52 Weeks 19: Bridgeport Fallen Friar

Mostly recovered from my illness of last week, and in the new acquisition of a ring around the trunk of my tree, I am back at Bailey’s once again, trying the Fallen Friar, which I’ve been hoping to get a sip of for weeks. It’s a golden belgian style beer, with faintly sour nose keeping the whole sweetness in check. Fitting the color, it’s light and easy to drink. 

The nice thing about being away for a week is that there are now many more beers I haven’t tried on the menu. Crazily enough finding new beers is difficult due to just living in Portland and trying everything I can get my hands on. I’m both thankful to be back at the regular bar and reflective on the city I left to come here. 

While in Spokane, I also drank the local brewery’s offerings, in this case Northern Lights‘ IPA. Northern Lights’ flagship beer, Crystal Bitters is a rather pedantic brew, but the IPA is another animal.  Made with more traditional ideas in mind, this beer while quite hoppy isn’t a NW style IPA at all. It’s actually got a restrained bitterness, with a great nose making for a very balanced beer. I hope that when I visit next I’m able to try more styles by them, just to see what else they offer. 

It’s pretty cool that cities are getting local breweries again. I’ve read that before Prohibition, damn near every city in America had a brewery of it’s own and it was a source of local pride. Spokane’s local may not win national recognition, but at least I know I can get a solid beer when I go back. 

Going back is weird though; I don’t know that I conveyed well enough how alien I felt in the city last time. Some things had changed-enough that I could feel disoriented-but the basics were all still the same that I almost felt as though I never really  knew the city at all. A remnant of my teenage years when I was even more introspective and self-absorbed than I am now. Who cares about the city when everything around you seems to suck?

Yet, when I drive along the Monroe Street Bridge and no longer see The Wall, I feel sad. The Wall was just that; once the foundation for a large railroad bridge, then just a huge populist space for anyone with enough will, friends, and paint to write any message or place any graffiti they wanted. It was there for as long as I lived there, and for that quarter century it was one of the few things that made the city interesting. What surprised me was how rarely profanity was used. People could say anything and did, but infrequently used their platform to tell the world to fuck off. They wanted to propose marriage, make art, protest politics, welcome bands, have a voice. Any voice. 

A few years ago, the property was bought and the wall was destroyed, so the land could be leveled and developed. I can’t even find pictures of it on Google, although searching for it is kind of difficult under the gun of this blogpost. 

It has yet to be developed. The land sits there now, barren and empty save for the large ‘For Sale’ sign.

They shouldn’t have let that happen. People need quirky, strange, unique places to express themselves. Someone should’ve saved that wall…and that I miss it now is a little silly given that I don’t even live there anymore. Maybe that’s why I don’t live there though. The city didn’t realize how important that wall was, and was content to become something dull instead of embracing it and being different.

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