the US, in Austin, Texas. German immigrant August Scholz opened it in 1866. The term biergarten – or beer garden – is now a common name for outside restaurants where beer is served.
Der Biergarten
2332 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 346-4572
www.beergardensacramento.com

Der Biergarten is a fusion of traditional and modern. The completely outdoor restaurant is definitely one of a kind. It was constructed using cargo containers, a first for the area. The picnic tables, along with the lack of TV and music, promote a communal atmosphere and socialization with people you haven’t met before. Der Biergarten has over 30 beers on tap, from the very traditional German beer to some of the best local craft beer. Remember, if it’s raining they’re closed.

Sudwerk Restaurant & Brewery
2001 2nd St.
Davis, CA 95618
(530) 758-8700
www.sudwerk.com

While Sudwerk isn’t technically a beer garden, they have a great patio area. There are dozens of tables, giant shade trees and it is a dog-friendly environment. Sudwerk is different from the others on this list since they are a brewery as well as a restaurant. Their beer has branched out over the years, but the original four – Marzen, Pilsner, Lager and Hefeweizen – can always be enjoyed on tap. They have bottled beer, kegs and other merchandise available to take home. With live music on the patio every Saturday from May through October, Sudwerk is the perfect place to grab a mug and chill with your friends.

University Of Beer
615 3rd St.
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 759-1990
www.theuob.com

University of Beer in Davis is not set up with long, family-style tables, but the patio is set up to encourage socializing. The long counter and bar area has about a dozen seats that face outward towards the street; great for people watching. On weekends, they often have specials for $1 off your beer if you bring your dog to “puppy hour.” They have 50 beers on tap, including two on nitro! Gather some friends, or head down by yourself and meet someone new.

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Federalist Public House
2009 Matsui Alley
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 661-6134
www.federalistpublichouse.com

Federalist is definitely unique, to say the least. From the construction to the food, this place stands out in the crowd. They are following a new trend of building with shipping containers, a less expensive, modern solution to putting together an awesome hot spot. They have a wood-fired pizza oven which helps make their killer pizzas even better. The long rows of picnic tables encourage patrons to interact with people they wouldn’t have met if just sitting at “normal” tables or a bar. They even have Bocci ball. They feature great craft brews on tap with an ever-changing lineup. Federalist will not disappoint when it comes to pizza, beer and new friends.

Raley Field
400 Ballpark Dr.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 376-4676
www.raleyfield.com

The beer garden at Raley Field is an awesome multi-level patio located along the 3rd base line off left field. This three-tier patio on the third base side is extremely versatile for functions ranging from sit-down meals to cocktail parties. This is a great place to throw back a couple during the game. They even have a thirsty Thursday ticket deal: a 6-Pack of vouchers for Thursday night games with seating on the the Toyota Home Run Hill and a limited edition River Cats Beer Stein. If you ask for a beer stamp card, every 10 beers you buy, you get a free mug.

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As a hospitality professional Andy Soto has worked every facet of the industry. He currently leads the team at Spectrum Restaurant Consulting. He started writing a hospitality blog in 2009 and restaurant writing for Sacramento Press in 2010. In 2011 Andy became a Sacramento Restaurant Examiner for Examiner.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.