Families find Penn Brewery very welcoming. Photo by TH Carlisle for NEXTpittsburgh.

My wife jokes that you know you’re a Fleisher if you bring a booster seat to a brewery, writes Chris Fleisher for Kidsburgh.org.

It’s funny because it’s true. My son has been to more breweries in his first six years of life than I had visited by age 30, and my daughter saw her first brew kettle before she could drink milk from a bottle.

Before you judge, consider that many breweries nowadays not only tolerate children, they welcome them with family-friendly entertainment and accommodations such as changing tables and high chairs. It is a concept of the brewery as “community gathering space” rather than “watering hole.”

Below are five Pittsburgh area breweries that I consider among the more welcoming to people with kids. They may not all have stroller parking or a private nursing room, but each has features that make them a bit more inclusive for families, he writes.

I can’t think of a local brewery that is more accommodating to families than Spoonwood in Bethel Park. The spacious restaurant is easy to navigate with a stroller. There are high chairs for younger kids, a children’s menu, a separate family restroom with changing table, and a fenced outdoor yard where kids can run around or play corn hole.

Co-owner and head brewer Steve Ilnicki acknowledged Spoonwood’s kid-friendly reputation but said he never consciously aimed to become Pittsburgh’s go-to brewery for families.

“Ultimately, I expected to attract the ‘late-20s to early-40s crowd because that’s who I am,” he told me. “That’s my demographic, craft beer lover with young children in tow.”

For grownups, Spoonwood offers a rotating menu of around a dozen beers that range from pretty accessible cream ales to the more adventurous chili pepper and smoked beers. There’s wine, cider, mead and spirits, a good portion of which are made locally. The food menu is anchored by a lot of specialty wood-fired pizzas, and includes burgers, meatloaf, fish tacos and mussels, as well as a few desserts.

Read the rest of the article and the remaining four breweries at Kidsburgh.org.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.