11 Best Breweries in McMinnville and Carlton

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You don’t have to look far to find fantastic, family-friendly breweries in McMinnville and Carlton. Yamhill County has a vibrant craft beer culture.

Relaxed brewpubs, farmhouse tasting rooms, and gluten-free breweries can all be found in the heart of Oregon wine country. Here’s our list of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.

#1. Grain Station Brew Works, McMinnville

A tall glass of Pitchfork Pilsner at Grain Station Brew Works. Grain Station Brew Works is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.
Grain Station Brew Works is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.

Grain Station Brew Works is our favorite McMinnville brewpub. Of all the breweries in McMinnville and Carlton, this place is the most family-friendly and fabulously delicious.

Grain Station’s brewpub has an easy, open layout with a cool vibe. The table setting is straightforward, which is just what you want when you’re eating out with kids. The restaurant is located next to an open courtyard, so it’s easy to take a short walk with your child if they feel extra squirrelly.

GS’s beer list includes five flagship beers and a range of seasonal brews. I chose to go with their award-winning Pitchfork Pilsner (5.1% ABV / 30 IBU).

The Pitchfork Pilsner took gold at the 2018 Oregon Beer Awards, and it isn’t hard to see why. This pilz has a clean edge and a surprising pop.

A delicious Wildcat Burger is packed with grilled peppers and onions. Grain Station Brew Works is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.
My Wildcat Burger with Cajun Tots and Blue Cheese dressing

Honestly, what really sold us was the food! Everyone was delighted with their meal, which is really something for a family of eight!

We started with Bacon and Cheese Risotto Balls. These disappeared so quickly that we had to engage in diplomatic negotiations over the last one.

Grain Station is known for its pizzas and our boys agree. Their pizzas came out hot and truly cheesy.

We were most impressed by the burgers. I took on a Wildcat, a delicious combination of beef, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, red peppers, jalapeños, lettuce, and tomato with chipotle mayo on a brioche bun.

A Mushroom Swiss burger with a side of fries sits beside dipping sauces. Grain Station Brew Works is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.
Grain Station’s Mushroom Swiss Burger

Rook, our spice-loving daughter, tried the Grain Thrower: Bacon, pepper jack cheese, beer battered jalapeño rings, lettuce, and tomato with hatch pepper aioli on a Brioche Bun. 

Rook’s big on burgers and described the Grain Thrower as “one of the best burgers I’ve had.” She was kind enough to share a bite with me. The burger brings great spice from the moment it enters your mouth. The meat was fresh and full of flavor, while the peppers added a tang that cut through the richness of the meat.

Grain Station Brew Works is one of the best, family-friendly breweries in McMinnville and Carlton. You can also find them in Monmouth, near Salem.

#2. McMennamin’s Hotel Oregon, McMinnville

Our son smiles at a tall mug of hot coco at McMenamins Pub. McMenamins is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.

It wouldn’t do to pass by the premier brewpub of the Pacific Northwest. Hotel Oregon is a great place to experience the winsome and wonderful world that is McMenamins.

We happened upon Hotel Oregon while walking along Third Street. The Hotel Oregon inhabits a historic inn that’s nearly 120 years old. McMenamins both preserved the building and added their characteristic twist.

@dinkumtribe McMenamins is a family friendly brewpub that has multiple locations in Oregon. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #McMenamins #McMinnvilleOregon #FamilyFriendlyRestaurant #OregonFamilyTravel #TravelOregon #OregonTravel #FamilyTravelBlog #FamilyTravelVlog #RestaurantReview #OregonFamily ♬ Food – Densky9

McMenamin’s Pub is the hotel’s main restaurant, although the rooftop bar also gets plenty of attention. The atmosphere was chill and the staff was truly warm and welcoming to our children. 

Jennifer enjoyed a Mai Tai Rice Bowl and an incredibly good margarita. I opted for a Captain Neon Burger with a side of Cajun Tater Tots. 

Once again, Rook picked a fantastic entree: the Red Eye Salmon Filet with mashed potatoes and sautéed dinner vegetables.

In fact, every one of us enjoyed our meal —pretty impressive given our family’s size and age range. 

