Russian River Brewing Company
725 4th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
A few years ago, I unwittingly developed a taste for American IPAs. From years back I enjoyed the IPA from Bridgeport, the rather enjoyable brew pub in Portland, OR whose killer app is the aroma from its non-stop pizza ovens combined with a variety of decent beers. But for whatever reason, a couple of years ago, I went from occasionally enjoying an IPA to suddenly finding it to be my favorite style of beer – well, provided it’s a west coast IPA, which I find to be cleaner, more focused and stylish than its Pacific-removed brethren. The recent evolution of IPA (as the story goes) took a step forward when Vinnie Cilurzo, then at Blind Pig in San Diego, jacked up the regular IPA with even more hops, and balanced the extra bitterness with more sweetness from malt, which inevitably led to more alcohol. And thus the double IPA was born. <Cue the manna from heaven sound effect.> Now Mr. Cilurzo is co-owner (with his wife) of the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA, smack in the middle of California’s tourist – sorry, wine – country.
Without significant commentary or respectable photographs to complete more solo posts on establishments visited earlier this month on a trip to Calgary, I thought I’d quickly sum up a few thoughts on a trio of places to wrap up this busy week…
Breakfast, drinks and an unfortunate lunch…
542 1st Ave South
Tel: (206) 382-4498
Preface: Being from Alberta, I know how at times it seems the province is actually part of Saskatchewan. The seemingly large number of people from that Prairie province who live and work in Alberta, as well as those who actually make the journey to watch their beloved Roughriders football club play in cities like Edmonton and Calgary, further compounds this image.
On a recent day trip down to Seattle to catch the Toronto Blue Jays take on the local Mariners, I was surprised to find a row of ten young men decked out in full Roughriders fan gear – complete with those popular watermelon helmets, green body paint and colored wigs. The curious and bewildered Yanks in the stands were coming down and taking pictures of these fellows, and as a Canadian, I was proud to see them showing love for our country (albeit, I am not a fan of that particular ball club, while my travel companion is). Incidentally, the hottest daytime temperature ever in Seattle was recorded on this day! Field level mercury was reported at 41 degrees C!
The Grizzly Paw Brewery
622 Main Street
Canmore, AB T1W 2B5
Located just outside Banff National Park, Canmore is a large town in the Bow Valley, nestled against the Rockies, serving as a destination for outdoor activity and adventure. The town has re-invented itself, moving from a small coal mining town to a tourist destination for outdoor enthusiats. While Canmore actually boasts a high number of drinking establishments, the town is still a combination of old and new places to imbibe. The Grizzly Paw Brewery falls squarely with the new. Located on Main Street, it is almost impossible to miss.
Starting as a Brew Pub in 1996, the Grizzly Paw now brews under a microbrewery license, distributing their beer around Alberta . With 8 hand-crafted beers on tap at any given time, they have a good selection of beer to meet everyone’s tastes: pilsner, to wheat ale, to ambers, browns, stouts, and seasonal beers. The beer itself is brewed with a purpose – sacrificing little in quality, they follow fairly traditional techniques to produce subtle, flavour-filled beers.