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For Your Next Group Meal, Head to a Brewery

Plenty of outdoor space and no reservation needed

Four pizzas covering a red picnic table.
Wood-fired pizzas at Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick, Maine.
Stephanie Wu/Eater
Stephanie Wu is the editor-in-chief of Eater, overseeing 20+ city sites, national food culture coverage, and an Emmy-award winning video program.

A version of this post originally appeared on August 27, 2022, in Stephanie Wu’s newsletter, “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world. Read the archives and subscribe now.

Last weekend, I took a road trip to Maine with a bunch of friends. While we had plenty of time to check out Portland’s restaurants, the meal that surprised me the most was a completely unplanned group dinner. In New York City, where I live, it would be incredibly hard to find a place for seven adults and two toddlers to eat on a Saturday night without a reservation. In Brunswick, not far from where our Airbnb was, we stumbled upon an unlikely family-friendly location: a brewery.

Four small pours of beer and a white card on a wooden board.
A beer flight at Flight Deck Brewing.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

We decided to visit Flight Deck Brewing because we had heard great things about the beer (my favorite was Wings, a New England IPA), and we knew they had good pizza. What we didn’t expect was the copious outdoor space, wide variety of seating options, and food trucks that made it a wonderful experience for both adults and kids. There was a wait for our wood-fired pizza (it was still a summer Saturday evening), but we passed the time and appeased the toddlers with barbecue and sides from a different food truck, plus plenty of beer for the adults. Most importantly, the kids could run around on the grass, throw their food on the ground, and be as loud as they wanted.

A brewery rarely comes to mind for me when I’m thinking about where to have a casual group dinner. But now I’m seeing these spaces in a completely different light — and I have even more of a reason to seek out great beer on my next group trip.