On a recent afternoon in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Ted Garland and Nolan Maddox relaxed with their dog, Piper, on one of the couches at Green Room Brewing. You’ll find the three of them here often, the couple said. Part of the appeal is the beer; Green Room makes a mean stout and a delicious IPA. But mostly, it’s because it’s one of the US’ dog-friendly breweries and it welcomes well-behaved pups like Piper.
“I like that we can bring her with us and not leave her cooped up at home,” Maddox said. “Here, she can play with other dogs in a safe environment. It’s more fun for all of us.” Green Room is one of many breweries around the country that go above and beyond for their canine customers, hosting rescues, fundraisers and even dog walks. If you want to drink your mash while supporting man’s best friend, check out these five dog-friendly breweries.
Metazoa was founded on the premise of making delicious beers and helping pets in the process. In fact, that’s their motto: “Drink beer. Help animals.” Five percent of Metazoa’s profits go to local animal rescue groups. The brewery also hosts fundraisers throughout the year for organizations like the American Association of Zoo Keepers and the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership. Since opening in April 2016, Metazoa has held multiple pet adoptions at the brewery, helping almost two dozen animals find their forever homes. Dogs are welcome at Metazoa, which just opened a fully fenced-in dog park, and complimentary dog treats are available at the bar.
One of the many reasons Rob and Amy Cartwright opened a brewery? They wanted a dog. The couple didn’t want to keep a pup cooped up in their home all day while they were tied to a desk, so they decided to go into business for themselves. Soon after construction started on Independence Brewing, they adopted Jasper from a local rescue group. The experience opened their eyes to the financial needs of Austin’s rescues. Wanting to give back, they started hosting the Beers & Best Friends fundraiser in 2006. Using activities like puppy costume contests and doggie kissing booths, they’ve raised about $9,000 each year for local groups, including Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Dog Alliance.
Co-owner Gary Geist grew up with Labs, so when the name Lucky Labrador was first floated around 20-plus years ago as a name for his brewery, it caught on instantly. “It’s the perfect symbol of what we’re trying to do,” he said. “They’re such a friendly breed.” With four locations in Portland, “The Lab,” as locals call it, brews beers like Blue Dog Pale Ale, Belgian Canine Style Tripel and Dog Day IPA. Since 1995, the brewery has also hosted an event called Dogtoberfest. It started as a free dog wash for patrons but has since evolved into a fundraiser benefiting DoveLewis emergency animal hospital. Each year the event raises close to $20,000 to benefit the hospital and its blood bank, which provides dogs and cats with nearly 600 lifesaving blood transfusions each year.
When Green Room opened in 2011, co-owner Mark Stillman’s dog, Diamond, became the brewery’s unofficial mascot. The Rottweiler rescue was always at his side and eventually customers started asking if they could bring their dogs, too. Green Room soon became known as the place in Jacksonville Beach to drink with your dog. “It was never part of the business plan; it just happened,” Mark said. When Diamond passed away in 2012, Green Room hosted a fundraiser for a local rescue group, raising several thousand dollars in the dog’s honor. Since then, they’ve averaged about three fundraisers per year. “We try to do what we can to help shelter pets,” Mark said. “I love dogs, and I’m a pretty big fan of cats, too.
Many municipalities have rules against allowing non-service animals in a facility where food is served, making breweries choose between welcoming animals and feeding hungry customers. For Skookum, the choice was easy: In 2016, they closed their kitchen and opened their doors to dogs. The brewery holds regular adoptions and fundraisers for local rescue groups. They also host “dog days” that feature a local mobile groomer or pet food vendor, allowing customers to support local businesses while drinking beer with their pups.
Follow these dos and don’ts.
Read more about summer fun with your dog on Dogster.com:
Helen Anne Travis is a freelance pet, travel and food writer based in Tampa, Florida. She also writes for CNN, The Guardian and The Globe and Mail. Check out her work at HelenAnneTravis.com. Follow her on Twitter @helen_anne.