America’s First German Beer “Castle” Garden


March 28, 2014 by Prost Brewing

Immigrants at Castle Garden, New York City, 1866. Wood engraving in "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper", 20 January 1866, vol. 21, p. 280-281.

Immigrants at Castle Garden, New York City, 1866. Wood engraving in “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper”, 20 January 1866, vol. 21, p. 280-281.

Biergartens (beer gardens) may have originated in Germany, but just like the bratwurst, beer gardens were brought to America by German immigrants long ago so that they have long been a part of America’s multicultural fabric. Ever since they officially crossed the Atlantic, beer gardens have been providing Americans with a sense of place, community, and general good cheer just as they do and have always done in Germany.

It is no coincidence that the American beer garden’s link to German immigrants led to the establishment of what is believed to be America’s oldest beer garden right in the same building that once housed America’s first immigration station, founded even before Ellis Island existed! Known as the “Castle Garden,” it was officially given life on July 3rd, 1824. Located at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, the castle originally served as an army fortress standing guard as Manhattan’s main port of entry. Besides housing a beer garden, this building would transform into an exhibition hall, theatre, public aquarium, and today stands as a national monument paying homage to all of those immigrants who first arrived to America by way of this castle.

View of Castle Garden New York City 1851

View of Castle Garden New York City 1851

Historically, beer gardens in the U.S. also oftentimes offered other popular American pastimes besides imbibing beer in good cheer. Patrons to an American beer garden might join in on outdoor games, popular board games, or enjoy an evening of live music. Some beer gardens even had (and have!) their own shooting galleries or bowling alleys. At Prost, we might not have a bowling alley nor are we set within a castle, but with our view of downtown Denver, mugs full of our authentic German beer, and a never-ending stream of fellow German beer lovers available for “Prost-ing!”, we have no doubt that you will be fully entertained during your visit to Prost’s Biergarten from start to finish!

We look forward to “Prost-ing” with you this spring in the Prost Biergarten!



One thought on “America’s First German Beer “Castle” Garden

  1. Thank you Prost Brewing Company for this wonderful article. Remember the GACC’s Annual Biergarten Festival in Morrison, CO will take place July 11-13, 2014. Hope to see you there! Prost!

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