On Sunday Matt and I joined a few of our friends and ran in the Stuttgart Color Run. It was a 5K run/walk/dance through the Neckarpark, and it was awesome! Part run, part Holi -- it was a very unique experience. We had tons of fun being goofy, healthy, and throwing colored powder at each other. When the race was over, we were tired and covered in colored powder, which is hardly the condition you want to be in to go out for lunch. Still, it was past 1:30 pm and we were all hungry. After some thought, we decided to go to the Biergarten im Schlossgarten.
I've been to this biergarten several times. It's conveniently located in the middle of Stuttgart's 600-year-old green band that stretches from the Neues Schloss (new palace) all the way to the Neckarpar. Walkers, runners, and families frequently stop here for a beer or meal while out in the park or to enjoy the calming atmosphere surrounded by trees and green fields. For us, it was the perfect location because they have tons of outdoor, bench-style seating, meaning we wouldn't be out of place (or too messy) with our color-splashed appearance.
To get there, we took the S-bahn from Bad Cannstatt to the Hauptbahnhof and then walked down the temporary metal walkway over the new station construction to the biergarten. To our surprise, what I can only describe as a German country band was playing while middle-aged (or older) couples took to the dance floor. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and we weren't the only color runners there.
To drink, I ordered a hefeweizen, which came in either 0,5L and 1,0L (called a Maß in German). The Biergarten im Schlossgarten serves Eichbaum beer on tap, although they have a couple other bottled beers as well. My beer was a typical hefeweizen and tasted particularly good after the awful 0% alcohol beer that they served at the race (which seems to be typical at German races).
The food was your standard German biergarten fare. There are no servers, so when we wanted food or drinks, we had to order up at the counter. I ordered a schnitzel mit pommes (breaded and fried pork steak with french fries) and shared an order of wildekartoffeln (potato wedges) with Matt. He ordered the 1/2 Hänchen mit pommes (half chicken with french fries) for his main meal. Honestly, the food was okay, but not as good as the food at Schwabengarten. I thought it a little odd that my schnitzel breading was puffed up from the actual pork steak. I've had better at other places. And while the wildekartoffeln were good, the knoblauch-krauter dip (garlic-herb dip) that they came with tasted more like mayonnaise with some chives, and I tend to prefer when my wildekartoffeln are served with a sour cream-based dip.
All-in-all, the food was just okay. It hit the spot, but it was not a 'wow' experience. I know I've eaten here before, but I honestly don't remember what I had. Perhaps I came on a off-day, or perhaps the food really is just okay. I would be interested in trying some other items on the menu (sausages, maultaschen, or schweinshaxe), before making a final decision.
I will continue to go back to the Biergarten im Schlossgarten because the location is so convenient; it's on the walking route on which we usually take Leo, and it's pretty central in terms of location within the city if we want to meet people. The idea of drinking beer in an old castle garden is also rather amusing -- only in Europe! If you're in Stuttgart for a very brief time and want a typical German biergarten experience, then I would also recommend that you try it. Just know that there are other, tastier options a bit farther out. Feel free to use my blog to search for one.