Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Beery Review

One of the things I missed during pregnancy was Beer Friday. Every Friday, a group of us would hit a local brewery and have drinks, hit the local pub and grab dinner. It was the social time that I missed, and I won't lie; after a long week, a beer (or a few) was a welcomed treat.  The picture above is from a trip to Glacier National Park, where I happily lounged in my hammock with one of my favorite beers, Baron Brewing's Uber-Weisse. Shortly after Jen and I got pregnant, the brewery went out of business. That was our Friday staple. Coincidence?  Who knows.

I worried that once I had Tiny Beast I wouldn't be able to hit any fun places for a Friday treat. Babies and bars don't mix so well. Luckily, most brewery taprooms ARE kid friendly and are much more quiet, and well, less full of drunk, touchy, and germy people.

Without further adieu, I offer a column for all of us who want to get out and have a night out with an adult beverage, but who have their kids in tow. As I hit new breweries, I'll add them to the blog as Beer Friday, and write my reviews. If there's anything that would be helpful to read about, leave a comment and I'll add that in for future additions. If there's a place that you know of in Washington or else where, please add that as well! I'm sure I should put in a disclaimer that you should never drink and drive and that you should keep your imbibing to a level that doesn't impair your ability to care for your kid. I'll assume you are a savvy adult and have mastered common sense, but just in case...please see my prior sentence.

The rundown so far:
Big Al's Brewing-White Center (Seattle).
I love this place. It's no Baron, but it's close. The bartender noted that he hadn't seen me in ages and was super excited to hear about Tiny Beast. They also have a board for "Beer it Forward", so you can buy someone a beer who isn't there with you. It's nice as its mostly the same folks each time, so you know what you're getting into. There's two stories, and kids are welcome upstairs. There are couches and a big screen, darts, board games and an Atari. AN ATARI!  If that doesn't sell it right there, I don't know what does!  The beers are solid, and they rotate guest taps. They play soccer, but that's about as sporty as this place gets.  right now, I am loving their Blonde.
Parking? Plentiful, but street
Noise level? Upstairs isn't bad and you can carry on a conversation without raising your voice
Beers on a scale of 1-10? 8. Nick says 7. I say he's silly.
Food? None, but they do have a Soup thing on Sundays and you are welcome to bring your own food-there's great Soul Food, pho and a BBQ joint close by. Oh, and Full Tilt Ice cream. So good.
Playtime? Fellow parents bring their kids, too.
Website? http://www.bigalbrewing.com/

Machine House Brewing-Georgetown (Seattle)
This is a new brewery and the third in Georgetown and that shows in the set up-pretty sparse. It's not super obvious where it is, so it can be hard to find. What does that mean for you? It's not cram packed full of hipsters prefunking prior to hitting another bar. The vibe is mellow, and it's in an old Machine house along Airport Way. The beer list is still small, there were 4 beers available when we went, but they were good. I had the Machine House Mild-an English Dark Mild. It was what I would want to drink in the summer, when it was too hot for a Guinness. Yep, a light bodied dark beer. Nick had the Bitter, a smooth beer that wasn't overwhelmingly hoppy. We're heading back there Friday with friends and will try something else.  They also had a gingered version of their Gold. It reminded me of my days drinking with the guys from Trade Route Brewing, before they moved south and changed and then were bought out.  Nostalgia aside...this wasn't my favorite beer. If the ginger was toned down, I'd like it more. Of note-this place is COLD. Seriously. Its in an old machine house, with high ceilings, and big windows. Bring a coat, and bundle up the tots. I wore gloves.
Parking: Lot and Street (yay!), but it is Georgetown so keep that in mind for Friday & Saturday nights
Noise Level? We went on a Sunday afternoon, so it was pretty quiet. I'll update after going Friday night.
Beers on a scale of 1-10? Nick says 8, I say 7
Food? Nope, but they have peanuts and outside food is ok, which is great, since Stellar Pizza is just down the street
Playtime? We saw one other couple there with a toddler. There's a wooden train set toy and a fair amount of seating
Website? http://www.machinehousebrewery.com/

Urban Family Brewing-Ballard (Seattle)
I bought a Living Social deal for them, which prompted me to check them out. They have a few beers of their own and they choose really awesome guest taps. I had a Maritime Navigator Dunkle that I loved, and Nick had an End of Reason from Gigantic Brewing-also super delish. We got there about 7 pm, and they were already out of their own beers (after opening at 5), which was a bummer, but they did have a little of their Pils on reserve. Since we came out and had Tiny Beast in tow, they comped us a beer for free (yay!). The customer service was awesome. The gal had us try quite a few samples after asking us what we were into, she was fast and super attentive.  The food was really good too. Nick had the Smokehouse burger with chili and I had the Bacon & Blue with a salad. They have a couple appetizers, and a vegetarian option. One thing to note, this place makes their burgers right, pinkish red in the middle. Yum!
Parking? Ugh. It's Ballard. Street parking takes a while to find.
Noise Level? This place is pretty packed and there's music and a lot of people talking. Keep that in mind if your kiddo is overwhelmed easily.
Food? Yes!  YAY!  Burgers run about $11, with a side.
Playtime? We saw one other baby there
Beers on a scale of 1-10? Guest taps, 9. Their beer, the pils was a 6. Not sure about the others.
Website? http://www.urbanfamilypublichouse.com/

Well, there's the start folks. Next on tap (ha, get it?) will be Two Beers (where all the Baron patrons seemed to have gone off to) and Schooner Exact, a tap room I haven't been for over a year.

What family friendly tap rooms do you like?
Best,
Raina