This is a guest post.
“Look at you, you have a baby….in a bar!”
One movie quote that sums up the antiquated ( yet still very alive) notion in America that kids and establishments that serve alcohol should never mix (pun probably intended). Rooted in high class big city America, this notion is used to fuel a stereotype of rural “country folks”. I grew up in rural America hanging out in bowling alleys, softball fields, and even the occasional bar as my parents and other families happily congregated for what can be described as the original social networking. Did these times surrounded by beer at an early age have an adverse effect on me as an adult? Actually don’t answer that, but one of the things that being raised in a “beer is not taboo” culture (like most of Europe by the way) was that I became interested in the where and how of beer, not the how many and excess.
As a parent now myself, I want to make sure as we travel the world that my kids see beer as a positive part of many cultures and something that (if handled responsibly) can give them a view of how people around the world live. With these thoughts in mind many great craft breweries around this country have allowed for a wonderful look into how they brew beer, while also being a place to meet locals with your kids in tow. Every region has great breweries, here are my favorites that are kid friendly so you don’t have to sneak a mini fridge beer anymore during nap time!
Hopworks has 2 Portland locations and they may be the ultimate kid- friendly breweries anywhere. Each location has dedicated play and book areas for the kids, plus craft and story times as well. Portland is a top-notch outdoor active city to bring your kids to already, but add in a brewery where you can enjoy an organic craft beer while your kids play with new friends and tinker with toys, and I’d say parents should book a Portland vacation soon!
Located in the city dubbed “Little Switzerland”, New Glarus Brewing is a great option to travel to while your kids are along. The beautiful new hilltop brewery is a site to see and you can explore it on a self guided tour , which is great if the kids just aren’t in the mood for copper kettles. What this brewery has that puts it high on this list is a huge outdoor brewery garden for the kids to play in while you play with a flight of this “only in Wisconsin” brew. They also have local root beer for the kids so that they don’t go thirsty. Head to the rolling hills south of Madison for a great small town vacation with the kids!
Two criteria I always look for in kid-friendly breweries to travel to are: Is it a place I’d like to travel to and do they have a beer garden? With a few exceptions like Hopworks above, a beer garden is essential in keeping the kids happy. Golden City Brewery (the 2nd largest brewery in Golden which serves beer to employees of the largest brewery in Golden) ticks both of those boxes, plus it’s dog friendly and what kid doesn’t like to pet dogs? With a wonderful Rocky Mountain backdrop, great beer, an outdoor garden with pretzels and root beer, and dogs…GCB is a must- not-miss with your kids.
I normally wouldn’t point to a resort, but this place is a must-tour for parents with kids. Why? Because the hills are alive here!! This brewery tucked into a resort is home to the Von Trapps, yes those Von Trapps. Make some clothes out of curtains (preferably not the resort’s curtains, that may cost you) and try some of their distinct “rays of golden sunshine”, I mean lagers.
Florida is the family vacation capital of the US. From Disney World to white sand beaches, Florida has it all when it comes to keeping kids happy. 3 Daughters Brewing in St Pete is there to help you have a tasty craft brew while keeping your kids happy as well. From the games in the wharehouse (Connect 4, Corn Hole, darts, Jenga, etc..) to the 18 hole mini golf course on the property, you may just want to ditch the beach and spend all your time at the brewery. Being located close to the Gulf Coast beaches doesn’t hurt either. Don’t miss this family friendly brewery on your next time to the sunshine state.
The beauty of the craft beer revolution (beyond the great beer being cranked out around the country) is that these local artisans are, well, local. Local businesses have always realized that children are an important part of the community. Making breweries family-friendly not only allows more parents to enjoy a beer and friends, but it also gives kids the opportunity to see the business in action and to take that taboo away. It also allows travelers with kids an opportunity to get out of the chain restaurant and have a beer straight from the source without pushing your kid’s wants to the side. By all means, when in search of a meal, head to a local brewpub for the kids’ menu and great beer. But don’t hold yourself back anymore when it comes to finding a new beer, pack up the kids and experience how new breweries operate and grab a flight….maybe your kids will become Master Brewers someday!
Steven Grams is a happily 10 year married father of 2 traveling the world in search of great craft beer. Steve is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server documenting his beer adventures at passportsandcocktails.com