@dinkumtribe McMenamin’s is a multi-location Brewery in Orehon that is known for repurposing old buildings and unique art. Check this one out! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #oregoncraftbeer #oregonbrewery #oregonbrewing #mcmenamins #oregontravelideas #familyfriendly @mcmenaminsofficial #familytravelblogger #oregonbeer ♬ Smiles & Sunsets – ultmt. & Hz.

McMenamins offers a mind-boggling selection of handcrafted beers, ciders, spirits, and fine wines. Hotel Oregon is only one of the many unique McMenamins locations in the Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast, Southern Oregon, and beyond.

#3. Heater Allen Brewing, McMinnville

My cup of Bobtoberfest at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Heater Allen Brewing is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.

If you’re a Lager-lover than this is the brewery for you. Heater Allen produces all-malt lagers and other German and Czech beers. 

We first enjoyed a Heater Allen Beer at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Their Bobtoberfest was on tap in one of the “quieter” beer gardens. H.A.’s Bobtoberfest (5.6% ABV) is a bright amber Marzen that’s rich and easy to drink. You can try it for yourself at the brewery’s tasting room in late summer.

@dinkumtribe If you thought that Oktoberfest was just a beer drinking festival, you’re missing the best parts! Not angels Oktoberfest is a family friendly event including dozens of performances, music, dancing, classic cars, delicious food, a free kids zone with carnival rides & a petting zoo, and SO MUCH MORE! Best of all, all of the food vendors support local nonprofit organizations, so you can eat all kinds of amazing food and know that you’re helping a good cause! @D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel@D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel@D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travelo#oregontravelideaso#oregontravelguidet#thingstodoinoregonm#mtangeloregonm#mtangeloktoberfesto#oktoberfesto#oktoberfest2023t#thingstodowithkidsf#familyfuntimef#fallfestival ♬ Good Time – Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

Children are welcome at Heater Allen, however, food options are limited. Visitors are allowed to bring outside food to enjoy with the beer.

#4. Golden Valley Brewery, McMinnville

A detail shot of a bottle of Red Thistle Ale by Golden Valley Brewery.  Golden Valley Brewery is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.
The GVB Red Thistle Ale is worth looking into. Image by bx0.

Golden Valley Brewery and Restaurant is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton. They pride themselves on producing excellent beer and delicious, locally-sourced meals.

This brewery is among the oldest craft breweries in Oregon. They accomplished their first production in 1993, becoming the twelfth microbrewery in the state.

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GVB’s beers began gaining titles after a little more than a decade. Their Beaverton Blonde took gold at the Great American Beer Festival (2015) and the World Beer Cup (2018).

The GVB Red Thistle Ale is their most celebrated beer. The Red Thistle is their own take on an English Special Bitter. This ale took bronze at the North American Beer Awards (2019), Best of Craft Beer Awards (2015), and Oregon Beer Awards (2016.)

Locally Sourced Meals

“Locally sourced” may be an understatement. Golden Valley obtains natural beef and garden vegetables from its 76-acre ranch. GVB’s unique farm-to-table approach is used by only 12 independent restaurants within the United States.

@dinkumtribe Getting ready for Christmas dinner!!!!@dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #primeribeye #primeribdinner #christmasdinner #christmasdinnerprep #christmasdinnercooking #yorkshirepudding #familychristmastraditions ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

GVB may be best known for their weekend Prime Rib dinners. 10 oz and 14 oz cuts fill plates complete with creamy horseradish, mashed potatoes, and sautéed vegetables.

But, there’s plenty of treasures to be found beyond Prime Rib. Their Carlton Farms pork ribs are dressed with the brewery’s own Red Thistle BBQ sauce, and their meatloaf is a local favorite.

#5. Bierly Brewing, McMinnville

A detail shot of Bierly Brewing sticker. Bierly Brewing is one of the best breweries in McMinnville and Carlton.

If delicious beer is impressive, then delicious gluten-free beer is incredible. Bierly Brewing is redefining what’s possible by producing top-notch gluten-free food and beer.

Bierly Brewing is nearly as famous for its donuts as it is for its beer. Their donuts, pretzels, baguettes, sausages, and dairy-free cheese are enjoyed by both gluten-free guests and their gluten-eating friends. That’s no small feat given that several of their items are not just gluten-free, but dairy-free and soy-free as well.

