Sunday, September 9, 2012

Celebrate Oktoberfest In The Park

In Autumn, citizens of Germany and the U.S. celebrate beer (and, really, why shouldn't we?) with the annual Oktoberfest.  In Germany, this 16-day event lasts from late September to early October in Munich, and originally celebrated the marital union of Germany's King Ludwig I to Bavaria's Princess Therese.  The original festivities included annual horse races, an agricultural show, and a parade.

The festivities now constist of consuming large amounts of German beer and food, and here in Milwaukee, we know how to do that well.  Milwaukee's official Oktoberfest is held at the former Bavarian Inn, but there are many (MANY) places around the city to celebrate our German heritage and partake of what made our city famous.

One of these places is the new Biergarten at Estabrook Park, which just opened in June.  The park is located on the north side of the city, off of Hampton Avenue and Port Washington Road.  What makes this beer garden so special is that it is the only one held in a county park in the U.S., and the first to do so since the beginning of Prohibition.  I took a drive over to the beer garden yesterday afternoon to check it out.

Estabrook Park itself is a very large, narrow park that runs along the Milwaukee River, and has many places for running, biking, and playing with your dog.  As you can see above, many bicyclists stop here on their ride to have a quick drink in the sun or spend the afternoon catching up with friends.

The photo above shows the concession stand where I saw that they serve 4 types of German Lager, some domestic offerings, as well as bratwursts and hot dogs.  If you buy one of their Lagers, you get a lot for your money.  A 1/2 litre is $5 and a full litre is $7, but there is also a refundable $5 glass deposit (I saw them - they are nice glass mugs).  But, you can also bring in your own mug, and in fact, it's encouraged.  Since it was only 3:00 and I had to drive back west, I didn't partake of the beer offered, but they did look good.

The scenery at this beer garden is gorgeous, and there are a lot of tables around the concession stand to take it all in.  After your drink, you can walk along the river path (above) or look out at the river itself (below).

The Biergarten at Estabrook Park is open weekends through November 24.  Milwaukee's Oktoberfest is held weekends through September 29.

For more information on the Estabrook Park Biergarten, click here.  Auf Wiedersehen!

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