A good friend of mine recently got back from Denver and was complaining about the brewery scene there. “Every one of them is filled with kids and dogs!” he complained, making it sound like the worst thing in the world. “That sounds pretty good to me,” I replied.
Some of my favorite breweries across the country are like that (Hopshire Farm and Brewery outside Ithaca, NY and Oskar Blues outside of Asheville, NC). Unfortunately, most of these breweries are a long way from Toledo. But our little patch of Northwest Ohio is getting better. In this article, we take a look at the most kid-friendly breweries within a short drive from Toledo. I’ve separated the area breweries into three tiers.
In general, breweries are much more kid-friendly than bars. First, it’s rare to encounter sloppily drunk folks at breweries. Second, the lighting is usually much brighter. Third, they usually are less crowded. And finally, most of them usually have better food and/or food trucks.
Then there are a few specific things that make individual breweries more kid-friendly. The key one for me is outdoor space. This puts a lot of urban breweries at a disadvantage, although the pandemic has helped create more outdoor spaces for a variety of businesses, breweries included.
A large indoor space also makes for a more kid-friendly environment. They have a little more room to run around and parents have more room to navigate the taproom with a stroller or wagon. Another important aspect are games for kids (and adults!) to play.
TIER 1: The Overall Winner
There’s only room for one brewery here. Huge outdoor space. Games and toys. Places to explore. A dirt hill!
Arlyn’s Good Beer
520 Hankey Ave., Bowling Green
This is the type of brewery that my friend hates (and that I now love). In fact, I loved these even before the child arrived. Even before the pandemic arrived. Super large outdoor space with picnic tables (we brought gyros from South Side 6 – yum).
There was a big party going on while we were there, but there was still a ton of space. They have a huge dirt play area with a lot of (old) construction toys. The boy loved it! There were games and spaces for older kids as well. Cornhole, Spikeball, etc.. And they have good beer! I can’t wait for it to be warmer so we can go hang outside again.
Tier 2: Outdoor Spaces
These breweries all have decent outdoor spaces for the kids.
3520 Waterville Swanton Rd., Swanton
Comfortable outdoor and indoor space. Part coffee shop / part bar. It’s really a great spot if you are mountain biking Oak Openings or headed out on a day trip. Our child wandered around quite freely and safely. There was a large grass field right next to the outdoor patio. Bonus points for taking your wagon or stroller over the mountain bike course (wink).
Patron Saints Brewery
4730 W Bancroft St. #8
Outdoor space is in the back. It is kind of parking lot-like, but the owners have done a good job making it feel like its own little space. There’s a set-up for cornhole, and it’s a bike-friendly area.
Heavy Beer Company
1301 N Summit St.
Split with Toledo Spirits, this place has picnic tables outside. The basement taproom for Heavy is pretty crowded, but there is a lot of space outside if the weather is nice.
Pavlov’s Brewing Company
7548 Lewis Ave, Temperance, MI
Pavlov’s has a large outdoor patio, and it’s fenced in.
Tier 3: Good Food and Friendly Service
If these have outdoor spaces, they are pretty small. But a lot have great food options for the kiddos.
Upside Brewery at J&G’s Pizza Palace
5692 Main St., Sylvania
This place is always crowded, and it’s a nice dinner spot for the kiddos. Great food (pizza, gyros, salad) and beer.
Earnest Brew Works
4342 S. Detroit Ave.
Nice clean open space with a small outdoor seating area. Rotating food trucks. Great beer.
Maumee Bay Brewing Company
27 Broadway St.
This is the oldest brewery in the area. No outdoor space, but a large menu with lots of kid-friendly fare. I haven’t been to the adjacent Warehouse (except for a sneak peek) but I’m sure that will only add to the kid-friendly vibe.
Brewing Green (used to be Bowling Green Beer Works)
322 N Grove St., Bowling Green
Brewing Green is a small brewery, but it has a decent sized covered patio in case of rain.
Inside the Five
5703 Main St, Sylvania
127 W. 3rd St., Perrysburg
Of the two locations, the new Perrysburg one is more kid-friendly with a lot more space inside and out. A great place to stop by during Thursdays’ farmers markets.
If you have any other suggestions for this roundup, please let us know. We will keep updating it as we explore more breweries!
Others you might want to explore:
Buffalo Rock Brewing Company
345 Anthony Wayne Trail, Waterville
Great Black Swamp Brewing Co.
2250 Tedrow Rd.
Great beer, but not super kid-friendly.
Quenched and Tempered
Black Frog Brewery