Laurelwood Brewing Company is one the longest-running brewpubs in Portland, Ore. // © 2014 Marlynn Schotland
Feature image (above): Hopworks Urban Brewery is a popular spot for families thanks to its play spaces, organic beer and all-natural meats. // © 2014 Marlynn Schotland
As the reigning beer capital of the world — containing more breweries than any other city and consistently earning the title of one of the best cities for families — it is little wonder that Portland, Ore., is home to a number of family-friendly brewpubs.
But Portland brewpubs go beyond offering classic kids’ fare with an activity sheet and crayons. Their owners have found a way to harmoniously blend the city’s love of craft beer, innovative food and sustainability, with its commitment to a laid-back, all-inclusive, family-focused lifestyle.
Bridgeport Brewing is the oldest craft brewery in Portland, and it’s one of my secret weekend lunch spots with the family. With several seating areas, it usually doesn’t get too crowded like some of its smaller, trendier counterparts, and there is almost always street parking to be found within a block of the restaurant (an important detail when you’ve got little ones in tow).
I love that Bridgeport is kid-friendly but still feels slightly more upscale than other brewpubs, so we still feel like we are out for a special meal when there. The brewery offers a vast, varied menu and a kids’ menu that includes fresh-baked pretzels and white cheddar mac and cheese.
Deschutes Brewery is a great gathering space for families who might have children with various food allergies. It offers a separate gluten-free menu, and many of the kids’ menu items can be made gluten-free.
Deschutes also offers children elevated traditional pub items such as grilled wild salmon sticks and quinoa-cashew tots. It’s a great place to help kids expand their palates. While there is no dedicated separate play space, this brewery has tall ceilings and a massive, open dining area that contains many tables that are comfortable for families and large groups.
Ecliptic Brewing offers top-notch meals at family-friendly prices and in a warm, inviting atmosphere. They tend to seat child-free groups on the bar side and families on the side overlooking the brewery. If it’s a nice day, ask to sit outside, where your furry family members get first-class treatment with fresh water bowls aplenty.
Children can get a kick out of the astronomy theme that's carried throughout the brewpub, from the decor to the names of food and drink items. Adults love that the brewpub’s focus is equally divided on quality food and beer. In addition to the traditional children’s menu fare such as burgers and grilled cheese, Ecliptic serves trout sticks and finger steaks.
Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)
HUB is Portland’s first eco-brewery, powered 100 percent by renewable energy. As the name suggests, this brewery is truly is a hub where local families gather. You can wash down one of HUB’s sustainable and delicious meals (think all-natural, Oregon-raised chicken) with an award-winning organic beer.
After chowing down on a nitrate-free, Oregon country natural beef frank hot dog, kids can explore one of HUB’s play spaces (the Southeast location has two). From weekly kids’ crafts and story time to a wrap-around chalkboard wall, train tables, books and an abundance of wooden toys in the play areas, HUB offers a lot to help keep the little ones active and entertained.
Laurelwood Brewing Company
One of the longest-running family-friendly brewpubs in town, Laurelwood Brewing Company helped set the standard by being one of the first craft breweries to have dedicated, separate play space for children in their original Northeast Portland location. Here, it’s more than just a separate play space that stands out. Laurelwood has a casual, jovial atmosphere, where families are welcome to laugh heartily, lounge back leisurely and truly enjoy their time with families over classic Northwest meals and certified organic beers.
It is almost difficult to find a brewpub in Portland that is not family-friendly. In the land known as "Beervana," Portland brewpubs make it easy for visitors to taste the amazing variety of craft brews — without having to find a sitter for the kids.