Tips for Being Half Pint Friendly

I often get asked by breweries what they can do to make their establishments more family friendly. Beer and kids doesn’t always go hand in hand, but many breweries really want to cater to families, and many of them have kids themselves!

Here are my top tips for “kid proofing” your brewery:

TOYS:
Seems simple enough, but this is a great way to keep the kids busy AND keep the parents happy. This does not mean that you have to go out and buy fancy, expensive new toys.My son LOVES playing with old school toys: lincoln logs, legos, dolls missing their heads…Most kids are this way.

With toys keep it easy on yourself to. If you have an area that specifically houses all your toys people will make sure to put them back.

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The half pint drawing with chalk at Freemont Brewery in Seattle. 

BOOKS:
My son LOVES when breweries have books. He thinks it’s great when he can go over to a shelf, pick something out and bring it back.

GAMES:
Games are another great idea. These can be yard games (corn hole, etc) or just simple board games.

SNACKS/DRINKS:
We love when we go to a brewery and they have something special for the kids. Pacific Brewing in Tacoma for example has juice boxes and many breweries offer root beer.

Also, having water and glasses out is great! It saves you time from having to constantly fill little kids (and parents) water glasses.

SIGNAGE:
Make it obvious that you are family friendly. Often times we will slowly pull up to a place, kind of check it out and if it doesn’t look like kids are allowed we don’t go in. Something as simple as a family friendly sign, or even mentioning it on your website, can make people feel comfortable being there.

Finally, if you don’t want kids in your brewery then don’t let them in! Nothing is worse then when we go to a family friendly place and are treated like we aren’t wanted. It’s completely fine to not allow kids in (heck, we sometimes go to place when we have date night BECAUSE they don’t let kids in)–but once you have decided half pints are allowed, make sure they are welcome!

Cheers!

Time for a Change

It has been FOREVER since I’ve blogged…and the other day I got sad about it; because I love sharing my feedback on kid friendly places with you all. Twitter has just been a quicker and easier way to do it, but I’m ready to get back on the blogging train.

With a kiddo, two furry kiddos and well, life–I’m going to do things a little different, and not just blog about places we go, but give tips and insight on spending time with your half pints in general. I hope you dig the new format. I’ve missed you!!…and Cheers!

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Schooner Exact Brewing Co.-Seattle

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One of my new favorite places to take our half pint is the Schooner Exact Brewing Co. restaurant in Seattle. We happened upon it one day when we were in Seattle on a Saturday playing tourist with some friends. We had planned to go there for lunch, but when we stopped we found out they just had brunch going on. Starving we went ahead and ordered–and I had the sandwich that I now compare all other breakfast sandwiches to–the McClung Steak melt. Everyone we were with fell in love with their amazing breakfast/brunch foods.

So enough about the food–lets talk about how kid friendly they are. They have a kids play corner with lots of books, toys and a train set. They also have several tables that are chalk-top so that kids (and adults) can color while eating. Their kid’s menu is anything but normal–which was perfect for our kid. They had pizza and grilled cheese, but also had items like ants on an apple (raisins and PB on an apple), baguette and cheese (which is all our kid wants to eat anyway!), and a PB, Banana and Bacon sandwich called the Elvis. The drink that comes with it is also served in a water bottle type cup for easy drinking for your half pint.image2

We had minors ranging in age from our son (who is 2.5), to a middle schooler, to two high schoolers–and they all loved the menu and had fun at Schooner. The older kids really liked all the fun soda flavors they had like Cucumber, Blood Orange, Mexi-Coke and Vanilla Bean.

The adults (as I’ve already mentioned) loved the food; and we loved the beer too. They have a great sampler that lets you try all their beers; and if you have someone with you who is not into beer with brunch they also have Mimosa’s.

The location was a little hard for us to find, but once we did it was another thing we really liked about it. It’s in the industrial area right past the West Seattle bridge. If you are like us and coming from the south it’s nice to have a brewery you can hit up without having to go through the entire city.

We have been back several times since our original visit and will be back again soon! Cheers!!

Mom’s Favorite Brew:Profanity Hill Porter

Dad’s Favorite Brew: Three Grid IPA

Buoy Beer Company-Astoria, OR

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We just got back from a wonderful spring break, and we FINALLY had a chance to stop at Buoy Beer Co. in Astoria. It seems like lately when we have headed down to the Coast we are passing through Astoria a little to late to stop, so we were happy to get to stop for lunch!11146266_10155366028325324_3226330018039049170_n

When we pulled up to the brewery we were greeted with the barking sounds of Sea Lions. So we had to take a little detour and go look the lions that were lounging under the pier. Little did we know that once we got inside we would be able to see them louning under the restaurant! One of the very cool and half pint friendly thing about this place is the glass floor where you can see through to the water below (only bad part was we couldn’t tear our son away!). Untitled-3

When we got there (around 1) they were really busy, and it was about a 20 minute wait to sit out in the main restaurant, or no wait to sit in the tap room…so we opted for the tap room. The hostess told us that if you want to get a seat in the restaurant it’s best to get there right when they open at 11. I actually liked it better because there was a little more room to move, and with a kid in tow you always want to eat as soon as possible.

