Should brewery and craft beer taprooms welcome parents and their children?
A recent Vinepair article titled “If You Don’t Want Kids at Your Local Taproom, You’re Missing the Point,” explored the question and looked at a new trend across the country. The article cited brewers and brewery founders around the United States who established taprooms where families, including their own, could spend time and foster a sense of community.
Local family-friendly taprooms such as Bier Station (120 E. Gregory Blvd.) provide a venue where parents may drink responsibly and spend time with family. Meanwhile, kids play and interact in a safe environment with parental supervision. Other taprooms have similar approaches.
“If I didn’t have my kids at my brewery, it wouldn’t be half the brewery it is,” Matthew Moore, co-owner of Martin City Brewing Company (500 E. 135th St.), said. “I’d say the exact same for our restaurants. I hope we live in a time where this is no longer a problem. I do hope [children] are on good behavior, but would expect the same if we are out anywhere else. Responsible parenting is responsible parenting.”
Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) founder Steve Holle’s parents were second-generation Germans. Connected by ancestry and church, his close extended family celebrated weddings, confirmations, holidays and other events with food and drink.
“Since children are a much beloved part of my family and friends, children are included in these celebrations, where beer and wine is enjoyed responsibly by adults,” Holle said. “When I studied in Germany, I experienced firsthand the culture that influenced the family and the social culture that I grew up with in the U.S.”
When Kansas City Bier Co. opened in 2014, Holle and his business partners “wanted to create a community gathering place much like in Germany that welcomed people of all ages, including families with children,” Holle said. “Biergartens and taverns have always been community places. We wanted our tasting room and Biergarten to support the continuation of that culture.”
Just off Southwest Boulevard, Boulevard Brewing’s Beer Hall (2534 Madison Ave.) has a host of family-friendly options on and off the menu.
“We carry seven varieties of locally-made Polly’s Pop,” Beer Hall general manager Mandy Waters said. “Our board games include kids’ games that beer-loving adults can play too. The photo booth is especially popular with kids.”
Waters also addressed whether family-friendly taprooms were important to the livelihood of breweries that serve multiple generations of adults and their families.
“Absolutely. We see kids almost every day, especially during summer travel season,” Waters said. “Often parents have accompanied their kids to Sea Life and Lego[LAND]. Then they come to Boulevard to reward themselves with our adult version of a discovery play place.”
KC Beer Tour Expands Craft Brewery Tour Offerings
Nicole and Matt McKinnie of KC Beer Tour have plans to expand their array of travel options on foot, by kayak and even by charter bus for out-of-town trips.
Established in October 2015, KC Beer Tour initially focused on organizing transportation for tours of craft breweries througher Greater Kansas City. A designated driver shuttles guests by bus or passenger van to one of six routes (current itineraries include stops in the Crossroads or North Kansas City).
“The Weston Experience is a five-hour trip to Holladay Distillery, Weston Brewing and Pirtle Winery in Weston, Missouri,” Matt said.
For the kayak and craft beer tour available from spring to fall, KC Beer Tour teamed up with KC Kayak and Canoe. The one-hour Missouri River kayak trip precedes a visit to two local craft breweries.
“You start at Kaw Point, kayak and float under five bridges, and end at the boat ramp at Berkley Riverfront Park,” Nicole said. “A bus picks you up and takes you to the breweries.”
KC Beer Tour is also developing walking tours that would utilize the KC Streetcar. Tourists would meet at Union Station, depart at a Crossroads stop for taprooms on or near 18th Street, and then continue by streetcar to the River Market, where Strange Days Brewing is located.
“We want to incorporate some local history on the tour,” Nicole said. “After a trial run, we want to expand walking tours to wineries and distilleries too.”
Also available, Destination Brewery Tours that will head to Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska, for a four-brewery tour. The trip includes charter bus service for up to 50 people and double-occupancy rooms for an overnight stay on a Saturday.
Wakarusa Brewery (710 Main St., Eudora, Kansas) has Raspberry Mead, Belgian Wit and Oatmeal Stout on tap. The taproom now has dollar-off beer specials on Sundays.
BKS Artisan Ales (633 E. 63rd St., #120) is adding Sunday hours. Beginning Feb. 25, BKS will be open 1 to 5 p.m. (the same hours it is currently open on Saturday). One note for next month: The taproom will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 and 17 to accommodate St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Boulevardia event dates and ticket sales dates have been set. The two-day urban street festival takes place on Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, in the Stockyards District. Tickets for general admission, VIP, and special experience events like Taps & Tastes go on sale on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m.
Boulevard Brewing released Manhattan Cask Imperial Stout, its first exploration into still or minimally-carbonated ales. The base beer, a double mash imperial stout, bears notes of chocolate, espresso and fig. The rich ale rested in oak barrels that previously contained Jefferson’s The Manhattan Barrel Finished Cocktail. After aging, the imperial stout lets loose with subtle notes of tart cherry, earthy vermouth, and a prominent, warming whiskey presence. Available in 750-milliliter bottles.
Colony KC has released Knucklepuck Porter (5.2-percent ABV, 32 IBUs) on nitro.
— Pete Dulin writes about food trends for Flatland and is the author of The KC Ale Trail. Follow @FlatlandKC and #TapList on Twitter for more food news and trends.