A mural on the wall inside Lewisburg’s newest beer establishment, Briergarten, of a German-beer woman wrapped with a West Virginia rattlesnake intertwines the two cultures, two cultures that have already been interacting for hundreds of years.
The mural is symbolic of the Briergarten’s goals, bringing people together over love of beer, brats, pretzels and community, Mary Baldwin said.
Baldwin is one of the owners and operators of the Briergarten along with her husband, Josh, Susan Syner and the hospitality group Civitas.
“The group worked hard to create a business that was offering other things that other downtown businesses were not,” Baldwin said.
She said that the Briergarten owner group thinks that a new offering downtown will be good for residents and other downtown businesses alike.
“We can be a part of and help the family of businesses here in town,” Baldwin said. “We can share experiences and clientele.”
As discussion began on the new beer development many of the business’ partners spoke of their love and experiences at biergartens while traveling abroad.
“Members of the group have visited those biergartens and admired the community-based family value vibes they experienced,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin recounted her own travels and experience at U Fleků in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest biergartens in the world.
“It’s a place where the community came together, and we decided to try and bring that communal beer experience here,” Baldwin said.
Visitors to the Briergarten in Stratton Alley in downtown Lewisburg will find traditional biergarten communal tables (imported from biegartens abroad) that will help encourage customers to sit with folks they may not be familiar with.
“We hope it will kind of force people to get to know someone they otherwise may have never met before,” Baldwin said.
Studies in the past few years that show the happiest places in the world are places that feature community gathering hotspots. A CNN article related studies on Iceland’s community hot springs culture and of the other happiest places in the world to live (Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, etc., according to Forbes) are places where biergartens are prevalent.
Baldwin went on to say that she and the owner group are excited and hopeful that the Briergarten will help play a little part in rebuilding life in the post-COVID era with new relationships and experiences for the community and other visitors.
While beer will be on hand at the business, it’s not just a place for adults but for families as well. Offerings for kids and adults alike will be on hand, like board games and other activities.
Planning and building the Briergarten began in February and is set to open its doors today, April 1, to customers. The business will serve German beers imported from Germany, West Virginia craft brews, brats, pretzels and more. There will be other West Virginia products like Mr. Bee’s potato chips on hand too.