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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: Tulip Time, Mothers Day & Rosewood Happy Hours

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We're thrilled about the arrival of Spring in Grand Rapids and doing our best to celebrate accordingly.  Beginning now through the end of summer our calendar is packed with one fun thing after another and you won't find us complaining about it. 

This month kicked off both mine and Jeff's golf leagues. It's been great getting outside and back on the course again. A few weeks ago I got my very first birdie and the second week of league my team won first place - things are off to a good start. This week we both (separately) golf in our first tournaments of the season - wish us luck. 

On Sunday we celebrated Mothers Day with Jeff's parents and our friends the Matsons at Reds at Thousand Oaks for brunch. They've got a great set up in their event space that accommodates large groups and families. They even had a kids buffet complete with smiley fries and fish sticks which made my life easier. The dessert buffet was a different story. 

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My parents were out of town last weekend and so we celebrated Mothers Day early with my Mom the weekend prior. She made the trip up to Grand Rapids for the day and we had an action packed morning complete with a long walk to the festivities at Fulton Street Farmers Market opening day, lunch at Fruition (new spot in Eastown) and shopped at the newly reopened Rebel Reclaimed. Natalie got her face painted with a princess crown. I sent the pic to my Grandma and she asked me if Nat had a bandaid on her forehead. Close enough. 

In Rosewood Avenue news: tis the season for neighborhood happy hours! As soon as the weather warmed up we were reminded of how wonderful our 'hood' is to be a part of. The sidewalks flooded with activity and Friday night happy hours weren't too far behind. A few weeks ago we hosted on our porch before everyone retreated to their own homes for dinner and kids bedtimes. It's easy summer nights like these that we live for. 

We also made the trip out to Holland for the annual Tulip Time Festival again this year. Along with our friends the DeWittes we stopped and smelled all the flowers, walked Main Street and took a few rides at the carnival with the kids. Tulip Time is just about as kid friendly as events get and certainly has the Natalie seal of approval - she loved the carnival rides. After the festival we grabbed dinner with the kids at Tripleroot Brewing on our way home in downtown Zeeland. 

And last weekend I spent the evening out with girlfriends at the newly opened Jolly Pumpkin on the Westside of downtown. The Grand Rapids location is the newest of it's now 7 midwest locations. The GR location is considered a pub where they sell their beer and ciders (as well as a select few local spirits) and serve food like wood fire grilled pizzas. It's a 'seat-yourself' set up and there are no servers. Instead you order via the two different counters: one for drinks and another for food. Overall it was good and I'd return with friends for a casual drink and bite to eat. 

As we put the pedal to the metal on summer I'll be reminding myself to relax and enjoy the sunshine. We hope your next few months (and bellies) are full of grilled burgers, gin & tonics and lazy afternoons at the lake.

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately...

  • The Dailey Method - Located in Eastown, it's convent in both location and schedule. Their one year anniversary party is Saturday June 23rd. Mark your calendars! There will likely be deals if you're interested. 
  • Rebel Reclaimed - Their brand new shop, less than a mile from their old location, is fantastic! More space and more items to shop for! 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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