Grab a Drink: National Beer Hall

It’s no secret I love craft beer. Heck, my relationship with Tyler started on the basis of craft beer! We love it so much, Tyler at one point even brewed it at home (we’re not so good at it, so we’ll leave it to the pros).¬†

When I first moved to Calgary in 2012, I was looking for a place that not only had an amazing selection of beer, but that also had good food and a fun vibe. Enter: National.

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I first found National on 17th while out with some new friends and it has since been one of my go-to spots when going out for drinks. Their location on 10th ave is in walking distance from my job, so that place was frequented more than 17th ūüėČ

From their website:¬†Our original location, on Calgary’s bustling 17th Avenue, has been a popular hangout since its doors first opened. Long, communal tables and ample seating make it the perfect place to meet new people, and to gather with friends for a late breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The food menu is big and well-considered, and dishes pair well with our curated selection of craft beers from small North American brewers. A huge oyster bar and robust wine & cocktail menu round out your options. This location also boasts a lively, sun-drenched patio in the warmer seasons.

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PS: There are actually FOUR National locations- 17th, 10th, 8th, and Westhills. I am eager to check out the other two!

My friend Susie turned 30 on Saturday, so we headed to National on 17th for a few beer flights. We were immediately greeted by some awesome staff members and snagged a pretty sweet table near the front windows.

You guys, the beer selection is huge. Like, it’ll-take-you-forever-to-make-up-your-mind huge. Luckily, the staff is pretty darn educated in the stuff and can throw out some recommendations (insert hallelujah hands here).

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We enjoyed 2 different flights (12 beers total) ranging from pale ales to stouts to sours to wheat beers. I think I can say with confidence I would order pints of about 10 of them- two just weren’t my style, but that could be because the taste was altered after following a different beer?

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National has 2 features that I absolutely love:

  1. They have several monitors mounted about the bar that display all available beers. It is constantly rotating to show the different beers AND it shows their province/state of origin. NEAT!
  2. The long, sturdy picnic table seating. It makes for a great way to socialize with others. Plus you can squeeeeeze more people in if need be.

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Once we finished our flights, the birthday girl chose a round of cocktails for us: Hound Dog Hooch (vodka, pink lemonade, wheat beer). They were pretty tasty and a nice palate cleanser.

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I could have stayed at 17th for the remainder of our night, but we decided to head on over to the 10th location for some beer and BOWLING! Unfortunately once we got there, the lanes were all booked. We ended up staying there anyways and having another drink (or two…) to round out the evening.

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Once I get my ‘going out’ mojo back, I’ll be sure to head back to 10th to get my bowling (and beer) fix!

Favorites From the Weekend

Hi there, everyone! How was your weekend? Ours was good, but man oh man did it ever fly by! I need one more day with Tyler home with us, please. Family time > any other time. Rather than recapping the weekend, I wanted to pick out some of my favorite things. Ready, set, go…

I bought these¬†shoes. Not counting sneakers, I think this is the first pair I’ve bought in about 2 years! I’ve avoided heels for a while, but I was finally really to bite the bullet and get some cute booties. Now we’ll see how many times I actually wear them considering my mom uniform is PAJAMAS!

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Wes’s new toque! I won an Instagram giveaway for¬†Lil Fox Shoppe and opted for the marble double pom. We picked it up this week (she’s local to us in Calgary) and it fits him perfectly! I still can’t believe Janelle got this made for us..she just had a baby! Hard workin’ mama. Check out her shop- she makes gorgeous knit blankets, hats, and scarves. Now I want one for myself!

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National.¬†This is one of my favorite places in Calgary for craft beer. We went to both the 10th and 17th locations on Saturday to celebrate Susie’s birthday and it did not disappoint. The beers we sampled were really delicious and the atmosphere was great. More on them later this week!

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Tyler painted our bedroom! I am SO happy to finally be rid of the nasty brown color that was in there from the previous owners. We went with Behr Marquee’s Distant Star and now the room looks bigger and brighter. I’m still working on getting the room decorated, so no good photos¬†yet. The newness of the room makes it feel like we’re sleeping in a hotel room…now to update the ensuite…

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Wes! I stayed overnight at Susie’s on Saturday and I missed my little man something fierce. I woke up at 5:30 and wanted to drive back home, but decided to wait until it was light out since it snowed a bit and I wanted better weather conditions. I couldn’t get in enough snuggles on Sunday.

 

How was your weekend? Any favorites to share? 

My Favorite Places To Eat In (and around!) Calgary

Happy Friday, everyone! Is it just me or do ‘short’ weeks seem infinitely longer? Ah well, I’m wearing stretchy pants at work and plan on scarfing homemade pizza for dinner so today can just do me a favor and whizz on by (well, at least up until 5pm!)

I decided I wanted to share some of my favorite places to eat¬†in and around Calgary. Many of you aren’t remotely near Calgary (i.e.: ‘Murica) but I’mma do it anyways ūüôā

Craft-¬†They have the most selection of beer on tap and their food is local. And good. Sitting at the bar is nice as most barstaff are friendly. However, the atmosphere (say, on a Friday night) mostly consists of middle-aged groups and socializing is near impossible. Socializing meaning: single people trying to pick up other single people. Me- I don’t have that problem (Insert: husband).

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National- (One location is directly next door to Craft–and has a downstairs bowling alley!- and the other is on 17th Ave.) They also have a nice selection of beer, with a pretty unique TV display of what’s currently available (think: airport arrival/departure screens). The food is also pretty good and the layout consists of several long, solid picnic-like tables. This makes for good socializing.

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Brewster’s– Their food is consistantly good. There is never a mishap with an order or with service. Since they brew their own beer on site, we have noticed that the taste can vary from visit to visit, but then we know it’s authentic! We love that they have a location super close to our house, too.

