It makes for an awkward day at school pick-up when your kindergartener tells his teacher, “My mommy and daddy really like beer.” That’s when you know that A) you’ve got a drinking problem or B) you’re a Craft Beer Geek. In our case, thankfully, its B. It started out as my husband’s hobby, buying and trying obscure beers, and has developed into something we both enjoy. One of the best parts of living in Phoenix is the large craft beer community and the abundance of breweries located in the East Valley. Not only do most of them focus on local and sustainable ingredients but they’ve also crafted fun and funky atmospheres to appeal to the Craft Beer Geek’s family. If, like us, you enjoy local restaurants and the occasional beer (with and without children present), here’s a “flight” of 4 Brewery/Restaurants that are great for a family outing or a kid-free date.
12West Brewing Company, Gilbert- One of the newest breweries, located at Barnone/Agritopia in Gilbert, it started as 2 guys with a one-barrel brewing system and now has a full tap list and open display where you can watch some of the brewing magic happen. The thing we enjoy most is that there is indoor or outdoor seating with a patio perfect for kids (or dogs) during the day and cozy with soft lighting for a date night out. While they don’t have their own menu of food, you can order from Joe’s Farm Grill, the Uprooted Kitchen or Fire & Brimstone (the pizza place) just across the walkway for easy delivery. (Before or after your drinks/meal, check out all the other awesome shops that Barnone has to offer, here’s a guide)
OHSO, Phoenix/Scottsdale/Arcadia- Ok, so I know that technically this isn’t an East Valley brewery… yet. But with OHSO’s new plans to build in downtown Gilbert, it HAS to go on my list. Their branding exists around bicycles, dogs and brewing your own beer, so what isn’t to love about them?? We are so excited that they’ll be opening a new restaurant closer to us because their open patio is super kid-friendly, and their brunch menu is fantastic! The kids love getting orange juice and giggling over all of the dogs that hang out under the tables. The adults love having a craft beer with breakfast and it is totally acceptable and expected.
Perch Brewery & Pub, Chandler- Surprisingly, we’ve only been here once but it’s definitely on our list to go back! Located in downtown Chandler, the dining atmosphere is one of chaos and fun, due to the massive amount of rescue birds spread out on the property. You can visit through the cages, or see them up close and personal when a keeper takes one out and walks around. Most of the seating is outdoors, perfect for loud kids, and although the wait time can be 20-40 minutes on a busy day, there is plenty to keep a family occupied with checkers, corn hole or bird facts. The upper patio area is reserved for adults only, perfect for a kid-free afternoon or evening escape. A full menu of options makes for easy choices even for picky eaters, and a full tap list of Perch-brewed & local beers satisfies the Beer Geek in the family.
Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Gilbert- This is our favorite, hands down. With indoor, outdoor or tasting room seating, you can find a spot that fits, no matter if you’re there with the family, on a date or out with friends. The philosophy is local, sustainable and they do their best to source ingredients for both their food and their beers from within Arizona. Kids enjoy playing “I Spy” with all of the Arizona’s trails, deserts and beautiful scenery decor and we love sitting in the tasting room when we don’t have kids with us!
There are so many more local craft breweries and pubs in our area that I could write 10 more posts about, but I’ll save those for another day. Suffice it to say that our kids have learned to enjoy checking out new places with us (even on vacation) and have gotten used to their parents’ hobby of beer tastings, craft beer festivals and trips to Total Wine for specialty releases.