National Beer Day

Happy National Beer day to everyone in the USA. Today marks the day where beer and wine at 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% ABV) became legal to sell in the United State after President Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act in March 22, 1933. April 6th is known as New Beer's Eve. All of this was completely unknown to me until this morning when my dad asked about National Beer day. 

To mark the occasion, I finished brewing an American not-so-pale ale yesterday! Clearly totally planned. Actually it got pushed back from the weekend as I was building the namesake beer garden table. The beer was brewed late Sunday and cooled until Monday when the yeast was pitched. 

The Table

Lisa and I were in Europe this past fall and had the pleasure of experiencing Oktoberfest first hand in Germany. All of the beer halls, tents, and gardens have similar tables and benches, most DC beer gardens have the same. They are each about 8 feet long and 31 inches high. The benches are between 18 or 19 inches high and also 8 feet long. There are a few state side vendors that sell these tables and benches but they run no less than 300 dollars. Craigslist would even show used tabled (and I mean abused tables) for 300 bucks. I felt they should not be that expensive, so I built my own.

The major issue with building your own is that the hardware to make everything collapsable is not available. I think there is only one german vendor that makes the table legs and bench legs for beer garden tables, and I was unable to find that kind of hardware. I improvised. 

The key for this project was cheap. The table was to be about 24" wide and the benches 12" wide. Home Depot has 3/4" thick project boards that are only 2x8' for about 50$ with 55$ shipping per board and only available online not in-store.

Surprisingly Lowes had 4x8' oak finished project boards for  a bit less than 50$. I had given up on folding bench legs, but the table needed to fold. I got the last set of folding legs at Lowes, though most employees thought they were out. I went with poplar for the bench legs as it was a bit cheaper than the oak. 

Most projects require a few trips to the hardware store. I really thought I could get away with two trips for the majority of the supplies, but a third trip was required for screws to bring this whole thing together. 

A 3/4" plank is not quite durable enough for benches or a table. To stabilize everything I got 2x6" pine boards to use as runners underneath. The table top is bolted into two 2x6s where the folding table legs are mounted. I did a lot of research for how tall the legs were and what their capacities would be. The legs are 29" tall and support up to 400 lbs. With the braces and the table top that brought me right to 31", then I tested my build.

Each bench has a single 2x6 running down the middle and bolted down three times, at the middle and both ends.  The legs are then screwed into the 2x6 and braces twice in the middle. Major shout out to Carl for helping me with the benches, couldn't have done them without his help. 

Above gives you the main layout of the support structure of the benches and table. I'm glad the beer garden finally came together.

I haven't completely finished sealing and finishing the table set, so we brought it into the beer hall to protect it from the rain this week.

An 8 foot long table has been really useful inside for meals as well as studying. Household beer tastings will never be the same. I hope everyone else has had a great National Beer day. 

New Beer's Eve not-so-pale APA

5.43 light munich

5.83 dark munich

1.26 marris otter

.8oz Apollo 60"

1 oz cascade 20"

1oz citra 10"

1oz german hull Mellon flameout

Vermont ale yeast

60 min boil, OG: 1.067 estimated FG: 1.014 ~ 7%ABV