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!

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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

The Hub-Tacoma, WA

Run by the Harmon Brewery this great place in the stadium district is a must if you have a half pint in tow and need a pint of your own!

Several things make this establishment kiddo friendly. First, they have games that the kids can play in the restaurant. In the back you can find little table games (like tic tac toe) that the kids can take back to the table with them.

Next up their HAPPY HOUR (which they have all week, including the weekend)! I always love a place that does happy hour in the restaurant NOT just the bar (lets face it, parents need happy hour more than anyone!). With great deals on beers, desserts, and my favorite the Cajun Tots!

The half pint loves the happy hour pizza. Unlike most happy hour pizzas that are the size of a small dish plate this one is 10 inches and plenty to share! I recommend the buffalo chicken, the kid recommends the cheese:)

Mom’s Favorite Brew: The Puget Sound Porter

Dad’s Favorite Brew: The Pinacle Peak Pale Ale

Cheers!

Crux Fermentation & Worthy-Bend, OR

It has been way to long since I’ve had a chance to blog!! We took another great trip to Bend in January and once again had a chance to hit up some great new half pint friendly venues: Crux and Worthy. Along with this we visited some other favorites that just keep getting better and better (I’m looking at you Deschutes!).

Crux Fermentation Project

Wow! That is all that came to mind when we walked in this place. Gorgeous copper kettles line this amazing brewery. Their craft brew list is huge, and they had some of the best beers I’ve had in a long time.

We didn’t have any food, but it looked great.

The only bad part if  you come with your half pint is (even though this place is huge) it is packed! They have great long family-style tables to sit at…but it might be a little crammed if you have a mobile half pint. I wouldn’t hesitate to go however because it’s great. They also have a great outdoor area—so if you come in the summer your kiddo will have lots of room to run around.

Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: The Snow Cave
Dad’s Favorite Brew: Pleated Scotch Ale

This place is a HUGE new brewery in Bend. I have never seen anything like it. They are growing hops outside, have a green house, and  have a huge brew area and a restaurant.

**Update on this! We ate food there this time and it was GREAT! The pizza was some of the best I’d had in awhile, and the people we had with us thought it was the best place we took them in Bend.

I think their food and beer just keep getting better, so this has moved to the top of my list of places you should check out in Bend if you have kids with you.

This place is very family friendly with coloring menus, running around space and a HUGE outdoor seating area.

Cheers!

Mom’s Favorite Brew: Lights Out Stout
Dad’s Favorite Brew: Lights Out Stout