Trolley 5 Brewpub, 728 17th Avenue, SW. Good food, great beer, excellent company. Take the tour!
Sometimes, at the end of long day, there’s nothing better than stopping in a neighbourhood pub for a pint or two of beer.
Maybe grab a snack, have a chat with your friends, flirt a little with the bartender or the person waiting on you or the guy or girl at the table next to you (unless of course, you shouldn’t), and then head home to do all the things you need to do at home before you can put your feet up.
It’s just a little break from the daily routine, but perhaps a necessary one.
It’s been that way for decades along 17th Avenue SW in dozens of places, small and large. In fact, about a hundred years ago, when Calgary was a relatively new city, a streetcar known as Trolley No. 5 wound along the avenue in what was then the beltline of the city, carrying workers towards home at the end of a busy day. No doubt some of those people stopped along the way for a cold one before heading home for supper…just like the men and women who fill the Trolley No 5 Restaurant and Brewery on a recent weeknight.
One of the most unique elements of this relatively new place on the Red Mile (those of you who know the street—this is part of the old Melrose Place, just east of 7th Street, SW) is that you’re actually sitting in the middle of the craft brewery. Big steel tanks are placed at the back of the room and a conveyor belt system carries growlers around the perimeter of the upstairs room, down the staircase, past the bathrooms and into and across the barroom below. A quick check of the website tells you that you can take a tour for a very reasonable price…a price that includes a beer flight at the conclusion--how could you go wrong?
Especially when the beer is as good and fresh as it is at Trolley No. 5.
So what’s on tap on a Tuesday night? There are five or six in-house creations, and I decide to try a Derailed Pale Ale (sounds about right) while I wait for Amelie to join me.
It’s excellent—cold and crisp, a little darker than I usually like, but this one is great. Just right.
When Amelie arrives, she orders the same and we decide to share some sliders—they’re on special, as is the beer. (I’m beginning to figure out that, with a little planning and research, dining and drinking out on a regular basis doesn’t have to break the bank; it just requires a little forethought.)
Amelie is much younger than me—I’m at the very least old enough to be her mom (sigh), but as we talk, it becomes apparent that we have more in common than simply a workplace…and that the generation between us doesn’t really make too much of a difference.
We’re both relatively newly single; we both have one child; and we’re both trying to find our way in the world.
We know each other from our jobs, but this is the first time we’ve gotten together one-on-one—actually, it’s the first time we’ve had the chance to have an in-depth conversation, ever. And she’s a pretty cool lady.
Sometimes I think we don’t spend enough time learning about the people we spend most of our days with…we’re always in such a hurry to get out of work and get on to our “other” lives—sometimes out of necessity, sometimes simply out of habit—and, as a result, we don’t stop to listen to our work colleagues or consider them anything but that. We need to make an effort to do this more often; it helps us to understand what motivates them, what troubles them, why they do what they do, what they really dream to do--and to share a little of ourselves in the process as well. I like that.
Our conversation—a new conversation and connection-- flowed as freely as the beer we drank (although we certainly didn’t overdo it—it was a “school night”, after all). It felt really good to step away from the daily grind and learn something new about someone else.
When we were done, I walked Amelie to her car and thanked her for coming down to the Avenue for a while, and, as I walked back across 17th, I realized I am heading towards the halfway point of this journey (I should be honest: it appears as though there will be way more than 17 entries in the blog, but I promise it will still be over by Labour Day), it really sinks in that this is the biggest, most amazing benefit of this journey—the food’s great, the drink’s not bad either…but it’s the people—new acquaintance and old friends—who make it so much fun and interesting.
And even though Trolley No 5 was big and busy and open and loud, the servers were friendly and everyone seemed to be having a great time (hats off to the servers and to manager Puneet for being such an excellent host), including us.
And I’m sure that long after Amelie and I left Trolley No. 5 that night, the growlers continued their endless progression around the top of the room.
Might just have to go back for the tour.