US - Midwest BigFrank's Father's Day Road Trip 6.0 Penn/Oh/Mich

Discussion in 'Beer Travel, Events and Releases' started by BigFrank, May 18, 2018.

  1. BigFrank

    BigFrank

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    So every year I talk my two sons on a road trip where and explore the sites, museums, baseball diamonds and breweries. This will be the sixth year. We call it a Father's Day trip, but this year it will be in August. In the past we have gone to:

    2017 North Dakota/South Dakota
    2016 Mexico City
    2015 The South (Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Bama, Miss)
    2014 Utah/Nevada
    2013 Northern California

    Jack is age 11 and Reed is age 9. This August we will fly into Philadelphia, spending a day there then hitting the road west. I have no set plans as of yet. I want to hit Pittsburgh, Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and lots of places in between. Hoping to hit lots of National and State Parks as well as any other points of historical/natural interest. I shy away from anything too pricey or generic (the local aquarium or kids museum). Minor league baseball? YES! Free local tradition? YES! Local killer brewery that doesn't distro, YES (if kid-tolerant).

    Hoping to hit:
    Brewgentlemen
    Madtree
    Odd Side
    Founders
    Voodoo


    Here is where you guys come in. Looking for suggestions of breweries, points of interest, museums, restaurants (Primanti!!) and anything else you can suggest. Hoping I can meet some of you when out on the trail. This is totally self-indulgent and I will post pics in this thread this summer. Hope to hear from you!
     
  2. gregkoko

    gregkoko

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Location:
    NJ/NYC
    Always enjoy following this thread. Hope I can do something similar with my little one some day!
     
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  3. Locker338

    Locker338

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Location:
    Keystone State
    Very cool! Great experience for your boys.

    I’d suggest maybe a detour to Jackie O’s in Athens, OH. August is BB Oro time and you should be able to grab some.

    Dancing Gnome and Hitchhiker in Pittsburgh might be worth it too.

    Will follow along. Should be fun!
     
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  4. BigFrank

    BigFrank

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Might go from Pittsburgh through Athens to Columbus. Do you suggest one Jackie O's location from another? Any historic sites or points of interest you can suggest along that route would be appreciated.

    Also, Dancing Gnome and BrewGents may be closed by the time I make it in to Pittburgh on Sunday night. Any suggestions for a restaurant/bottle shop where I can pick up or try them?
     
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  5. KevSal

    KevSal

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    oh man the last trip was fantastic

    following
     
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  6. Locker338

    Locker338

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Location:
    Keystone State
    JO’s taproom for bottles and drafts of whatever BA beers of theirs that are hot at the time. They also have vintage bottles for on site consumption only at the taproom.
    The Brew Pub is only 1 mile away from the taproom/production brewery. Much more extensive draft list there... IPA’s etc. Food is decent too. You could or should just hit both!

    Independent brewing company in Pittsburgh may be open on Sundays come August. They typically have at least 1 or 2 BG or DG beers on tap along with other solid local offerings.
     
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  7. shadowane

    shadowane

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Seems like you could hit up the Reading Phillies if they have a game around that time.
     
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  8. Calcifer

    Calcifer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm sure there would be someone in the Pittsburgh area willing to grab you some bottles/cans/growlers of DG and/or BG and meet up with you if you are getting in after they close on Sunday. Depending on the weekend I would be one such person.

    Following along! Seems like an awesome tradition.
     
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  9. greg4579

    greg4579

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2013
    Location:
    15642
    In Pittsburgh the Pirates attendance has been awful, so tickets should be quite available and reasonable. Good family -friendly options along the way from Philly could be Gettysburg and Fallingwater / Ohiopyle.

    Brew Gentlemen and Voodoo are really close to one another. Be mindful of when you would go there as BG is Wednesday through Sunday, and opens at 5. Voodoo is open everyday at 4. If you signup for BG's emails they give a nice rundown of weekly releases (same goes for Dancing Gnome) and food trucks. Voodoo has food in house. Both places are family friendly. You don't want to wait in line for DG cans with the kids. Best bet is hopefully someone here can grab you some and do a meetup.

