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5 Family Friendly Breweries in Grand Rapids

 Photo Credit: James Richard Fry 

Photo Credit: James Richard Fry 

Grand Rapids is known as Beer City USA as well as a fantastic place to raise a family. It should be no surprise that our list of breweries is extensive, but what about meshing the two: family + brewery? Here's our list of top 5 family friendly breweries taking into account kid friendly atmosphere, menus and spaces. 

HARMONY EASTOWN

Harmony is a personal neighborhood favorite of ours with the biggest reason being how family friendly they are. This summer they will open their new addition including a larger outdoor patio that is completely fenced in - the fence is extremely helpful because of the busy Lake/Wealthy intersection just near by. They don't have a kids menu, however, they have wood fire grilled pizzas and if you go on Tuesday night they run a $6 cheese pizza special. The staff are accommodating with crayons, coloring books and high chairs, and they're happy to accommodate with cups (with tops) of chocolate milk. 

 Photo Credit: Harmony Brewing

Photo Credit: Harmony Brewing

VANDER MILL Grand Rapids 

Vander Mill is a cider mill rather than a brewery but one that completely deserves to make our top 5 list. Vander Mill offers another great outdoor patio space worthy of roaming kiddos. There's a bit more space with grass and trees where they can stray a bit further without disturbing other patrons. They offer a great kids menu including homemade Mac n' Cheese and Chicken Fingers with Fries that are sure to win your crew over. Vander Mill does have high chairs and the usual crayons and coloring sheets, but they also have yard games on the patio when it's open. And parking is easy at Vander Mill so you don't have to worry about walking far from car to front door. Last, they have a fantastic brunch menu as well on the weekends! 

CITY BUILT BREWING

City Built is a little slice of Puerto Rico right here in Grand Rapids. On their menu you'll find lots of plantains, spice and tacos! Sure, they offer a pleasing kids menu complete with the ever favorite cheese quesadilla, but it's the adult menu that's one for the record books. It's anything but your usual brewery sandwich. City Built got super thoughtful and has a designated kids area with a few buckets of toys and a chalkboard. It's fantastic. 

BREWERY VIVANT

Speaking of designated kids area, Brewery Vivant has an outdoor (yet indoor?) kids area located inside their sun porch that's open air. What's great about this? It's all closed in, has a sandbox, playhouse and little table and chairs for them to hang out at while you hang out just inside. At Brewery Vivant they're all about the kids by supporting the local charity Kids Food Basket - for every kids menu purchased, Brewery Vivant donates 5 meals to local kids in need. They've got a great kids menu (made from scratch Mac n' Cheese) and some fantastic beer - Big Red Coq anyone? 

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PERRIN BREWING COMPANY

Perrin is one that's large enough and loud enough where bringing the family is totally acceptable. They have a great outdoor patio (completely enclosed) that's ideal for sitting with kids and plenty on their menu to chose from including sweet potato fries - my kids fav. And for all those Moms (and Dads) out there looking for a little 'me' time, Perrin regularly offers what they call 'Bend & Brew' on Saturday mornings which includes yoga followed by a free beer! Check them out. 

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Kladder Update: Bottomless Mimosas, Wine Tasting & The Catwalk

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Natalie turned 3-years-old this month and we celebrated her with the very first ‘Natalie Day’ at the happiest place on earth: RiverTown Crossings Mall. She hasn’t been to Disney World quite yet so trust me, this totally worked. 

We started with building a cat, who has yet to be named, at Build-a-Bear. She picked out a toy food dish and hair dryer to go with it. Why a hair dryer? Your guess is as good as mine. Didn’t matter. It was Natalie Day. Next we spent some time at the Germ Tree, aka the indoor playland in the center of the mall. After about 20 rides down the slide (with the cat) we headed towards the food court for a spin on the carousel which was the best thing ever. We capped the day off with ice cream. A newbie 3-year-olds dream day. 

Natalie is turning into quite the little lady who loves all things girly: painted nails, princess dresses, bows, makeup, anything pink. She’s gentle and detail oriented, and the girl can’t get enough hotdogs, ice cream and candy of any kind. In the fall she’ll head off to preschool at which point I'll be home crying out all my feelings. Happy Birthday Natalie.

This month we officially kicked off Women’s Golf League with our Spring Mixer at Watermark. We met up with old friends who we haven’t seen all winter and welcomed new faces.  Some gals were tanner than others because… FLORIDA! And this week was our first time out on the course and it felt so good! The sun was shining and that’s all that mattered, well, at least that's what I'm telling myself because I lost 4 golf balls to water hazards. 

Last weekend for the first time we attended Runway on the Rapids with friends for some socially acceptable people watching. Because that’s what a fashion show is, right?! Before the show we grabbed dinner with friends at Osteria Rossa. I ordered the Prosciutto Wrapped Quail Gnocchi and it was fabulous. The show was super fun and you can find out more about the show HERE. Afterwards we grabbed a nightcap at Lumber Baron Bar located inside the Amway Grand Plaza. We'd always heard good things but had never been and it's safe to say we'll likely return. 

This was our second year attending the Wine Tasting Event benefitting St. Cecilia Music Center. It’s a wonderful fundraiser catered by our ever favorite Martha’s Vineyard that entails an all you can taste wine selection and a generous spread of meats and cheeses. Jeff and I enjoy a good silent auction and this event provides the best we've seen. This year Jeff took home a dry-cleaning package which was entirely all too practical of him. It will not be wasted. 

