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In the East Bay, our thirst for beer is nigh unquenchable. Luckily, we are also home to throngs of breweries and even more bars and restaurants willing to sling frothy mugs our way.

Throw in picnic benches and the open air and what arises is a halcyon union of both establishment types — yes, I’m talking about beer gardens. Each one on this list offers a little something extra that sets them apart from the crowd.

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1. Best View: Brotzeit Lokal

Located at: 1000 Embarcadero, Oakland

Brotzeit Lokal also earns the titles of Hardest to Find Beer Garden and Beer Garden with Actual German Food. Located on the Brooklyn Basin waterfront behind the Homewood Suites, you literally won’t see this restaurant until you’ve pulled off Embarcadero Drive and driven around the hotel’s parking lot.

But once you arrive, you’ll be grateful for what you do see: a beautiful, quiet marina where water laps at docked boats and cats jump between them.

Wash down the sausages and potato pancakes with any draught from among their 18 taps of mostly Germany and Belgian beers. Cider imports are also among the selections.

beer garden of westbrae in berkeley ca Photo Credit: Rebecca Gomez Farrell

2. For Friends with Kids: Westbrae Biergarten

Located at: 1280 Gilman Street, Berkeley

Despite the German spelling, this beer garden hosts a Brazilian food truck serving up impressive tri-tip sandwiches topped with a delicious chimichurri sauce — Pedro’s Brazil Café. Other vendors pop-up for special events.

The tap skews toward European style pilsners and lagers made by West Coast breweries, and there are excellent cider choices as well.

The kids? At the enclosed playground near the back of this landscaped venue, they can run themselves ragged while you enjoy that Hangar 24 Helles Lager. Even the four-legged kind are welcomed here.

beer garden patio of Telegraph Photo Credit: Rebecca Gomez Farrell

3. For Adult Slushies: Telegraph Beer Garden

Located at: 2318 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

Despite its many signs, it’s still easy to miss this Uptown destination. Perhaps that’s because their biggest sign, right above the black fence, reads “Beeryland” rather than Telegraph.

Follow your ears through the nearby doorway to find a loud and lively beer garden full of graffiti murals and gourmet burgers with toppings like mac and cheese and kimchi. In addition to 12 drafts and upwards of 70 bottles, Telegraph also offers a kombucha and beer combination.

If you want a break from the foamy stuff, head to the bar in back and order the icy stuff instead. A Cape Cod slushy hit the spot on a recent warm Friday after work. Crispin cider, lime-a-ritas, and greyhound slushies are currently on the menu.

food from Drake's Dealership Photo Credit: Rebecca Gomez Farrell

4. Best Food: Drake’s Dealership

Located at: 2325 Broadway, Oakland

This category is the most subjective of all, but I dare you to try their duck confit with grits, mushrooms, hazelnuts, and cherries and disagree.

If more conventional beer garden fare is your style, the kolsch pretzels with bacon fondue (yes, you read that right, BACON FONDUE) or any of the expertly charred New Haven-style wood-fired pizzas should do.

Sit back and soak up the sunshine in one of the largest beer gardens in the East Bay. Or step indoors and fill your growler with any of Drake’s Brewing Company’s year-round or seasonal draft selections. The Jolly Rodger Imperial Coffee Porter is a personal favorite. Enjoy!

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