Garden State

Drink in the sun at Biergarten

Al fresco beer drinking shouldn't be a novelty. Elsewhere in America, it's commonplace; in Germany, it's a way of life.

But until Biergarten opened last week, there was not a single German-style beer garden within city limits. Thanks to the owners of Suppenküche, the eagle has finally landed.

When the outdoor courtyard opens at 3 p.m., the sun floods the long communal tables, and the employees working within the shipping container–from whence beer is dispensed and food ordered–wear sunglasses as they fill oversize steins.

There are three varieties of beer on draft, including a refreshing Weihenstephanerlager ($6), all of which can be ordered by the half- or full liter, as well as two bottled selections and, of course, Underberg ($4).

Heartier appetites should order the loose-crumbed, house-made bratwurst ($9 for one; $18 for two), dolloped with mustard and horseradish and accompanied by sauerkraut and a pretzel roll from Firebrand Artisan Breads.

The limited menu also includes a trio of salads (potato, kraut and beet; $12), an open-face egg sandwich topped with herb butter and slices of hard-cooked egg ($8), or à la carte pretzels (seeded; $5 or plain; $4).

Though Biergarten will be open year-round, weather forecasts indicates clear skies for the next two weeks. Why wait?

Biergarten, 424 Octavia St.; 415-252-9289 or biergartensf.com Open Wed. through Sun., 3 to 9 p.m.