If you mention dogs, babies and breweries in the same sentence, you are going to get reactions that range from glee, to sheer terror. Neither emotion is necessarily wrong, either. It all depends on perspective — those who have babies and dogs and those who don’t might not always see eye to eye. But, breweries are an integral part of the Denver community, and most breweries have worked hard to make sure that everyone in that community feels welcome — even dogs and babies. Why? The answer is simple — Colorado is a dog-centric state, and the preference to drink good beer does not die with a birth of a child. Breweries want to accommodate both when possible.
Many breweries have dog-friendly patios, board games for children and non-alcoholic beverages for the underage. This trend isn’t going to go away, and as breweries become further ingrained in our neighborhoods, it’s time to layout some ground rules that can make everyone happy. Also isn’t that we want to put babies and dogs on equal ground, but most of these rules can apply to both parties. Generally, this is unspoken — much like the bar etiquette you receive when you turn 21 — but, if you’re going to have a baby or a dog at the brewery, here are our tips for keeping the peace.
When it comes to your dog — keep them on a leash, preferably one that is six feet or less and in an approved area. Even if the dog is immaculately trained, it’s still important to consider the crowd. Warranted or not, some people are scared of dogs — and whether it’s a 10 pound Chihuahua or a 100-pound Shepherd, the fear is the same. Also, think about the other dogs sharing the patio with you. Neighboring dogs may behave on a leash, but some pups don’t handle strangers or other dogs too well. Most importantly, keeping the dog on a leash prevents the worst-case scenario — spilled beer. And no one wants that to happen.
When it comes to your baby, obviously a six-foot radius isn’t the right approach. Keep the baby within arm’s reach, and please don’t let them roam around on the floor — it’s dangerous. The drunk-and-childless patrons have no idea what to do in that scenario — and it’s bound to end in more spilled beer. The same goes for toddlers — it’s not safe to have miniature little ‘tipsy’ people wandering amongst full-size tipsy people. Most parents know their kids and their limits, so keep them close and the people drinking around you will appreciate it.
There is perhaps no greater debate than this: What time should kids and dogs to leave the brewery? It isn’t like there is a special whistle or clock that signals that it is now adult-only drinking time. It’s important to note that the childless are not heartless — most of us understand that people with young kids simply would like to hang out as a family over a beer at their local brewery. But, a tired child is a cranky child — when the clock strikes 7 p.m., it is probably time to start wrapping up. If it hasn’t already, the live music, trivia and increased drinking will start to happen — and it just doesn’t make sense for children to be there anymore. The same thing goes for dogs. Dogs and rowdy crowds by nature just don’t mix. This isn’t to say there aren’t more mellow breweries that are the exceptions late at night, but it’s important to read the crowd. If you see it switch from casual beer drinking to party mode, it’s time for the dog and/or baby to head home — your baby will be 21 before you know it.
We all have that friend — the one friend who has too many drinks and becomes an emotional mess. When those first drunken tears start to fall, everyone knows that someone in the group needs to load them up and take them home. This logic should apply across the board. Babies will cry, and dogs will whimper and bark — it’s inevitable. Sometimes it’s just a quick squawk, but other times they will open their lungs and all hell will break loose. Bottom line — no matter the source of the crying, it’s a clear indication that the person/baby/dog is uncomfortable. Do everyone — including the crier — a favor and take them outside for a break or trip home.
Breweries are a great place for everyone to get together, whether you have kids, dogs or a simple beer craving. People in Denver love to hang out at their favorite brewery, and sometimes they want to bring their whole family — from the furry, to the newly born. While it may seem different, it’s not. The spaces were designed to be shared with everyone, and it’s only going to become more common. As the luckiest beer drinkers in the country, we should come together and make it work.
All photography by Alysia Shoemaker