    A cheap, but mandatory option for Pgh visitors is to do the incline. Probably a 15-20 minute drive from Voodoo. Along the way is Carson St where Fat Heads is located. Great food and very family friendly.

    If Primanti's is on the list then there are a bunch around the city. If going to the original in the Strip District then there are several local breweries fairly close: 11th Hour, Cinderlands, Penn, Church Brew Works, Roundabout, Grist House, Hitchhiker, Dancing Gnome, Hop Farm...
     
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  10. owlsfan

    owlsfan

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    How long is your day in Philly? If the kids have never been to Philly before, hit Old City for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Constitution Center, Betsy Ross House, etc. Franklin Fountain has good ice cream. Valley Forge is on your way out of the city. Not many convenient breweries that are kid-friendly with limited distro around here. Maybe urban village or dock street? Yards is an option too.
     
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  11. BigFrank

    BigFrank

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    We have a full day in Philly. Had all of that planned except Franklin Fountain which sounds perfect. Any beer friendly lunch spots you would suggest in that area?

    I had planned on Khyber Pass based on other posts.
     
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  12. owlsfan

    owlsfan

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    2nd story is a brewery, but I'm not sure what their kid policy is. Khyber is probably your best bet.
     
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  13. BuckTuckian

    BuckTuckian

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Location:
    Can tuck key
    COSI is a cool science museum in Columbus and worth the price of admission once. Plenty of breweries around the Columbus area. Will also vote +1 on Athens and Jackie O's. Hocking Hills is a great place to go hiking in Athens also.

    If you go to Dayton the Wright Patterson Air Force Musuem is cool. The Dayton Dragons minor league baseball stadium is a nice visit. It's also close to where bretts545 and a friend of mine are opening a brewery soon. It's called Branch & Bone.
    Also Marion's pizza is a local favorite of mine.
     
  14. chefduff2

    chefduff2

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    If you want something different to check out in Pittsburgh, you should check out the Andy Warhol museum. Also the science museum and Zoo are nice. Primanti’s is overrated and I would much rather have a Fatheads sandwich any day. Fun city for kids, but add more drive time then you would think for how far you are going mileage wise.
     
  15. bretts545

    bretts545

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
    Branch & Bone is open. We'd love to have you stop in on your trip to Dayton.
     
  16. beerindex

    beerindex

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    West Michigan
    You mentioned Grand Rapids. Let me first suggest that the best breweries in the area are not in Grand Rapids itself, but within ~1 hour of the city. I say this specifically with Transient and Arclight in mind, though no doubt many would suggest Old Nation or One Well in that same spirit. Of course, Transient and Arclight are in the middle of nowhere; Transient is in Bridgman, whose only other feature is a couple of other breweries (Haymarket and Tapistry), and Watervliet, where you'll find Arclight, has even less going on.

    That said, you definitely have plenty of options within Grand Rapids. And the good news is that Transient in particular shows up reliably in the city these days. Better bars frequently have one or more of their beers on tap regularly, and sometimes a few bottles or cans. Better bottle shops will usually have a few things from them, and their hops are some of the only ones that turn over quickly in town, so you can confidently buy anything you see from it.

    I can certainly provide bottle shop suggestions or non-beer restaurant suggestions if you'd like, but I'll provide you with the general highlights. I'm going to list only places I believe welcome children through the dinner hour or later, but I don't have any, so it isn't something I've ever paid close attention to, so double checking may be in order.

