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The Bier Garden

Not Rated.
The Bier GardenThe Bier Garden
BA SCORE
96
world-class

41 Ratings
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 11.01%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 350
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

438 High St
Portsmouth, Virginia, 23704-3622
United States
phone: (757) 393-6022

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: avylover)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JayQue:
Photo of JayQue
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%

I have lived in Tidewater Va for almost 30 years and never heard of this place. A fantastic selection of beers....German....Belgian....American and British. Nearly 200 types of bottled beers and at least 16 on tap. The service was good (a bit slow). The German food was very good and the atmosphere was nice for sitting around and drinking beer. I had Paulanus Oktoberfest, St Bernadus Whit Beer and Dogfish 60 IPA all on tap. I won't review any of them because I had such a nice relaxed time eating and drinking that I wasn't paying much attention to detail. For those that call Tidewater a beer wasteland, I would recommend a short trip to Portsmouth.

JayQue, Feb 03, 2006
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EvilBambi, Feb 21, 2014
Photo of Hanzo
3.74/5  rDev -14.2%

I have mixed feelings from my recent trip to The Bier Garden. The hostess that seated us was terrible, we stood at the "Please Wait to be Seated" sign for five minutes and then just decided to walk in to find the hostess just standing there, she said "well, we tried to put that sign where people would actually look at it"....ok, we did, and we waited, why didn't you come out to get us?

Then she said we had to leave our stroller outside (it folds very compactly but whatever, sure we will). Then two other couple brought theirs in while we were eating...guess the rule doesn't apply to everyone.

Looked at the beer menu, what's that, you have Cantillon Classic Gueuze? Sure I'll take that. "Let me check if we have that"...."nope we're all out". Ok, well Cantillon doesn't come in very often, how about taking a couple minutes to notate the beer menus?

So I order a Vitus and had that with my meal which was good. Waitress was nice enough. Overall their selection was solid and the food was good, but I really don't get the huge draw of this place. I mean if I were in the area I could see going back, but I wouldn't make a special trip. And their draft list is pretty small, a lot of the bottles could be found locally. Meh, I just didn't "get it" I guess.

Hanzo, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of Cyrano41
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%

I've been going here for several years now. It's a little bit expensive, so it is an occasional treat rather than a hang out. Beer selection is outstanding; the servers are very knowledgeable and ready to make recommendations with a little guidance about your likes. Most of the brews are bottled vice on tap but you can count on the right serving glass. The food is classic German fare meets classic pub fare. I personally love the spatzle with just about anything. Looking forward to meeting some friends there tomorrow!

Cyrano41, Jul 19, 2013
Photo of BanjinTsuki
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%

I was on a business trip to Portsmouth VA when I saw the Bier Garden and its claim to serving over 350 beers and, of course, had to give it a go. The results were pleasing, even for my vegan teetotaler friend who was with me.

Atmosphere - um, imagine a German Bier Garden. Seriously, the place is quaint with a German decor on the inside with appropriate ambiance decoration and character, without going overboard. I've only been to one other German restaurant (Cumberland MD - now closed) which beat this place out on decore. Though we didn't get to sit outside, the garden seating area looked very welcoming and pleasant. The only drawback to atmosphere is the restaurant suffers a bit from being a little overcrowded. But with 350 beers and decent food, it is easy to understand why and look the other way. Oh and sorry - no beer maid dresses for the waitresses - but I was there for beer, not cleavage.

Quality - The Bier Garden has few peers. At least when compared to the restaurants in the local area, you certainly wont find better (though the pizza joint down the street had better than average pizza and beer). But the food is authentic, well varied (remember my vegan friend), and they obviously pride themselves on being the best in the area.

Service - Exceptional. The waitresses knew the beers. I bet if I quizzed them on all 350, they would pass. They even chased be down to give me the beer glass I left behind - it was buy a draft keep the glass night.

Selection - 350 beers, 'nough said? Sure they were out of the first brew I picked, but complaining of that would be obnoxiously picky. So, I went with a New Holland Dragon's Milk Oak Barrel Ale (more a stout really) and a draft dark unfiltered wheat Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock. Both are excellent and when can you say you followed up a bourbon barrel stout with an unfiltered dark wheat? When can you say you drank the milk of dragons? Consider both questions a challenge by the way. No go do it!

