Are Breweries Truly Family Friendly?
In Northern Colorado, breweries are so much more than a yummy, bubbly production facility. They promote healthy lifestyles by being bike accessible, encourage community and culture through live music and advocate for families by providing enclosed, comfortable spaces.
Taprooms have become a magnet for parents. I mean, how many places can you can drink quality beer, bring your own gluten-free snacks, get your kids AND dogs out of the house while supporting a small, local business?
Without question, Fort Collins most family-friendly taproom is Intersect Brewing. Co-founder and owner Mandie Herdrick opened the brewery with her husband in 2016. “When creating Intersect, we had families in mind. With two small children of our own, we wanted to create a space where parents could have a conversation, enjoy a delicious beer and keep an eye on their children while they play. They are nestled in these amazing neighborhoods that support us and we love that we have created a community spot for people to gather.”
Brewery taprooms create a relaxing, “hang out” atmosphere, not a “let’s get hammered” environment. Think about the hours; few taprooms within breweries are open past 8 or 9 p.m. They want you to experience the creativity of their brewers, talk to the taproom staff about the brewery history and geek out over their latest release. They create a sense of camaraderie, a place you want to spend your time; it’s easy to see why they are appealing to parents.
I have had my frustrations with kids in taprooms as a patron and an employee; please, please pay attention to your kiddos for their safety and our sanity. But I love seeing “future assistant brewer” and “half pint” onesies on babies, or craft brewery branded merch for kids; craft beer truly combines art and science, while promoting passion in your career goals. Let’s face it, you must have a passion to work in this industry…considering the small paychecks.
I only hold the title of an aunt, not mom, and for the sake of this article, I will not include my role as mama to my senior dachshund. I love living in a town that encourages you to bring your children to do what you love to do. Immerse them in YOUR life and your life is better with craft beer.
The key to a family friendly brewery is not one that creates a play school with a bar, but it is one that has kind, interested employees, access to non-alcoholic drinks/snacks and other fun things you would rather hear about from a professional mom. Meghan Hertzfeldt is the co-author of “You Can Two: The Essential Twins Preparation Guide” and holds a leadership role at Columbine Mothers of Preschoolers, a non-profit composed of 80 moms in Fort Collins. She claims her favorite family-friendly taprooms should include: a bit of open, yet fenced space play, indoor/outdoor games, food trucks or access to food and that being pet-friendly is a major plus.
I am not here to argue whether kids should be welcome in taprooms; it is a Colorado way of life that families want to integrate their everyday world into the craft beer industry. So, when you want your kid to want to stay and let you have another, check out these breweries:
Interested in a full restaurant option for your toddler WITH your New England IPA?
At Black Bottle Brewery, kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal and one of my favorite moms said her toddler, Caleb digs the hip hop music they play.
DC Oakes lil’ Oakes menu includes a drink, goldfish appetizer and a scoop of ice cream with each meal option. And lots of booths!
The Hop Grenade has an awesome staff, a simple kids menu that easily accommodates dietary restrictions, a quick ticket time and easy seating areas like barrel booths and couches.
Cheers to all the moms and dads, you deserve your beer more than any of us.