Thanks to Facebook memories, a picture of my daughter popped up in my feed from November 2011. There was my kindergartener posing on the Bootlegger’s Brewery brewdeck, happy as a clam. I think she may have knocked a fermentation bubbler off a nearby barrel, no doubt after a Halloween-candy-fueled ADHD spaz session. Although a lot has changed in tasting-room culture over the years, I still cringed a little bit at that photo. I was one of those parents who brought a kid to a brewery.
Breweries seemed more family-friendly back then. But these days, tasting rooms are more bar-like: Obscenities are yelled at various televised sports, and music is often about fucking. And then there’s the sarcasm-laden “Parent of the Year” award for those who drive home after a couple of pints of an 8 percent ABV double IPA, a kid buckled into the back seat. Let’s face it: Parents aren’t Lyfting home.
So when is it acceptable to bring your brood to a brewery? Most kids already act like drunken adults, and shoving a screen in front of them will only last so long before they sound like a slowly deflating balloon. The only time it’s cool to bring your kid to a brewery is if you’re buying beer to go. Simply stop in, grab a couple of splashes of something you might like, then make your purchase, which you can safely enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Although most breweries accommodate children with various games and free wifi, be sure to tip extra if you absolutely have to bring your kid.
Oh, yeah, as for dogs? Puppers and doggos are frickin’ cool.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening this June!