If you also follow me on Instagram this next blurb won’t be news to you because I diligently documented (via Insta-story) our Housewives Field Trip to Saugatuck last weekend. I took my documentation seriously and even brought my selfie-stick along for extra good angles. Talk about a super fun time! It was a tamer version of ‘mommas gone wild’ and began with a vigorous stair climb to the top of Mount Baldhead Park. Over 300 steps (and a few mimosas) later, we retreated to Everyday People Café for bottomless mimosas (sensing a theme?) and some breakfast. We also made a stop at Virtue Cider and bought out their stock of canned Rose. I’m not much of a cider fan but the cans were adorable, pink and I was in a good mood. The rest of our time was spent shopping and bar hoping our way back to our families. I feel asleep around 9:30pm. It was a really good day.  A big shout out to our home-girl Hannah for being our designated driver. We promise to pay you back once that little bundle of joy arrives! 

Speaking of housewives, we started what I hope continues to be a monthly supper club with our group of girlfriends and April was my turn to plan. I’m a sucker for hibachi and dragged the ladies out to 28th Street for flying shrimp and flaming onion volcanos at Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi. There was a coy fish pond, cocktails and lots of laughs. 

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Also, if you're reading this from any place but your front porch or sunny patio... you're doing it wrong. Go get yourself some sun! Enjoy the warmth. 

POSTSCRIPT – Stuff we’re into lately. 

  • FMGs Concert Series! If you have never been to an outdoor concert at Fredrick Meijer Gardens you are missing out. We’ve selected our summer roster and look forward to drinking wine out of plastic cups. 
  • Westworld is Back and we’re thrilled about it. It’s futuristic, dramatic and extremely thought provoking. Beware, it’s not for the faint at heart.
  • Costco (always Costco) but specifically Costco for it's incredible deal on Arborvitae trees which are double the size of the ones at Meijer for the same steal of a deal price at $26. What is more, I crammed 6 of them in my mid sized SUV (pictured as the header of this post). The guys at Costco were likely dying laughing upon my departure. 
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Kladder Update: Easter & Happy Birthday Kladder Kids!

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Our dining room turned into party central last weekend as we celebrated both Thomas and Natalie's birthdays - sorry, kids, get used to it... your special days are only 3 weeks apart. Thomas turned one-year-old on March 27th and Natalie will be young-wild-and-three on April 16th. I did some 'momming' and put together some woodland themed decor for the event with family using red and black as our color scheme. Full disclosure: I repurposed the pennant banners from my sister-in-laws bridal shower, ordered the table runner on Amazon for $8 and got the cake from Meijer Bakery, which deserves a huge shout out... not only did it look and taste fabulous, but it was only $11.99. Tell all of your friends. 

Thomas really-really enjoyed his chocolate birthday cake and Natalie was thrilled about her gifts: an incredible wooden playhouse for the backyard from Grandma and Grandpa and a super cute metal tea set from her Aunt and Uncle. 

We doubled down on family time last weekend and also celebrated Easter Sunday while my folks were in town. The entire family shivered in the cold as we watched Natalie do her solo Easter egg hunt around the yard. I should have learned my lesson from last year NOT to fill the eggs with candy - that only slowed us down. We opened Easter baskets and ate ham - which is the gift that keeps on giving this week in the form of sandwiches. You know what I'm talking about. So good. 

That same morning we dressed in our Sunday best (always fun on Easter) and headed over to Grandville for Easter service at Mars Hill. The place was 'hop'n' (pun intended) and the crowd was looking good - all those sweet little Spring outfits really get me! Our pastor AJ spoke about 'believing' and asking for guidance in our 'unbelief'. Mars Hill continues to be a solid place for us to worship and build our relationships with God and our community.

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Two weeks ago Jeff and I took a few days off as parents in Chicago for a weekend of fun with friends. My parents took our kids for two nights (thanks Mom & Dad) and we savored the mornings of laying aimlessly in bed, uninterrupted adult conversation during dinner, spur of the moment planning and ridiculously late bedtimes. Those were the days. I wrote all about our weekend away HERE

U of M lost the NCAA Championship Monday night and Jeff is super sad. He watched the game with his guy friends and I'm just glad he made it home alive. Honestly, there was a higher chance of losing him had they won. I'm only half kidding. 

More news in sports, we checked out the Griffins Hockey game last Friday with friends for $2 beer night. Griffins won 3-2 over the San Jose Barracudas which doesn't matter much to me. I just like the games for the cheap beer and the people watching. It was a fun Friday night out topped off with our usual nightcap at Bob's Bar on Michigan Ave. It's the simple things. 

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Last, if you haven't noticed already, I'll point out our updated webpage banners. With both the kids celebrating birthdays it made for a perfect time to snag some new photos of each of them and some candids for the site. Jeff absolutely hates getting his photo taken but he tolerates me nonetheless. The photos were done by our very favorite, James Richard Fry, who's taken our family photos since before we were a family. His work is littered all over this blog site and we couldn't say enough wonderful words about him. Thank you James! 

Next on the horizon for us Kladders is a whole lot of praying for this weather to clear up! We're aching to get on the golf course A-SAP and seeing all your beautiful photos from Florida isn't helping much! Enjoy the rest of your Spring Breaks and please bring home the sunshine with you! 

POSTSCRIPT - Mark your calendars!!! 

  • Runway on the Rapids benefitting the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Mercy Health is coming on Friday, April 20th at the JW Marriott. We've got our tickets and you should too! Tickets include admission to the fashion show, light apps and cash bar. It's a good time and for a great cause! See you there.  
  • Watermark Women's Association is hosting our Annual Spring Mixer on Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30pm. Interested in golf? Interested in Watermark? Interested in meeting fun gals? Come see what we're all about. 
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