Food - Traditional German fare. I had the brats with red cabbage, squash, and potato soup. Nothing I couldn't make at home, but it was well made. I mean, squash is squash - there is only so much you can do with it. It would be unfair to complain that their squash wasn't stellar. Again, they are vegetarian friendly and my vegan friend had no trouble having a decent meal too. If you go, you must try a pretzel. That is not a challenge, it is an order. Don't get all "you can't order me around you pretentious jerk!" It is the best damn pretzel you will ever taste so you must try it. Period. And a $3 (might have been $2), it is foolish to not try this divine treat.

Value. 2 brats, red cabbage, squash, soup, bourbon ale (at 10% ABV), draft unfiltered wheat, and a tip for just over $35. Seems pretty reasonable.

Enjoy when you go; and don't forget the pretzel.

Your bro in brew,
Banjin Tsuki

BanjinTsuki, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of antique
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%

Whenever I'm back in my hometown, I MUST go to The Bier Garden at least once.

It's a German restaurant (despite "garden" over "Garten") with plenty of very good German dishes, and as such it functions well as a place to take the whole family or an intimate group of friends. The decor is a bit tacky, but I've heard a few native Germans contest that it actually feels like a German cafe or something, so that's probably a good thing. Also, most of the appetizers are a godsend. Especially with beer.

So let's talk about their beer. Quite simply, their selection rules. Over 400 on demand, so the menu claims, and I've only twice (been there maybe 20 times) asked for a beer they were out of. It's overwhelming in the best way possible. All the beer they serve is well-kept, at a good temperature and their taps are always insanely fresh tasting. The bartenders--specifically this one guy who knows me by name--are supremely knowledgeable and friendly, and whenever I sit at the bar exclusively (and even a few of the times I haven't) I'll end getting a drink or two for free, making some visits quite the value for the beers I'm ordering.

If you wanna go to the restaurant part on really any day you should call ahead if it's around dinnertime, because this place gets packed quickly and stays packed until the restaurant closes. The bar is open till 2 (sometimes even a bit later) daily, which is dangerous, and all in all it's a wonderful place to be.

Some of the beer, specifically the bigger craft names that you can often find in your local grocers, can be a bit pricy, but for the deeper, more micro stuff the prices are right on par with what you'd expect usually. Food entrees can also test price limits now and again, but the menu has plenty of good and cheap choices too (including a number of snackier platters that go really well with beer and groups of drinking friends).

Anyway, it's a great place overall, and if you ever happen to be in Portsmouth (for whatever godforsaken reason) you owe it to yourself to visit here at least once, as I guarantee you'll find tons of stuff you haven't had before.

antique, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of ash111
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%

I haven't eaten here in years, but I've been for beers a bunch of times. The menu is impressive. Most beers are served from bottles, although they have a good number of beers on tap (between 10-20). Selection is impressive from all over the world, and they recently redid the menu so it's now organized by style instead of country.

The prices are reasonable. Domestic craft brews seem to be best deal (compared with other restaurants), and things get expensive as you get into the exotic and hard to find. But if you are looking in the $5-7 dollar range, you will have so many choices that it's almost overwhelming.

Finally, I would say that the bartenders/servers know beer. I've asked specific questions and gotten informative answers that have proved right based on an order. So I have to give them credit for knowing their products- even beyond the tried and true.

ash111, May 31, 2011
Photo of KeithStolte
5/5  rDev +14.7%

The Bier Garten is a local favorite of mine where I bring visiting friends and family that enjoy German Cuisine. Consistently the food is exceptional in quality and maintains a great selection of brews from around the world.

Atmosphere is like a small german bier garten with a patio surrounded by flora and trees. Very beautiful during the spring, summer, and fall. During the winter it can get on the chilly side. On the inside it is modeled after a traditional Bavarian county home with wood flooring and features. Very warm and cosy feel to the interior. There is also a bar also has a nice atmosphere particularly fun and enjoyable during the FIFA games.

Servers and Tenders are well informed and always have a great pairing with the food that you are getting or are planning to get. I personally find it amazing that they are able to keep track of the 100s of beers that they have.

Selection is widespread, with the beer menu being divided by what country they were brewed from.

Food is authentic german cuisine and are highly regarded in the area for being the best food of its kind.

KeithStolte, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of CourteManche
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%

The Bier Garden in Portsmouth, Virginia is a godsend for beer drinkers and connoisseurs and should not be missed if you're traveling through Southeastern Virginia. It is located in downtown Portsmouth and is surrounded by historic landmarks, breath-taking vintage homes and the hip High Street.