@dinkumtribe It’s hop season here in Oregon! Love driving past these fields, they grow in such a unique way! #oregonfarmers #oregontravel #oregonhops #oregonmicrobrew #oregonbrewing #oregonbreweries #adhdfamilytravel#familytravelcreator#familytraveltiktoker#oregonfamily#pnwfamily #pnwfamilies#oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog#familytravelblog#familytravelblogger#familytravelvlogger#familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Won't You Be My Neighbor? – Mister Rogers

Bierly’s robust tap list embraces a wide variety of beers including Pilsners, IPAs, Porters, Stouts, Red Ales, Browns, Berliner Weiss, and more. This family-friendly brewery can be found in downtown McMinnville, only minutes away from Hotel Oregon and the Atticus Hotel.

#6. ForeLand Beer, McMinnville

Foreland Beer made news when it was recognized as the Best New Brewery by the Oregon Beer Awards for two years in a row (2021 & 2022). 

Their downtown McMinnville location features patio and fire pit seating and delicious food cart grub. ForeLand Beer can also be found at their Portland location, The Study.

@dinkumtribe Fun park in McMinnville, Oregon. #placestovisitwithkids #travelwithkidsblog #familytravelvlog #outdoorswithkids #playoutsidemore #amazingplacestovisit #parentsofadhd ♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio

#7. Evasion Brewing, McMinnville

Evasion Brewing is another McMinnville brewery that’s found a way around gluten. They achieve this by using only gluten-free grains to produce their brews.

Evansion produces a good variety of beers and offers a strong selection of Imperial Stouts. Their taproom can be found at the very edge of McMinnville on NE Riverside Drive.

#8. The Crowing Hen, Carlton

Hops grow in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Here’s one family-friendly brewery that I want to visit. The Crowing Hen has a lot going for it. 

For one, The Crowing Hen makes the most of its spacious, farm location. Parents love that their kids have lots of room to play and plenty of games to enjoy.

Better yet, this hop farm is gorgeous. The taphouse sits beside a quiet lake, amid the peaceful beauty of the Oregon countryside.

The historic Carlton depot in Carlton, Oregon.

This Carlton-based brewery has amassed an impressive selection of original craft beers. Their brews include Key Lime and Sea Salt Gose (5.57% ABV), the Odori Japanese Lager (5.5% ABV), an Oyster Stout (4.5% ABV), and the grain-free Seltzer not Sorry (6.0% ABV).

The Crowing Hen is open seasonally from Spring through Fall. Their food choices are limited but picnicking is welcomed.

The grain elevator in historic downtown Carlton.

#9. Chehalem Valley Brewing Company, Newberg

Chehalem Valley Brewing is a family-friendly brewery with a robust menu. Their brews include the Triumph Pale Ale (5.6% ABV / IBU 43), Hazelnut Brown Ale (6.4% ABV / IBU 31), and the Revolver Double IPA (7.8% ABV / IBU 100).

#10. Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, Newberg

In the mood for a Saison? Wolves & People Brewery is the place to go for Saisons and farmhouse ales.

This family-friendly brewery has a beautiful location. The grounds include a large outdoor dining area, fire pits, games, and plenty of space to roam and play. That said, children are required to stay outside of the building.

Our family walks along historic downtown Carlton.

#11. Barn Door Brewing, Dundee

Dundee’s one and only brewery doesn’t have a good setup for families. However, their original beers can’t go unmentioned in this post. I’m most intrigued by their Slow Heat Habanero Pale Ale (5.5% ABV / IBU 38) and their Hawler Chai Stout (6.6% ABV / IBU 37).

Breweries in McMinnville and Carlton Obituary

Sadly, one brewery in McMinnville and Carlton is no longer in operation. Allegory Brewing closed in 2020. Its former location is now occupied by ForeLand Beer.

©️ Copyright Brian A. Warren 2023.

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About the author

Brian Warren is a native of California and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries. He's husband to Jennifer, Dad of six children, and taught middle school history for several years. His special interests include craft beers, the American Old West, and geology. Brian is also an online marketing specialist and cofounder of Dinkum Tribe, a website dedicated to healthy, happy families. Feel free to send Brian a message at [email protected].