Advice, Culture

Speaking of German: Biergarten Basics

Biergarten Basics in Germany

So you find yourself at a Biergartenーwunderbar! Below, find a few tips to get the most out of the experience. 

First things first, you’ll want to know how to order a drink. 

Typically, you’ll be able to spot a central beer pouring station where you can pay and order. To request a drink in German, say: 

Ein [insert beer], bitte! 
A [insert beer], please! 

Pils 

You might also hear this lager called a Pilsner or a Pilsener. It tends to taste crisp and hoppy. 

Weißbier

If you’re in the mood for a wheat beer, ask for this. If you’re unfamiliar, wheat beers range in flavor but tend to have malty, bready, or fruity notes. 

Kölsch

By law, this beer can only come from the city of Cologne (Köln in German). It has a straw-yellow color and is slightly less bitter than a Pils. It’s also served in a much smaller glass than other beer types. 

Dunkles 

You can use this if you are requesting a darker beer.

Radler 

For something a little lighter, you might opt for this mix of beer and lemon soda. 

Vielen Dank 

Many thanks  

Noch ein Bier bitte 

Another, please 

If there ever was a time to get your beer just right, now is it. 

Germans take their beer very seriously. It’s very important to know how to zapfen, or pour, the beer out of the tap. Pour at a 45-degree angle and prepare for the right amount of foam, around an inch and a half

It’s also important that the beer isn’t flat and won’t get flat. Cold and sparkly beer is so beloved in German culture that you won’t find many of your seatmates nursing their drinks. Rather than let the beer in front of you go warm and flat, it’s acceptable to drink it down quickly so you can order a new one. 

All that drinking brings us to our next point. 

To prevent a hangover, you’ll want to get some food and water in you. 

Tourists may find water harder to come by than in America, where it’s custom to have water pitchers, fountains, or coolers everywhere. While in the past you would have had to rely on bottled water, the country is working toward making tap water more accessible in an effort to curb climate change

A good rule of thumb is to be specific in what you ask for. If you’re okay with bottled water, try the phrase below:

Darf ich etwas Wasser haben?
May I have some water? 

For mineral or tap water, try one of these phrases:

Ich hätte gern ein Glas Mineralwasser.
May I have some water? 

Ich hätte gern ein Glas stilles Wasser
I would like a glass of still water. 

While Biergartens often offer a variety of traditional German food, you also have the option to bring your own food. Some spots require that those bringing their own grub sit in another section than those making purchases. An easy clue to look for, according to Fodor’s, is a tablecloth. If the table is dressed, it probably is table service only

Long, communal tables invite conversation, perfect for practicing your German. 

You’ve been doing your daily lessons and have maybe brushed up on a few German idioms and tips for sounding like a local. Now’s the perfect chance to break those new skills out. Here are a few conversation starters to get you going. 

Guten Tag
Good day 

Alles klar?
Good day 

Welches Bier würden Sie mir empfehlen?
Good day 

Prost! 
Cheers!

Want to really hold your own at a Biergarten? Get started with Rosetta Stone. 

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