Tucked between a corner tavern (Longboards) and the Court House Galleries Museum, you'll find a small, humble establishment that offers huge beer selections and authentic German foods. Bier Garden encompasses a cool, air-conditioned indoor dining area (with an expansive outdoor patio) and quaint bar located in the rear of the property. Bier Garden also has an off-premises license, so feel free to stop in at the bar to pick up a Westmalle Dubbel or Ayinger Celebrator to-go!

Expect a large beer menu, quick service, knowledgable bartenders and waitresses, great food, reasonable prices, beautiful decor, quality surroundings and an overall experience that's second to none.

CourteManche, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of jporf911
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%

In all of the 7 Cities of Hampton Roads, the Bier Garden is the best place to go for a combination of truly delicious beer and food. Although many of the available brews could also be obtained at one of the nearby Total Wine establishments, Bier Garden offers the benefit of a traditional restaurant atmosphere; however, the actual architecture of the place is rather odd. There are three main dining rooms that do not resemble one another in the slightest, yet each are comfortable in their own way. There is also outdoor seating and a bar that stays open once the restaurant closes. Given its location, it's a pleasure to take the ferry from Norfolk across the water depending on where you live (which also eliminates the problem of needing a designated driver).

As for the beer itself, I have sampled a wide variety of what they have to offer. From macros to craft beers to high-quality imports, they seem to have it all. They are the only place around here aside from the aforementioned Total Wine that sells Gulden Draak, Delirium Tremens, and a number of other brews that are difficult to obtain in this area. They also offer a number of beer samplers in case you want to experiment before settling on a beverage for the evening.

Having been to the Bier Garden with a party of 9 last time, everyone seemed satisfied with the food, both in terms of taste and portions. The cost is not overly prohibitive, and the selection generally seems to compliment the beers being served.

All in all, a wonderful experience that is not offered anywhere else in Hampton Roads.

*Note: for a list of their beer selection, check here: http://www.biergarden.com/beer.phtml

jporf911, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of timtim
2.6/5  rDev -40.4%

nice location in very old, very civil warish downtown Portsmouth right next to the memorial for fallen confederate soldiers. the atmosphere is what drew us in here, but it all went downhill from there. outdoor seating on the main drag with a contrived euro dive-bar feel. kind of cool. plenty of seats on a tuesday night, and not many customers, so i thought our waitress would be happy to have us. she wasn't. we asked if we could sit wherever we wanted and she said, "I guess". We asked if we could look at beer menus and she said they only had a few for the whole place and we'd have to wait until someone was done with one and that we would only have one per table. what? when we did get the large menu of mostly mediocre bottles, i was happy to see foret. i ordered one and she said, "i don't know if we have that. i could go check or you could order triple karmeleit on tap and i won't have to go look". i ordered the foret anyways and about ten minutes later she came back and said they were out, pushed the karmeleit again, and then rolled her eyes when i asked if they had saison dupont... ten more minutes. "We're out of dupont". you get the picture. food was okay, prices were okay, service and selection were terrible. one of my worst beer bar experiences in quite some time. tell you the truth, I will avoid Portsmouth as best I can. not so sure they were into us "Yanks", being from the "North" (DC that is).

timtim, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of BZero007
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%

Stopped here for my BDAY dinner after the Beer Fest this year. I have to say we left extremely satisfied and carrying to go boxes of Goulash. The atmosphere was nice and cozy, we sat in the outside garden area and had lights and trees around us. Other people were around and enjoying them selves as the weather was great. Service was very good and extremely friendly as soon as we arrived we were sat. We made reservations but were abit late and called ahead and they held our table. The waitress were very prompt and helpful about the beers and food. When I asked about the Brooklyn and Schneider and sons collab they hooked it up quickly with the story of each beer. Beers and Aptz were brought out quickly and they brought the right glass for everyone's beers. Most of us ordered the Aventinus on tap which was brought out in perfect Aventinus glasses. The beer menu was a little hard to find what we wanted but was fine. Food was extremely delicious and served well. The prices were good for a dinner plate as well as the beers. Would highly recommend this place to eat and drink. Again I loved this place.

BZero007, May 03, 2009
Photo of Onibubba
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%

Just moved to Portsmouth for a job, so I was super happy to find this restaurant in the area. What you need to know: CLOSED ON MONDAYS! . Food - German faire. The sauerbrauten is my favorite dinner, the schnitzel bites are a great app. but I generally come to drink, not to eat. Beer selection is about 12 - 14 taps. They just finished up their supply of Duchesse on tap shortly after I arrived, and I have seen ABT 12 on tap here, so they keep things changing.

