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.
Most of the beer offered are from local breweries. 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.
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.
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.

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.

Connect with NOSH on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the free NOSH Weekly email for all your East Bay food news.

Freelancer Benjamin Seto has worked as a reporter and editor for various newspapers around the country, and is currently a communications professional and food writer based in Oakland. Ben is also the...