Beer gardens are popping up all over


Over the past few years, beer gardens have become popular places to cool off and many bars and restaurants in South Jersey and Philadelphia have added open-air establishments to occupy the rising number of beer lovers searching for quality craft beer and a fun environment to drink that quality craft beer.

Due to a high response and success of beer gardens in cities from New York to Nashville, some of the most popular venues in our area are hopping on the beer garden bandwagon.

This summer, Philadelphia alone will host at least a half dozen pop-up beer gardens from Independence Hall to Penn’s Landing.

One place people will be flocking to for a night out with good friends and even better beer is Longwood Gardens.

Marketing Communications Associate Abigail Palutis says German-style fare will be offered at the new Beer Hut, which was constructed from reclaimed wood from a giant sequoia. She also said a local brewery will be partnering to bring the public the newest addition to beer gardens in the Philadelphia area.

“We are also excited to be working with Victory Brewing Company, who will be brewing a Longwood Signature Beer using ingredients grown in our gardens,” she said.

Longwood Gardens’ beer garden will be open Wednesday through Saturday evenings, but you must be a “Nightscape” ticketholder to enjoy the fun.

Explaining the growing trend of beer gardens, Palutis says the region has many quality microbreweries and beer gardens are a great way for people to get together in public to experience what the region has to offer in terms of fun, excitement and quality craft beer.

She asks, “What better type of garden is there in the world?”

“A good beer garden offers a compelling mix of ambiance, great food and great beverages,” she explained. “It should also be a relaxing outdoor oasis to enjoy with friends and family.”

“So far, it’s been fabulous,” said Keg & Kitchen owner Kevin Meeker.

Meeker envisioned something different for his beer garden. So he created a huge 16-foot table where everyone sits and drinks together, not such a popular idea for introverts, but one that forces people to make new friends.

“Our beer garden was designed with the old-style drinking areas in Ireland and England in mind, where people would drink together, out of giant liters of beer while sitting at a communal table,” Meeker said. “In fact, just the other day we had an Eagles fan chatting across from a Giants fan. They were laughing and having fun by the end of the night.”

Meeker says the natural progression of society composed of people who want to meet new people and experience new things is the reason for the rise of beer gardens in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.

“People spend all day in front of the computer or on their phone, they eventually want to have a fun night out and socialize,” he said. “Ten years ago, they wouldn’t want to sit with new people and share a table, but now, they will sit with whoever and share a cold one.”

One beer garden already has left its mark in South Jersey, opening last April.

Formerly known as Top Dog, Craft House and Beer Garden in Cherry Hill is on the road to celebrating its second successful summer thanks partly to its outdoor beer garden that offers 35 different drafts and over 200 craft beers.

Craft House Manager Bruce Waugh has been in the bar business for 35 years. He said the beer garden trend in the area is due to variety of craft beers available.

“People don’t drink to get smashed anymore,” he said. “Now, they go to beer gardens to socialize and enjoy the art and craft of the variety of drinks available.”

Waugh says Craft House offers three separate bars: one for brandy, one for bourbon and a cigar bar where people can light up a stogie and sip on a variety of craft beer.

“We have really created a cool culture here. Beer, wine and other beverages are appealing to everyone.”

Waugh says learning about the history of beer is one of the things people appeal to most about beer gardens.

He says as the sales of beer continue to skyrocket, so will the number of beer gardens.

(Published in Courier Post – http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/life/2015/05/20/beer-gardens-popping/27584525/)