They were out of a lot of their beers while we were there, so we didn’t get to try a few that I was really looking forward to trying–but I liked their pale.

The food was your normal coast bar food, and I would have liked to see a few non-fried seafood options…but it was a nice menu. I really wish we had tried more appetizers, because as we saw them coming out to tables around us I was getting jealous!! This place is super kid friendly however, and I recommend it to families if they are passing through.

Mom’s Favorite Brew: The Pale

Dad’s Favorite Brew: The Pale (wow…we agreed!)

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.-Tacoma, WA

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Happy (late) Easter to you all! This year my brother came to visit us from Spokane–so we took him to the zoo, and then promptly rewarded him with a trip to the Hub and then to Pacific Brewing for some cold beverages!!

This great place is located off Pacific in downtown Tacoma and has some of my favorite brewery items: long tables, glass where you can see the tanks, brick, games…and it’s kid friendly.

brew1Right when we walked in they offered my son a free apple juice box. This is such a great idea, and it’s nice to see that more places starting to do this. Along with the free juice for kids they also offer lots of different board games to keep them happy while you are sampling some of their great brews.

Other kid friendly amenities included a changing table in the bathroom…which you don’t see a lot, so as a mom I thought it was pretty cool (yes, when you have a half pint with you, you tend to notice these things!).

They don’t have food, but sometimes have a food truck (and you can check their twitter for that). They also allow you to bring food in from one of the local restaurants (or your backpack if you are a parent carrying around crackers:)).

Board GamesWe had a little trouble finding it at first, so check out their website www.pacificbrewingandmalting.com for the best directions AND parking info. The beer here was REALLY good though, so it’s worth finding this gem in Tacoma.

Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Citra Pale Ale

Dad’s Favorite Brew: Galaxy IPA

Hopworks Urban Brewery-Portland, OR

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Wow, am I behind on updating you all on some great kid friendly breweries! They are popping up faster than I can keep up; and I’m not complaining!! As always, follow me on twitter for more up to date information—but now I’m going to get a little more in detail about some of the places we’ve visited.

First up!—Hopworks. Despite what it looks like from the front this is a HUGE brewery and restaurant located in Portland. All you have to do is drive around back and you will see all the big tanks, gorgeous hops and LOTS of parking (take note of this, so you don’t try to squeeze into the front parking lot).

Best of all this place was MADE to bring your kids to. First there is the play area. With books, chalkboards, toys and everything else you can image to keep your half pint happy until their food comes. We were lucky and they sat us RIGHT next to the kid’s area (some may not find that lucky, but for us when we can sip our beer and still see our kid playing with trains it is a win).

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The kid’s menu is another highlight of this kid friendly establishment. It’s very reasonably priced (only 4.75 per meal) and your kids can choose from the standard pub fair AND also get apples, veggies or our fries and apple juice or milk. Along with this they have BABY food on the menu (how cool is that?!).

Along with the menu and play area they also have kid friendly events throughout the year at both this pub and their “BikeBar” also located in Portland.  You can visit http://hopworksbeer.com/families to find these events.

The adult food and beverages were also good. The sampler platter is HUGE so if you get that I highly recommend sharing.

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If you are in the Portland area I highly recommend checking this place out whether you have half pints in tow or not.

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Survival Stout

Dad’s Favorite Brew: Secession CDA

Machine House Brewery-Seattle, WA

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We had a blast this weekend in Seattle running in the Furry 5K (a dog friendly race at Seward Park) and visiting a nearby brewery, Machine House Brewing.

First the race. I am NOT a good runner, but it was so fun. We were able to run it with both of our dogs and our son. It was great to see all the pooch lovers of Seattle out, and even more fun to get to see all the great vendors that were there. If you have a dog (or just like dogs) this is a great event that I would recommend doing next year. You can find out more info at http://www.furry5k.com.

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Now back to why we are here…beer. We used Yelp and searched for breweries near us and the only one open was Machine House Brewery in Georgetown, and I’m really glad they were. If you have kids this place is a gem!

First, they have a play area with a train set, books, and play table. We had a somewhat tired half pint with us and this perked him right up! They have a big tasting room which is nice because you don’t feel like your kid is bugging other people.

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They don’t really have any food or drinks there for kids (they do sell chips), but you can bring in your own snacks (for you and your half pint) and drinks for the kiddo. We have found this to be a good idea anyway recently with the boom in breweries that are just that, breweries, and not pubs with food.

Since it WAS Furry 5K day also I better mention that you can also bring well behaved pooches in! Ours were solidly passed out in the truck after the run…otherwise we would have had them in tow.

