A common German saying is “It never rains in a pub.” The relaxed atmosphere, abundant food and wonderful libations represent a refuge from daily concerns. Beda’s Beirgarten is a new old world sanctuary. Those that love genuine German food celebrate it, owned by Beda and Helga Schmidthues, who fell in love with California and moved their family to San Luis Obispo from Germany. I was lucky on my first trip to sit next to the enigmatic Beda and listen to tales with his deep, contagious laugh. This proud papa talked about his life’s dream of owning a neighborhood pub that represented “Gemütlichkeit”. Meaning a special place where people can come alone, with friends or meet new ones.
Gary started with the Black Forest Cake which is house made. Six layers of cake, soaked cherries and frosting with a dusting of coco on top filled the dessert seeker with joy. Looking thru the window, I was please to see a female chef and Beda told me how he imported a real German chef to train everyone in the kitchen for the first six weeks. I was impressed with the wine list, a few local, but excellent selections that go perfectly with this type of cuisine. Many offerings from Wolff, a Dry Gewürztraminer from Claiborne & Churchill and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Ancient Peaks to name a few. But the hero’s of this bar is the beer. Authentic German beers are imported to the delight of everyone around me. I started with an Erdinger Weisse that paired perfectly with my Bretzel, an outstanding soft pretzel made by Breaking Bread Bakery in San Luis that is served with an Obatzda. This is one of my favorite childhood dishes; it is prepared by mixing aged soft cheese and butter. Paprika powder, salt, pepper as well as a small amount of beer. Garnished with parsley and diced red onions. I was in heaven, and ordered another.
I moved on to the Köstritzer Schwarzbier, a dark beer with coffee and malt flavors by the suggestion of bartender Adam who was a delightful host and filled with the life, knowledge and vivaciousness you look for in a tavern artist. We moved on the Reibekuchen Mit Apfelmus, (three Potato Pancakes) served with house made applesauce that tasted like my Nana was in the kitchen. Gary tried the Frikadellen Spiced Meatball with Mustard and we all stole bites.
We came back the next night and I inhaled another Bretzel (and took one to go) and then moved on to the Jägerschnitzel. Thinly tenderized breaded pork pan fired and covered with brown gravy with mushrooms, served with with Spätzle red cabbage salad. The Spatzle is pasta made with potatoes. It was beyond comfort food and every bite delectable. Our companion had the Wurstplatte Sausage Plate, that was so delicious and huge we took the remaining home and they completed our scrambled egg dish the next morning. Gary started with Apple Strudel that was a perfect combination of tart apples, sweet cinnamon and flaky crust. His favorite dish from his youth is Gulasch, and Beda’s took him back to the memory of his grandma’s kitchen. The marinated beef in spiced brown gravy with mashed potatoes warmed his bones and soul.
I asked Beda how he liked being in the restaurant business; he smiled wide, a twinkle in his blue eyes, as he told me he doesn’t want to wake up from this dream. Beda’s and Helga’s favorite place to go to in Germany was Käte’s, a neighborhood pub where they met with friends or make new ones as they shared tables in the busy establishment. Beda’s Biergarten has emulated that and succeeded. It is a family owned and run pub, with the staff attentive and knowledgeable about the food. Beda’s is a true community supported neighborhood pub, and I am working on getting my own bar stool.
Beda’s Biergarten is located at 3230 Broad street #130 in San Luis Obispo, call them at 805.439.2729. They are open every day from 11:00am-9:00pm (10:00pm on Friday and Saturdays. Happy Hour is 2-6 daily except on Mondays, then it is all day!