Fall is a good time to be in the garden—especially when it’s Beergarden.
Founded in 2015 by Tap & Growler co-owners Colby Phillips and Patric Campbell, Beergarden combines industrial and garden design with cozy indoor space and covered outdoor areas. Above all, this actual beer garden features a rotating selection of more than 40 taps—drinks include craft beer, cider, mead, kombucha, red and white wine, soda, and more—with four permanent food carts and an event stage outside.
The goal, says Phillips, was to create a family-friendly “beer garden with a true garden feel” that meshed with “Eugene’s culture of keeping things local, fresh, and interesting.”
However, craft beer isn’t the sole draw, and the appeal has reached far beyond local beer geeks. To beer steward Holly Emery-Walen, the explanation is simple: Food cart fans flock to Beergarden for their favorite cart or for a convenient location to sample multiple carts. Beergarden resides at a “confluence of North Eugene, South Eugene, and Whitaker,” she says. “We’re near two highways, and that brings a big mix of demographics. People weren’t necessarily coming just for craft beer.”
From the more than 100 beers available in a bottle to the constantly changing taps, Emery-Walen oversees every bottle and keg, from rare barrel-aged beers and sour ales to standard IPAs, stouts, ambers, and more. For those seeking light refreshment—and something a little more familiar in their beer glass—Beergarden keeps one permanent tap of Hop Valley’s Light Me Up Lager.
The beverages and the food draw in people hungry for both. After a summer of being a guest cart, pan-Asian American fusion-focused Sporks A la Cart joined Beergarden this past January. Owner Francine Austin says she finds the experience “very rewarding,” especially for the people who don’t want to search for a food cart. “Our customers were happy to have us in one spot, and we felt like we were home,” says Austin. “Beergarden handles everything drink-related, the real estate, and crowd control—giving the food carts an opportunity to do what they are good at: make great food.”
Bill Thur, owner of The Zingaro, agrees. He and his wife, Kristine, began creating their unique hot dogs, burgers, poutine plates, and more in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before relocating to Eugene in 2012 (though they still source Hatch green chiles from New Mexico). The appeal of Beergarden, Thur notes, extends to the community atmosphere, from the mix of taphouse and food cart pod to the long row of picnic tables that make it possible for large groups to gather.
“The trucks that Beergarden picked are very community-minded,” says Thur. “It’s not just the carts and the beer. We do benefits for nonprofit organizations. It’s family-oriented. You can’t just put the pieces together and hope they work. The different parts of the team work together really well.”
After celebrating its second anniversary this summer during Eugene Beer Week, Beergarden taps autumn with their 2nd Annual Beergarden Oktoberfest. Coinciding with the 183rd Munich Oktoberfest in Germany from September 17 to October 3, Beergarden will feature 17 breweries, and each food cart (including a seasonal fifth cart) will also serve up Oktoberfest-inspired fare on specialty menus. The festival will have live music, raffles, trivia nights, games, and other events, and each day will also center around the tapping of an Oktoberfest/German-style beer from American and German breweries.
“Our original idea was a real local feel, a combination of bringing in Gray’s Garden Center, a pub and taphouse concept, with food trucks,” says Phillips. “It has brought all these cultures together.”
777 W 6th Ave. (Next to Gray’s Garden Center)