I grew up in Spokane, which is the kind of city that is pretty easy to tear into if you live almost anywhere else. I don’t hate Spokane, but I’m also not invested in it either; other people can praise or denigrate it as they see fit, and I don’t feel it reflects on me in any way. If not for the presence of friends and family though, I don’t think I’d have a reason to go back there, but they are so I return periodically.
Spokane in March is not a pretty town but I admit it’s a little unfair to judge it right now. It was hit hard during the winter with snowstorms, and is just now starting to feel the touch of spring. To complain about the roads or the filth or the dead trees or gray skies is more than just pointless; it’s mean. That said; I went for a walk on Friday and all I could think of is how much this city reflects Jesu’s song, The Playgrounds Are Empty.
My first stop in Spokane was a mexican restaurant that had adequate food and a selection of beer sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and Miller. I drank soda, and pondered the anecdotal fact that every mexican and chinese restaurant I seem to go into offers a multitude of beers by those two breweries, but rarely anything else. Is there a conspiracy to keep IPAs and porters away from burritos and egg noodles?
For a beer, I asked if we could go to the Viking. This pub always has a strange connection to me, as it’s where my parents had their wedding rehearsal dinner 37 years ago. I don’t think it’s changed in that amount of time, and it was one of the few places where as a new drinker I could find a pint of beer that wasn’t from the big 3 distributors.
Confronted with this beer list I was promptly accosted by a waitress asking what I wanted, and when I started off with a prefunctory ‘um’ I was smartly told, “All out of um. Just blew the last keg of um,” like a nun rapping a ruler on my knuckles.
Just the kind of friendly homecoming I was hoping for.
I was limply served a Rogers lager, a beer that matched the presentation of it, and I was glad to move on.
But all is not lost in Spokane. My good friend A. Ho. and I went to his favorite spot, Bennidito’s on the South Hill. The food is excellent, and I availed myself a couple pints of Iron Horse Brewery‘s Loco Imperial Red, which was malty and quite intoxicating. I am going to start looking for their brews in Portland, because I’m telling you Ellensburg currently has a good thing going.
Spokane also has some good things going, but that’s for the next post.