Enjoying summer at the Westbrae Biergarten

The Westbrae Biergarten. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
The Westbrae Biergarten. Photo: Benjamin Seto.

By Benjamin Seto/Focus:Snap:Eat

I’m more a wine than beer drinker, but there’s something about a warm, sunny day that makes me want to just chug down a cold, refreshing mug of beer. That’s exactly what I was doing yesterday when I visited the Westbrae Biergarten in the northwest area of Berkeley.

Westbrae is a popular new beer garden that drew big crowds during the World Cup (lots of soccer fans love beer), so much so that the neighborhood got a bit testy about the noise and lines of people waiting to get into the beer garden. And Westbrae really is a small neighborhood, tucked in between North Berkeley and the emerging Gilman district.

What’s so cute is that the beer garden is actually next door to a nursery, selling plants for your garden. (Get it?)


Westbrae Biergarten has a great vibe, with a mix of people and a lot of kids and dogs. There are four distinct areas to hang out: 1) an umbrella section at the entrance near the beer stand, 2) a fire pit, 3) a children’s play area, and 4) a side covered area with more tables that’s also near the dessert food stand.

I visited with my friend Than, who dove into the deep-fried foods dished out by Pedro’s Brazil Cafe food truck, namely the seasoned fries ($5) and chicken coquettes ($7). Because of my aversion to deep-fried foods, I had a hard time looking for a small bite to go with my beer. (We were hanging out in the afternoon before dinner.) So I ended up trying the carnitas sandwich ($9), which was this huge shredded pork sandwich that had so much happening in it, with the bits of pineapple, olive, jalapeno, and grilled onions. It was a messy but tasty sandwich.

The weather was perfect for hanging out, enjoying good food and beer, many from local breweries. Westbrae Biergarten is like a beer oasis in the heart of a Berkeley neighborhood, and it’s definitely adding to the community.

Pedro’s Brazil Cafe supplies the food for Westbrae Biergarten. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Pedro’s Brazil Cafe supplies the food for Westbrae Biergarten. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Most of the beer offered are from local breweries. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Most of the beer offered are from local breweries. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
The pour. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
The pour. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
I tried this Aroma Prieta IPA from Drake’s Brewing because it was described as a double dry-hopped summer IPA, so I thought it was perfect for the season. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
I tried this Aroma Prieta IPA from Drake’s Brewing because it was described as a double dry-hopped summer IPA, so I thought it was perfect for the season. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Carnitas sandwich was packed with a lot of stuff, and it was juicy and messy. So you know it was good. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Carnitas sandwich was packed with a lot of stuff, and it was juicy and messy. So you know it was good. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
The best time to visit a beer garden when the weather is warm. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
The best time to visit a beer garden when the weather is warm. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
This sign was hilarious. So true. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
This sign was hilarious. So true. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Westbrae Biergarten has been a nice addition to the quaint Westbrae neighborhood of Northwest Berkeley. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
Westbrae Biergarten has been a nice addition to the quaint Westbrae neighborhood of Northwest Berkeley. Photo: Benjamin Seto.

The deets: Westbrae Biergarten is at 1280 Gilman St. (at Curtis Street), Berkeley. 510-647-9079. Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations, major credit cards accepted.

Benjamin Seto is the voice behind Focus:Snap:Eat, a food blog in the San Francisco Bay Area, where this post first appeared.


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