    Breweries:
    • Founders Brewing - At any given time there will be upwards of a dozen beers available exclusively at the Grand Rapids (or in some cases Grand Rapids and Detroit) taproom(s), some of which are really fun barrel aged experiments. If you're among those who still care about KBS and CBS, they aren't permanent features at Founders, but they show up significantly more often than in the wild. The food sounds much better than it is, so I'd suggest eating elsewhere first. A word of caution: nights and weekends at Founders are often absurdly busy, even with their massive expansion. If you have the luxury of doing so, mid-day visits during the work week are your best bet.
    • Speciation Artisan Ales - Michigan's first all wild ale brewery, Speciation is widely considered to be the best brewery in the state. Their Comstock Park taproom is inconvenient in location, but even more so with respect to its hours of operation. At present, Speciation is usually only open one day a month for bottle sales, during which time there are also a few draft offerings. However, they've been known to open up especially for non-locals who ask nicely, so call in advance if you'll be in town when they're closed and can get there. Note that the taproom is supposed to have regular hours "soon," though nobody is clear on what that actually means. Also note that they are probably the most expensive brewery in town. Expect to pay around $25 per 750 ml for their more interesting/desirable options. And some bottles are restricted to "Culture Club" members, so you'll need to trade to acquire those. On the upside, you can find them almost everywhere in bottles or on tap.
    • Brewery Vivant - A Belgian-style-focused brewery built in a former crematorium. Usually a number of taproom exclusive beers available. Food is often excellent, but just as often painfully overpriced (see: Duck Nachos). The poutine is the best in town. A fairly respectable sour program going. Check for special events, as they sometimes host festivals or special events. Most recently they did a "Weird Beer Weekend" which featured a surprisingly good banana curry beer.
    • Greyline - One of the city's relatively newer breweries, Their head brewer cut his teeth working at Founders, helping develop recipes for Dirty Bastard, KBS, and Blushing Monk, before going over to Perrin and developing several of their core beers. Their Alpine location is somewhat inconveniently located, but much less so than Speciation.
    • Harmony Brewing/Harmony Hall - Two locations, there's the Eastown original and the somewhat larger and much more centrally located downtown Harmony Hall. Their beers are very hit or miss, but there are some gems in their lineup, and their sour program was started by Mitch Ermatinger, owner/brewmaster of Speciation. The original location has by far the best pizza in town. Apparently as of a month or so ago, the downtown location has abandoned its sausage menu and now serves the same pizza.
    • Hopcat - Hopcat brews some of their own beer, a number of which are excellent, though just as many of them are terrible. However, Hopcat's focus and its main strength is as a beer bar carrying others. Save for special events elsewhere, they almost always have the best taplist in the city. The food is also pretty good. Note that Hopcat is now a chain, but the Grand Rapids location is the original. Frankly, some of the expansion locations are better, and all of them have more taps than the Grand Rapids location, but it is on the strength of this one venue that Hopcat became a national player.
    The other spots I would tend to suggest are places where I've never once seen kids, so even if technically permitted are likely to be poor choices.

    We do have minor league baseball, and their stadium is out in Comstock Park, somewhere in the general vicinity of Speciation. The only real locally significant site that one might tend to suggest, though its merits with younger children are dubious at best, would be the Ford Presidential Museum.
     
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  17. sliverx

    sliverx

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY via Flerda State
    I was going to suggest Buffalo (AAA blue jays) and Niagara Falls between Pittsburgh and Cleveland but see you're going Pitt > C-bus.
    Maybe in the future Buffalo > Rochester > Syracuse > Cooperstown > VT > Mass. Just a thought.
     
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  18. BigFrank

    BigFrank

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    So one night I was planning on checking out detroit/ann arbor. Anyone have suggestions as to which town to stay in?
     
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  19. BuckTuckian

    BuckTuckian

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Location:
    Can tuck key
    Drink mead in Ferndale with Jas45678
     
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  20. BigFrank

    BigFrank

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Sounds good...also near Kuhnenn...thinking of trying that place.

    Anyone done the Ford Museum/Factory tour? Kind of pricey for what I normally do, but may be a special opportunity.