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Kinjo– really good sushi. The place is always buzzing and the servers are quick and cheery. It’s also a great bang-for-your-buck type place. I especially like that you can see the food being prepared. And the nice man always gives me chocolate before we leave.

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Grizzly Paw– FAVORITE place to go in Canmore. Their food is amazing, the patio is an EXCELLENT spot to view the nearby mountains/people/dog watch, and their beer is one of my favorites ever. I only wished I lived in Canmore (Cough, cough, JO I’M JEALOUS OF YOU) so I could frequent the place more often. PS: They took their fried pickles off their menu, but we asked a server and he said you can still order them. BEST FRIED PICKLES EVER. Especially with their beer.

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Wild Flour- A great little bakery/cafe in Banff. Their food is fresh and healthy and the vibe is pretty chill. It’s always crowded in there with all sorts of people. Bathrooms aren’t labeled ‘men’ and ‘women,’ but rather ‘Humans” (or was it Homo Sapiens? Either way, I always get a good chuckle). ¬†I’ve only ever ordered sandwiches and wraps, but I’m determined to get a brownie next time.

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Saltlik- NOTE: There are 2 Saltlik’s- one in Calgary and one in Banff. No offense Calgary location, but you ain’t got NOTHING on the Banff spot. The cocktail menu is pretty delicious (I’ve had everything on it) and their food is PHENOM. I always order the filet mignon with a side of asparagus (or broccoli) and scalloped potatoes. Best place to splurge ever.

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Calgary Farmer’s Market- ¬†I love me some local goodies. And this place isn’t your typical tent/parking lot market. It’s an actual building that runs year round, Thurs-Sun. They have all sorts of products: meats, produce, dairy, GF, exotic, baked goods, florists, etc. etc. etc. I think my favorite part- besides all the free samples- is the ‘food court’. They have so many vendors that offer a variety of yummy things that you can sit and enjoy. Unless you go on Sunday afternoon, you’ll most likely be entertained with shrieking children and frazzled parents.

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The Rock-¬† Good pizza. It’s a chain restaurant from the states, but they still make a mean pizza that doesn’t feel ‘chain-y.’ From our experience, the staff is so-so and we’ve recently resorted to taking home our order.

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Anejo- some amazeballs margaritas. Cool vibe. Great food. Down side: $14 for guacamole made with only two avocados. Another downside: margaritas are small. Upside: they play movies via projector up on the brick wall, and there’s a cool upstairs space. And lots of tequila. Definitely get the tacos. In all varieties.

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Una- PIZZA NOM NOM NOM. I have heard from several people that this place was amahhhhhhhzing and they were right. The food is fantastic and the service is great. The restaurant is tiny and narrow, so it can make for some awkward seating (we were put up at the counter by the prep stations, just in front of the bathrooms). Nothing a bottle of wine can’t fix! Another bonus: since they don’t take resos, they take your phone number and suggest hitting the bar next door (National!) to wait for a table. Not a bad way to spend your waiting time.

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I know I’m probably missing a few, but these are the front runners (in my opinion).

Pizza Pizza

I’ve decided that I can’t stand recaps. (probably temporary)

The whole idea of ‘first I did this, then I did this, then I saw this, then I ate this” is somewhat nauseating. I admit to falling into that habit now and again (moreso when I wasn’t working) and realize it’s actually probably more interesting to the writer that they ate pizza on a Saturday night than it is to readers…who probably did the same thing.

So here’s my recap of Saturday night….we went out for pizza. (see what I did there? Bash on something then do the EXACT thing that bothers me. Hypocracy at it’s finest. Feel free to judge, but only say nice things in the comments if you even bother to comment!)

After running mundane errands, I ran over to the gym to bust out this workout. (wanted to share that workout in case you’re looking for something new that will challenge you!)

On to dinner….for a LONG ASS TIME now, I’ve wanted to go to Una Pizza + Wine on 17th Ave. I follow them on twitter and they almost ALWAYS have a wait for tables—> they don’t take reservations. After our fabulous dinner out last week, we agreed that now was the time to finally indulge in what is rumored to be some of the best pizza in Calgary.

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We got there around 6:30 and was told a table for 2 would be ready in about 30 minutes. Since the place is practically a hole in a wall, they take your phone #, encourage you to get a drink at a nearby bar, and call you when your table is available. SWEET DEAL, YO. We walked across the street to National and enjoyed some fun, new-to-us brews before the call quickly came telling us to head back to Una.

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True to it’s name, the restaurant has a rather large wine selection, so we opted for an entire bottle (c’mon guys, you KNOW me) and it ended up being a great selection!¬†A really smooth wine that paired perfectly with our pizzas.

 

We both ordered The Beltline pizzas, except I added pineapple on mine- per the recommendation of a friend. You’d maybe expect the flavor to be a little outrageous, considering the combination of ingredients, but it was totally and completely perfect. We were spoiled because what we originally thought to be a less desireable table turned out to be the best spot to watch them prep and cook every order. (I even broke out my stopwatch to see how long it took to cook the pizzas. 7 minutes if you were wondering).

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The pineapple on my pizza was cut SUPER thin and the sweetness of that combined with just the hint of maple syrup that was drizzled over top really balanced out the saltiness of the bacon and sausage. There- is that descriptive enough for you? My mouth is watering and now I want another pizza.

We left Una with full bellies and conversation filled with how much we loved the entire dining experience. Now if only we can manage to move to an apt a block or so away, we’d be getting takeout from that place ALL THE TIME.

 

Also, they had the best bathroom sign ever.

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PS: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway here. Deadline for entry has been extended to Jan 7th.