The burgeoning brewery scene in Bellingham has people taking notice. If you are a craft beer connoisseur, you likely rejoice at all the variety. So many beers, so little time! But beer lovers who are also parents can be hard-pressed to get away without the kids to give the newest brews in town a try. Fortunately, many of our local breweries are family friendly.
Here are three of my family’s favorites.
Boundary Bay Brewing Company
Boundary Bay Brewing Company is the granddaddy of all breweries in Bellingham. It has been bringing visitors and locals together to sip and socialize for more than 20 years.
A favorite gathering spot for families at Boundary Bay is the beer garden. Lush greenery surrounds the space and late afternoon sun filters in from the west. A “tot lot” gives littles a place to play.
Known as “Bellingham’s backyard,” the beer garden here hosts bands of all genres, improv comedy and more.
On a recent Tuesday night, my kids and I headed to Boundary Bay for BIFT – that stands for Beer, Improv, Food Truck. Local improv players from The Upfront Theatre staged their own wacky brand of comedy for two hours while Cicchitti’s Pizza food truck was dishing out slices and calzones. Boundary Bay had beer offerings for the adults and root beer on tap for the kids.
This is a fun way for kids to experience the improv comedy of The Upfront without having to stay up past their bedtime. (BIFT runs from 6-8 p.m.) And because it’s geared toward families, you can be assured that the comedy will be appropriate.
Improv is fun in part because of the audience participation involved. My son even got up on stage to be the Puppeteer in one skit. I’m fairly certain that’s an experience he’ll remember for some time to come.
If you go to BIFT, be aware that there is a $5 cover charge for adults.
Stone’s Throw Brewery
Stone’s Throw Brewery – If Boundary Bay is Bellingham’s backyard, then Stone’s Throw is Bellingham front porch. Located in Fairhaven, this unassuming brewery tucked in next to an old house is almost invisible unless you know where to look.
With plenty of outdoor seating, plus covered seating in the tasting room, my favorite place to sit is in the shady back porch of the brewery. Covered by canvas sails and a fire pit this spot is cozy any time of year. Fleece blankets hang on the wall for patrons to snuggle up in on chilly nights. It’s also home to a foosball table that can be great entertainment for the kids while Mom and Dad enjoy sipping in their beer.
Stone’s Throw also features music three nights a week. It’s fun to watch the mamas and toddlers dancing to bluegrass tunes from the live band out front. It’s an intimate, homey vibe.
On the nights of the week with music (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), Stone’s Throw hosts a different food truck. Guests can also bring their own food or call to get delivery from one of the area local restaurants. While adults are sampling the brews, kids can enjoy the ginger ale. it’s lightly sweet and not too snappy, which makes is it a good choice for kids.
Kulshan Brewery – On James Street
Kulshan Brewery – Any night of the week you are likely to see families hanging out in front of the Kulshan on James Street. Located in the Sunnyland neighborhood, this brewery is within walking distance of many homes, making it a great destination for families. (Note: Kulshan’s second brewery, known as K2, is a 21+ facility.)
Like Stone’s Throw, food trucks provide the eats at this brewery. In this case, every day of the week. Or order in from one of the neighborhood eateries.
Kulshan likes to get involved in the community, such as hosting the annual Kulshan to Kulshan Fun Run. With both a 1-mile and 5K races, the whole family, no matter how young or old, can participate in this easy fun run. At the finish line, kids can enjoy juice boxes while the adults sip on a brew.
Another local brewery, Wander Brewing, hosts a similar community-run called Wander to Wander. It starts at the nearby doughnut joint Johnny’s Donuts and ends at the brewery. Doughnuts and beer? What’s not to love. Their brewery is another popular family-friendly spot to relax at, with food trucks.
Chuckanut Brewery downtown is another good bet for family-friendly dining. With an extensive menu, little eaters are sure to find something they like. A night at the Chuckanut can be educational, too. The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra presents “Classical on Tap” once a month, mini-concerts that are a great way to introduce kids to classical music in a laid-back setting.