In 19th century Germany, biergartens — beer gardens to you and me — became popular places for imbibers to beat the heat and enjoy frosty brews during warmer months. Cleveland's drinking destinations preserve the convivial spirit of these locales - each with their own unique twist.
At this Duck Island brewery's beer garden, it's like a backyard picnic with all your faves. Grab a bench or hang out under "Big Red" (the tallest Red Mulberry tree in Ohio) at this dog-friendly patio. While there, chow on the menu's divine selection of Eastern European comfort foods like pierogi, cabbage and noodles and kielbasa sandwiches.
Located in St. Clair Superior's Hub 55 complex, Goldhorn Brewery mixes new-school craft beer with an old-school Slovenian vibe. The patio is a happening spot during warm-weather months with a myriad of outdoor activities. While there, sip a Polka City Pilsner and nosh on Cleveland faves like pierogi, Polish boys and fried bologna.
At Great Lakes Brewing Company, the party goes year-round in its beer garden. A retractable canvas roof reveals blue skies and brews on sunny days, while the fireplace and radiant heat floor keep patrons toasty on chillier nights - making it all too easy to sample the Ohio City anchor's ever-rotating beer menu, along with favorite standbys Dortmunder Gold and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, in the great outdoors.
A somewhat newb to the brewery scene, Hansa Brewery offers a tidy, patio-like garden that hugs bustling Lorain Avenue in Ohio City. Chow down on some of Hansa's authentic Eastern European grub like schnitzel and Slovenian sausages with a few street-side brews.
Hofbräuhaus in Downtown boasts a particularly authentic 1,000-seat biergarten with picnic tables and an outdoor stand offering Munich-modeled beers based on the Duke of Bavaria's original recipes. During summertime, start with the refreshing Lager or Hefe Weizen.
Over at Ohio City's Market Garden Brewery, the beer garden is a tree-spruced brick enclave overlooking the West Side Market - providing the ideal perch for sipping brews, people watching and chilling with friends. While outside, tip back a Citramax IPA or Prosperity Wheat.
One oasis in the beer paradise known as Ohio City is the dog-friendly Nano Brew, which boasts a modern, multi-level beer garden overlooking Downtown Cleveland. Sip on Nano's small-batch brews (paired with one of their big burgers) at this fun-for-day-drinking hotspot.
Platform Brewery Co. in Detroit Shoreway offers a cozy outdoor space that feels like a rustic clubhouse thanks to sturdy, wood-slat walls and picnic tables. While there, toss back one of their unique brews off an ever-evolving tap list with beers like their Cheeky Monkey IPA or Platform Pils.