Touring Orkney Brewery – with Tots!

Scotland is known around the world for its craft beers, so when in Orkney it was time to sip the Dark Island!

I’d heard a fair amount about Orkney Brewery and its signature creation Dark Island. I also like visiting distilleries and breweries because they’re such an intrinsic part of Scottish culture, history and heritage.

Arriving at Orkney Brewery on the west coast of Orkney’s mainland.

I understand that parents may not wish to expose children to alcohol, but I didn’t think taking my tots on a brewery tour aged 3 and 2 would lead them down any particular path in their adult years, so when we were organising the Orkney trip I realised that we’d only be able to visit Orkney Brewery if the tots were welcome. Each distillery/brewery seems to have its own individual admittance rules when it comes to kids, which is a little confusing, but at Orkney Brewery all ages are welcome. It could have something to do with the fact that the brewery is located in a converted school house that kids have always played a role in the building.

Having visited Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar in the morning, we arrived at the Brewery for lunch as it’s got a good reputation for food, and devoured a Ploughman’s Platter and a Vegan Platter. The kid’s menu offered ‘Peedie Breeks Bites’ – a title I loved. Dishes included Viking Burgers, Orkney Cheddar and Stockans Oatcakes, and Soup with Beremeal Bread (an Orkney specialty).

Victorian Schoolroom Fancy Dress for tots

Along the wall of the tasting hall were little pegs with Victorian fancy dress for the tots to dress up in. Strangely my kids hate fancy dress so I didn’t have to wander around with a little Nicholas Nickleby, Pip or Oliver.

Before the tour began the tots were issued School Notepads. My boys are a little too young for these activity books but the idea is that little ones can look out for items and be occupied as the tour progresses around the building, but naturally parents have to help their kids complete the books.

Insider the workings of Orkney Brewery

The tour took in the famous brews, the mash tuns, wort, barley, hops and yeast, as well as touching on the origins and story of the local founder. The language of the tour was adult and informative, none of it was aimed at children, but the large vats, handling the different types of barley and taking in all the shiny metal and smells distracted them to a certain extent. Our eldest fell asleep in dad’s arms, and Mr Toddler was happy enough being carried around by mum. The guide around the brewery took about 45 minutes.

The all important tasting session

The highlight of any brewery tour is ultimately the tasting and sampling, and Orkney brewery had some cute child-friendly touches here. The guide served me first as he noticed I’d been wrangling a small person around the facility, which was a thoughtful gesture. Each visitor chooses three small glasses of beer to try. With titles like Skullsplitter, Orkney Gold and Corncrake, I opted for the paler beers such as Northern Light. The tots, not left out, were given three different types of squash to try, complete with straws. They were delighted. It takes my kids about three nanoseconds to down a glass of juice so thankfully there was a box of toys in the corner of the Tasting Hall, so they could play whilst I drank my beer in a more civilised fashion. Once done we browsed the gift shop and then went outdoors to take photos of the exterior of the building – I love the look of breweries and distilleries from the outside, the pergoda chimneys, old barrels and branding.

Tasting for tots – squash all round!

We probably spent 2.5 hours at Orkney Brewery. Whilst the tour itself didn’t engage them, the fancy dress, activity book, copious amounts of squash and a box of toys worked really well. And to be honest I was pleased that they could accompany me at all.

Prices are here, and Under 5s are free.

Toys for Tots in the Tasting Hall

OUR STORY – We sailed from Aberdeen to Kirkwall with Northlink Ferries taking our car with us. We stayed at the Ayre Hotel Apartments, Kirkwall which offer self-catering facilities. Orkney Brewery is a straightforward 30 minute drive from Kirkwall.

SHOP THE TRIP

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address and You’re In, or join the conversation on Facebook. For any queries or opportunities please email scots2travel@hotmail.com. We experienced a complimentary tour at Orkney Brewery for review purposes. All images copyright of Scots2Travel.

November 3, 2017

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12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Laura Dove

    November 12, 2017

    Ooh Orkney has always been somewhere I have been intrigued by! It looks like you had an amazing time!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 12, 2017

      It’s a really unusual place. SO much history, and the locals are used to it, and live amongst it. To have that many stone circles, cairns, settlements, spiritual centres and tombs in such a small space is incredible. And grand beer too! I hope you get to visit soon.

  2. Reply

    The Abbottses

    November 13, 2017

    Looks like a lovely place, I love the victorian dressup!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2017

      It’s a little bit different isn’t it.

  3. Reply

    mymoneycottage

    November 13, 2017

    What a great place to visit, I love that they cater for the children too!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2017

      If the kids hadn’t been welcome we simply couldn’t have visited.

  4. Reply

    Kara

    November 13, 2017

    My kids found it fascinating visiting a brewery, sounds like a fabulous family day out

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2017

      It was more for us, the adults, but sometimes we have a day trip for us, then about 3 for the kids!

  5. Reply

    Out of Depth Dad

    November 13, 2017

    This looks like a great day out! I do love a brewery – great to see they’ve made it work for the whole family!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2017

      It’s a strangely fascinating process.

  6. Reply

    Zena's Suitcase

    November 13, 2017

    I hadn’t realised that brewery tours could be child friendly. I would take my kids if there were activities that engaged them and cute drinks for them too

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      November 14, 2017

      My husband had the cute drinks too as he was driving 🙂

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