If you are down on Airport Way this is a must. The beer was also really good (and different!). They have three English style beers Mild, Gold and Bitter. They also had an IPA on tap. Great easy drinking beers for a hot Seattle summer day!

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Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Gold

Dad’s Favorite Brew: Bitter

Waddell’s Brewpub and Grille-Spokane, WA

Woohoo…summer is almost here. Time for more fun visits to breweries and kid friendly joints across Washington and Oregon. Last week I was in Spokane visiting family and my brother took me to his new local Northside brewpub, Waddell’s.

This place is great and something that north Spokane has desperately needed. The building looks small from the outside but inside has lots seating and a good size bar area for those of you who are half pint free. Like many of the establishments built in Spokane in the past ten years it has high exposed ceilings and lots of family and smaller size wood seating. I also liked that you could see into where the brew tanks are…that’s one of my favorite touches that breweries add!

The food was great! The menu features salads, burgers, wraps, specialty sandwiches, hot dogs and flat breads. Everything that we ordered was excellent. They are famous for the “Lamb-Strocity” which is very fancy french-dip like sandwich with lamp and Cougar Gold Cheese. My brother had it and said it was excellent.

Another great thing about their menu is they have a vegetarian section, kid section and Gluten-free section. I love all the gluten free options that breweries are adding to attract his ever growing crowd of people!

The beer was also good. I’ve found that most beers from Spokane to be light on the hop flavor, and this was place was no exception. My brother hates IPA’s and he liked it (I didn’t) because of the small hop flavor. A lot of their beers are named after past Gonzaga players, which I thought was a great idea and I’m sure LOVED by the local zag crowd.

In true Spokane fashion I also got to run into one of my dear college friends, Sara, who was there enjoying some food and brews with her pals. So fun.

Along with the kids menu they also have high chairs, lots of space for the half pints to run and a very friendly atmosphere! It’s also one of only a handful of the Spokane brewery-boom places that offer food, so if you are in town with a half pint this place is a must!

Cheers!

Brother’s Favorite Brew (guest judge): Firefighter Ale

Mom’s Favorite Brew: South Paw Pale

Dirty Bucket Brewing Co.-Woodinville, WA

This Mother’s Day my husband took me and my half pint (and our pooches) up to Woodinville for a family run and beer tasting. First off HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all those moms and mom-life figures out there.

Our first stop was lunch at Redhook and then we finally had the opportunity to visit Dirty Bucket Brewing. This Nanobrewery not only has great beer, but it is one of the most kid-friendly places we have visited in a while. There were several kids of different ages entertaining themselves, and there was even a pooch enjoying a drink with his owner.

They have board games AND Snoqualmie Root Beer on tap (which our little man loved). They also have dog beer complete with little dishes for you dogs to drink it out of! Talk about catering to everyone in the family.

On Sundays they have food trucks, which I wish we had known because we definitely would have eaten there rather than waiting over an hour for mediocre service at Redhook. This Sunday they had Streetzaria (which smelled amazing), and they change it up every Sunday.

I’m already looking forward to heading back up there this summer to take advantage of the outdoor seating and different eats! I’m also looking forward to tasting the Heffin’ Pineapple once it is done, it sounds great!

Again, what a great experience we had during our quick visit. The people working there were super friendly (my son loved the stickers), everyone drinking there was relaxed and enjoying themselves. Most importantly the beer was great and the atmosphere was great for anyone with or without half pints.

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Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Dirty Blonde Ale

Dad’s Favorite Brew: Black Lab Stout

http://www.dirtybucketbrewery.com

Seaside Brewing Co.-Seaside, OR

I wanted to update my review on this because we visited again recently and they have added a few more kid friendly things!

The food was pretty good (which I think is probably why the reviews were lower). It was your normal “by the ocean” brewery food with Fish and Chips, Hamburgers and Oyster shooters. We enjoyed it, but we enjoyed the atmosphere and beer even better.

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Our server, Nicole, was great. She was super nice—offered to take pictures for us, was very attentive, and our son loved blowing her kisses. They only had 3 of their beers on tap when we were there, but we really enjoyed all of them. For the sampler you got to have their beers and then select one of the guest taps they had also.

The brewery itself is an old jail. It’s a big building with lots of room so you and your half pints won’t feel cramped. There are also lots of fun things for kids to look at, and they can even have their picture taken in a jail cell. They also had a great looking outdoor seating area (that had a few dogs bowls…so possibly dog friendly!? I’ll check and get back to ya).

For kids they have high chairs and boosters, and a great kids menu! It’s a coloring menu which are always our kiddos favorite. Flynn had the grilled cheese and fries and what kiddo doesn’t love that! **Update on this, they also serve the kids food in a sand bucket now!! It’s cheaper to get a sand bucket and pale with the food then it would be to buy one at the local store:)image1

If you have half pints (or don’t) we recommend this place when you visit Seaside. It’s a great change from the chain type restaurants that have taken over this great beach town. Check this place out!! You won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Red Ale

Dad’s Favorite Brew: The IPA