The first two things I noticed when my family walked in to the spacious IBU Public House were babies in high chairs and a digital reader board with a list of 38 beers and ciders on tap. Both are good signs for a family looking to get some pub grub and pints. (As is the name of the establishment. IBU stands for International Bitterness Units, which is a gauge of a beer’s bitterness.)

The hostess seated us on the lower level next to a play area stocked with a kitchen, train table, Magna tiles and dinosaurs. (Our table had a giant crack running right through it, which I envisioned pinching tiny fingers, so we ended up switching spots.) My 6-year-old daughter, Adela, and 3-year-old son, Cruz, headed right over to check out the dinosaurs.

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While they were off investigating the toys, my husband and I and my in-laws perused the tap list of mostly local beers, ciders, wines and kombucha, which the server told us could also be pulled up on our phones. Since we were there during happy hour, our pints were a dollar off ($4.50-$5). My husband tried the summery Print Master’s pale ale from Corvallis brewer Block 15, I tried the pleasantly puckery Stickmen Brewing’s Kissed by Melon wheat beer and my father-in-law went with a Sunriver Brewing’s Fuzztail hefeweizen. With three generations of pretzel lovers at the table, we made quick work of the happy-hour priced ($4) warm German pretzels.

IBU’s kids menu ($6 per meal) offered two cheeseburger sliders, chicken tenders, grilled cheese or mac ‘n cheese. I was pleased that a fruit cup or side salad were side options in addition to french fries. Pro tip: The ample portion of mac ‘n cheese Adela ordered would even satisfy a grown-up! She did make a good dent in it, clowning around with gooey strings of cheese. Cruz asked for the sliders and I ordered fruit and fries as sides for the kids to divvy up. At one point Cruz was double fisting a fry and a piece of melon. In fact both kids polished off the mix of grapes, berries and melon in no time.

The kid-friendly atmosphere continued beyond the play area and kids menu/coloring page with the ultimate kid accommodation: a step stool at the sink in the bathroom. (When we are out, I often have to hoist my kids up on my knee so they can reach the faucet. One or both of us usually gets wet.) And there was a changing table in there, too.

When our food arrived, we oohed and ahhed over the presentation of the marinated flank steak salad ($16) my mother-in-law ordered. My brisket cheesesteak had big meaty hunks of tender brisket (although I think they forgot to slather on the promised rosemary aioli). And as with the kids meal, the sandwiches come with the option of a side salad; mine included a welcome rainbow of shredded carrots. My husband and father-in-law tried the one-meat barbecue plates, which are perfect for heartier appetites ($14). Each barbecue plate includes included two cornbread muffins with cinnamon butter and coleslaw, or toast and pickled veggies, plus an additional side. My husband’s came with a big pile of pulled pork and my father-in-law’s included two links of smoked sausage. The plates were so generous that both kids managed to beg a cornbread muffin for themselves.

4439 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy. Monday to Friday: 4 pm-10 pm; Saturday: 11:30 am-10 pm; Sunday 10 am-10 pm. Happy hour 4 pm-6 pm daily. Ibupdx.com.

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BREWS WITH A SIDE OF PLAY

We bow down to the original establishments that decided killer microbrews and kids’ play areas were a win-win combination: Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) and Laurelwood Brewing.

HUB’s flagship location on Southeast Powell Boulevard with its three play areas remains so popular, the company has even expanded to the ’burbs with a Vancouver location. And Laurelwood’s tagline — “a place where friends and families meet” — is as true now as it was when they opened the doors to their Northeast Sandy Boulevard location in 2001.

Denise Castañon
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