ABOVE PHOTO: Bratwurst Sandwich with beer braised sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and spicy mustard. (Photo/ Courtesy Pennsylvania Horticultural Society)
If you’re looking for a way to spend the fall, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s pop-up beer garden in Manayunk provides some interesting things to try.
By Denise Clay-Murray
While summer is considered prime time to be outdoors, you really shouldn’t sleep on the fall.
From hiking, to watching football or soccer games, to just walking around and taking in the scenery, fall gives you a lot of opportunities to hang out outdoors and feel the brisk — but not too cold — air on your face.
Although everyone associates this time of year with pumpkin spice (!), there’s more fall flavors available and you can enjoy them while sitting at a table at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Garden in Manayunk, located at 106 Jamestown Ave.
Right now, they’re celebrating Oktoberfest at the Garden, and while you sit among the 50 types of bushes, plants and flowers in the garden, the folks from the Khyber Pass Pub and Cantina Los Caballitos have added all of the beer, brats and pretzels you can eat to a menu that includes watermelon and feta cheese, Nashville Hot Chicken and pork carnitas.
Last weekend, SUN Associate Editor Amy Simmons and sports columnist Chris Murray joined me at the Pop-Up Garden to enjoy what turned out to be a warm, sunny afternoon. We sat in a booth near the bar and watched as people walked through the garden with their friends, kids, and dogs to enjoy the day.
Amy and I had visited the South Street Pop-Up garden a few months back, but we wanted to bring Chris along for our trip to Manayunk because, well, he likes beer more than the two of us do.
In honor of Oktoberfest, the menu included some German offerings. Amy had the Käsespätzle, which is like German macaroni and cheese with Gruyère cheese and nutmeg, and I had the bratwurst sandwich, which included caramelized onions, spicy mustard and beer braised sauerkraut.
Now, I usually stay away from sauerkraut, because there’s nothing worse to my tastebuds than acidic cabbage. But the beer braise helped cut down the acid. In fact, the usual vinegary taste didn’t even show up. The bratwurst itself had a nice snap to it, the brioche bun was soft and tasty, and the spicy mustard brought it all together.
As the resident sports guy in our group, it made sense that Chris had the chili cheese dog. Usually, my husband won’t have a hot dog without ketchup and mustard even if it already has chili on it, but he enjoyed this one. He felt that the taste stood up on its own and saved the ketchup for his Sidewinder fries.
(I ate my Sidewinder fries without anything on them because they’re that good!)
The chili cheese dog paired well with Chris’s Ommegang Blueberry Coffee Ale, which he had in honor of his late Aunt Flo. I had a little taste of the ale, and while beer isn’t really my thing, the combination of blueberry and coffee made it something that both of us liked.
The Pop-Up Garden also had fall cocktails available. I tried the peach flavored margarita. If you really want a strong peach flavor, you might want to ask for a double shot.
It was a nice afternoon out, and I may visit again, this time to try out their brunch menu.
If you want to visit, the garden is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm-11pm, Fridays and Saturdays from noon-12am, and Sundays from noon-10pm. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For reservations, go to: https://phsonline.org/locations/phs-pop-up-garden-at-manayunk.
The garden is scheduled to remain open until Halloween, but it may stay open longer weather permitting. For more information, go to @PHSPopUpGardens on Facebook and Instagram and @PHSGardening on Twitter.