Keeping the Oktoberfest Spirit Alive Year-Round

While fond memories of Oktoberfest brats and beers may seem like a lifetime ago now that colder weather is here, that doesn't mean the party ends when the beer gardens close.

"We feature 50 great beer gardens around the city in our app, and all but two of those venues are part of brick-and-mortar beer halls or bars," explains Raj Moorjani, co-creator of the popular Beer Gardens NYC iPhone app.

I asked the app creators for their cold weather "beer gardening" tips:

Go with a group. "The communal aspect of beer gardens and their associated beer halls makes them great venues for groups -- office happy hours, birthdays, or a chill-out spot from the Christmas shopping craziness," Moorjani says.

Try something different.
Winter beers (typically brewed with spices and herbs) begin to show up around the city in mid-November. Most winter brews have a higher alcohol content than their year-round and warm-weather cousins.

If you're hungry, call ahead.
Many beer garden venues have a great assortment of food available during the cold weather months, such as Bavarian pretzels and pork tenderloins at Radegast Hall. "If you're hankering for brats to go with your beers, it's a good idea to check the venue's website or call ahead," app co-creator Hope Tarr, a travel writer and novelist, says, noting that menus frequently change once the garden grills close for the season.

Dress in layers.
Going out in a city such as New York inevitably involves spending some time outdoors -- hoofing it between subway stops, waiting on drafty train platforms, or flagging down taxis. "Dress warmly and preferably in layers that are easy to peel off," advises Tarr.

In addition to detailed descriptions of nearly 50 New York City beer halls and bars where you can hoist your favorite brew in enclosed comfort in the cold months, the Beer Gardens NYC app contains a list of more than 925 unique domestic and international beers searchable by both venue and brand.