These days people want up-to-the-second information on everything, including my favourite beverage: beer. For foam fanatics in search of new and interesting suds in Cowtown, two of Calgary’s newest beer bars have merged onto the information superhighway and are travelling faster than a speeding bullet. Gone is yesteryear’s traditional chalkboard, these two pubs have entered the jet age with computer-generated beer boards displaying information on their latest tap offerings — even connecting them to Twitter and Facebook with approximations of when these latest and greatest kegs are going to run dry.
Other North American establishments have built similar systems on a variety of unique platforms. One of the most interesting this sudsy scribe has sussed out utilizes a stock exchange type system. For example, if a keg of beer is selling well, the price of the pint increases, and if a beer is selling slowly, the price drops, just as stock would fluctuate in the free market.
I think this is something that 99 per cent of those that occupy pubs can rejoice about.
Calgary’s two technology-driven establishments — Beer Revolution and the soon-to-be-open National Beer Hall on 17th — have built their own in-house systems, but on two very different models. Beer Revolution’s utilizes an airport arrival and departure board while National has an old-school flipping board that simulates what you’d find at a train station of yesteryear.
Beer Revolution opened last November and took over part of Brewsters’ large 11th Avenue location. They serve great pizza and even better beer. Beer Revolution has 24 taps of constantly changing goodness and the staff works hard to present unique offerings, including one-off specialty kegs from an array of countries riding the craft beer revolution.
National is Calgary’s newest beer-themed establishment and opens this week. It’s hitting the tracks running with 72 unique beers on tap, but, unlike Beer Revolution, it plans on having a North American-centric tap and bottle list. Although unique, National has incorporated some elements that I really like from a couple of Calgary’s better beer establishments, such as the communal beer garden picnic tables that make Wurst so much fun, and extensive beer offerings on par with those of Bottlescrew Bill’s. The owners of National are longtime restaurateurs and the food here is just as important as the beer. National has a serious oyster bar, some great rotisserie offerings and a menu on the gastro side of pub grub.
The thing I love about both establishments is they don’t pander to the beer-uneducated — if someone asks for a macro-beer, the servers at both establishments have been trained to offer flavourful craft-brewed alternatives in hopes of converting the unwashed.
Both these establishments promise fantastic beer-drinking experiences, whether you’re choosing drinks from the airport board or the train station board, but please remember: if you’re having too much fun the only vehicle you should be taking home is a taxi.