In recent months, ‘beer twitter’ and other related outlets have buzzed about everything from NEIPAs and pastry stouts, beer names, and brewery collaborations. However, one debate has grown from a few curt opinions into a raging wildfire: who belongs in a taproom?
While the dim, rugged, dive bars of yore were clearly no place for families, modern taprooms are all about inviting in the community. With board games, kids corners, bowls of water, and fenced play areas, beer lovers can bring their children and pets without worry. There are even curated lists of which destinations to seek! So, what’s the answer?
In some cases, there’s no argument to be had. Most states have laws against dogs (or other animals) being inside production facilities or anywhere that food is served, relegating them to outdoor patios. This may serve well in a warm climate such as Brouwerij West in Los Angeles, but during the cold months at Wisonsin’s New Glarus, your pupper should stay home. As for small human companions, their presence is generally only restricted in active production areas, typically being required to stay in a stroller, but they can still enjoy the seating areas.
So then, between the laws, weather, and brewery policies, all seems solved, right? Not quite. You see, sometimes babies cry, or dogs bark, and both have been know to bite or go to the bathroom without warning. Many taproom patrons take offense to the mere possibility of these problems, putting the brewery in the position of choosing which customer base to please. Some have opted to have specific “family friendly” areas, or even days of the week. Others have simply aligned themselves to one end of the spectrum or the other, hoping that they’ll please more drinkers than they annoy.
Even when the companions are quiet and polite, they still create a logistics and atmosphere challenge; baby strollers and sleeping dogs take up floor space, dander can irritate allergies, and being the only single, childless drinker in a sea of couples with babies may be uncomfortable. So then, what’s a beer lover to do? Our advice is simple: drink the beer you like at the place you like, but always be willing to try something new. Regardless of which side of the dogs/babies argument you are on, there are over near 6,000 breweries in the country now, so get out there and find your favorites!
The Beer I Can’t Stop Thinking About: Köstritzer Schwarzbier