By Gennifer Rose
One of the woes of being a parent to young children is that all of a sudden many of the “adult places” that you love to frequent become distant memories. Because wineries and breweries are production places where alcoholic beverages are made, some of the properties and events are only for patrons 21 years old and over. Luckily in recent years there’s been a renaissance in the wine and beer industry and many of these companies are embracing a more family-friendly atmosphere.
It can be difficult to know in advance whether a winery or brewery is welcoming to children before you arrive. The idea for this article was sparked by my own personal experience. When my daughter was about 6 months old we were invited to review a wine event for our blog. My husband and I were very excited at the prospect of spending time with other adults while sipping some wine in a venue with beautiful ambiance. Upon our arrival we were promptly told that our baby couldn’t enter the event because she was under 21 years of age. Needless to say it was an awkward moment for everyone and we had to return home without being able to enjoy the experience.
In order to ensure that all visitors have a great experience, I did extensive outreach to over 35 wineries and breweries in Placer County to ask them about their policies around bringing children. I am happy to report that many of these locations had an overwhelmingly positive response to parents bringing their kids and actively promote family-friendly vibes on their property.
Top 12 Kid-Friendly Breweries in Placer County
Bear Belly Brewing Company – Take a trip to Tahoe and enjoy a beer at the Bear Belly nano brewery at Kings Beach. Families with children are welcome to play games such as Giant Connect 4 and Giant Jenga, bag game, foosball and darts (once Covid restrictions are lifted).
Dueling Dogs Brewing Company – With a craft brew in hand, check out the onsite Farmstand with freshly grown local produce. In addition to acres of land to roam on, they sell fishing nets ($2) to the kids to catch (and release) pollywogs and small fish from their pond. Dueling Dogs Brewing Co. in Lincoln.
Goat House Brewing – Just as their namesake implies, GoatHouse is located on a farm in Lincoln and they have a dairy goat herd that children love to visit. (kids can feed the goats) Not to mention a social butterfly miniature donkey named Rory who hangs out at the brewery and hop farm. There’s also some very social chickens that like to mingle, along with ducks and geese swimming in the pond.
Hillenbrand Brewery – My contact at Hillenbrand Farmhaus Brewery said their patrons are primarily families so you can feel confident bringing your children with you. Their food truck menu serves German food and beer for the adults and root beer, caramel corn, nachos and quesadillas for children. They recommend you bring camping chairs and blankets for your visit. (I was just there and don’t recall nachos or quesadillas, maybe so? They have a ton of outdoor picnic tables and tons of space, including a pond. Also outdoor games like cornhole available.)
Kathrin’s Biergarten – During my outreach process for this article, Kathrin and I bonded over the mutual struggle of parenthood. She said: “I’m a mother of 4 myself, and I know how it is to not be able to go out to have a beer because some breweries are not child friendly.” Thus her brewery has a huge outdoor area for families, a game room and kid-friendly food. Kathrin’s German biergarten, restaurant and brewpub is located in Rocklin.
Knee Deep Brewing – This Auburn microbrewery is known for their hoppy beers and warehouse style indoor beer garden. They serve food on-site and there’s games for parents to play with the kids. (rotating food trucks)
Loomis Basin Brewing Gastropub and Smokehouse – While the Loomis Basin Brewery location is reserved only for adults, children are welcome at the LBB Gastropub & Smokehouse location in Loomis. Their restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining space for all ages with a kid’s food menu.
Monk’s Cellar Brewery – Located in Roseville’s metro area, Monk’s consider themselves to be a family-friendly destination with areas of the restaurant that are welcoming for children. They offer a kids menu, children’s books, booster seats and highchairs.
New Glory Craft Brewery – New Glory’s eatery in Granite Bay has a large selection of crafted tap beers for their adult guests and a kid’s menu for the children to enjoy a meal. They’ve also taken past beer labels and turned them into New Glory coloring pages. Fun for adults and kids! Located in Quarry Ponds Town Center, it’s a great spot for nature watching.
Out of Bounds Brewing Company – This Rocklin brewery has many regulars that bring in their whole family to enjoy the afternoon at their establishment. Apart from COVID regulations they usually have games and coloring books out for kids and family-friendly games as well.
California Distilled Spirits – Try a new twist on tasting with award-winning gin, whiskey, bourbon, rye and brandy at California Distilled Spirits in Auburn. While they do welcome children to accompany their parents, I recommend bringing along activities and snacks for them.
Crooked Lane Brewery – Located in Auburn, Crooked Lane has decomposed granite Biergarten areas which are excellent places for families to gather. The team at Crooked Lane prides themselves as being one of the most family-friendly breweries in the county with events that are great for kids, (such as School of Rock coming May 2nd – already passed?). They offer popcorn and chips and salsa regularly, as well as seltzer water and sodas for the kiddos to enjoy.
Top 5 Kid-Friendly Wineries in Placer County
Bear River Winery – Bear River Winery is a family operated boutique micro wine grower in Meadow Vista. They currently have rosé, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and more red wines available for tasting. Not only do they welcome families, but children especially love their onsite flock of black belly sheep.
Dora Dain Wines – The Lincoln winemakers at Dora Dain consider themselves to be a “micro micro” winery and they love to make oaky and buttery chardonnays. Tastings are by appointment and they have confirmed that they do allow children to accompany their parents.
Fawnridge Winery – This Auburn winery serves both white and red wines in their tasting room. They offer juice boxes for small children and soft drinks for older kids.
Lone Buffalo Vineyards – Located in Auburn, Lone Buffalo has picnic tables in the vineyard to give families space to roam. They also offer kids free juice boxes and treats from time to time.
Rancho Roble Vineyards – The team at Rancho Roble encourages picnics and smiles and they have plenty of room outside for families to enjoy the property. Their wine tasting options include sparkling, white, rosé and reds. They are located in the Placer County town of Lincoln.
In conclusion, there’s one point many of the venues wanted me to relay – wine tasting with children is a two way street. While many in the wine and brewing industry have opened their doors to families, it’s very important for parents to return the favor with well-behaved children. Please be mindful and respectful of the other adult patrons and facilities.
With that being said, start planning your weekend trip to one of these amazing destinations. Cheers!