Bottled beer selection is great, limited only by what they are able to bring in. What the did NOT have that I would like to see: Fantome, Dupont, Jolly Pumpkin. They did have a few De Proef bottles, an assortment of geuze and lambics, a great lineup of nearly every DFH and Stone product available. Many, many domestics and imports, but I was really only looking for favorites. A bit pricey? Sure. Will I be back? Weekly.

Onibubba, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of clayrock81
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

First off, a great vibe is to be had whether you sit inside or out despite the fact that it can get a little crowded inside. The service is nice and helpful and the bartender knew his stuff. The food is superb and I'd eat at this place even if they didn't have a great beer selecion. Thankfully it does and this is what you're reading this for. Over 300 bottles in terms of quantity, but the quality is also exceptional. A large chunk of those bottles is Belgian and German imports, emphasis on the Belgian (which is odd since it is a German restaurant). Not as many German styles as I was hoping for and they do lean to heavy/dark beers on the beer menu but this is just me nitpicking. Having a few beers and dinner will hurt your wallet a little but it's worth it.

clayrock81, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of ColForbinBC
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Recently got to make a second trip back to the Bier Garden while on a mini vacation in Va Beach. Went here for dinner and a few solid beers on a Thursday night.

The food is top notch authentic German cuisine. I had schwine braten (I think) as an entree and we all split an appetizer. A great meal.

The beer list is pretty incredible. They had everything including an excellent selection of German, Domestic, and Belgian, right in any beer drinkers wheelhouse. The bartenders and waitstaff are very knowledgable and were able to offer recomendations and even nailed a few "surprise me" beers right on the head with minor directions.

I had an Aventinus Eisbock and Jever, a hoppy little pilsner.

This is definitely a must go to bar. When coupled with the excellent food, there really isn't much better out there.

ColForbinBC, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of dustinjkline
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%

I got to check this place out while vacationing in VA. Had a good selection of taps, and a huge array of bottles. The beer menu was nicely laid out, sorted by country and style. The food was very good. I had a DFH 90, Celebrator, Aventinus Eisbock, and a Delerium Tremens on my visit there. Only downside was the smoke, but that is an issue almost everywhere in Virginia. Draft prices were mostly $6-7 except the St Bernardus 12 which was $9. Great place, will definitely go again next time I visit VA.

dustinjkline, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of hellcatsjg
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%

Went for dinner with the wife recently and was very pleased. Waited about 25 minutes in the bar, which was very smoky. On the plus side, the bartender was very knowledgable and the guy who didn't serve me was wearing a Beer Advocate T shirt, always good to see that at a bar. About 14 taps with Ayinger, Delirium, St Bernardus ABT 12, Aventinus, and many others to choose from. Very nice selection, if a bit pricey at $7 to $9 a glass. Dinner was very tasty. I enjoyed the Strammer Max, which was a german meatloaf with an egg on top. Everything is better with an egg on top. Saurkraut was also very tasty on the side. A very enjoyable evening and the only downside would be the price, but a nice treat from time to time.

hellcatsjg, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of PhageLab
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%

What a treat! A friend of mine who lives close by had been trying to get me over there for about a year now. Well, last weekend I finally had a free night, so I spent my first Friday at the Bier Garden. The most perfect atmosphere I could ever ask for, the staff was talkative and friendly, the bartender learned my name instantly and proved to be very knowledgeable, and all of the patrons were nice. Those are all things that you cannot find in my city of Newport News. I didn't eat, I was far too interested in combing over their inventory, which was exceptional. Lot's of Belgians and Hefeweizens. Off the top of my head some that stuck out were Trois Pistoles, Chimay, Rochefort 8, St Bernardus 12, DFH Midas, and some aged Vertical Epics. Prices were slightly high but I whole heartidly think it's worth it, and I can't wait to go back. Very highly recommended!

PhageLab, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of theformula
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

I've been in Tidewater all my life and I've been eating and drinking here for years now. I don't know what life would be like without The Bier Garden.

While I usually start off w/ Aventinus (which is always on tap b/c they sell more than anyone in the world), there is always a new beer to try. They have a huge selection of varied bottled beers and taps. A very knowledgeable barkeep and staff, and the German food is authentic and just damn good.

The service can be slow, especially at peak hours, but that is the only weak spot in the titanium chain. Great, old -time pub atmosphere. I'll always come back here for a really great or semi-rare beer and the food. If anywhere near P-town, this is a MUST.

theformula, Sep 11, 2007
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The Bier Garden in Portsmouth, VA
96 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.