New, but Tried and True

Field Report No. 20150603RC

Topic: Nitro coffee and better board games

Conditions: Smooth and smart


COMMENTS: I make my way up the stairs to the mezzanine level of the Liberty Building, after gazing up to the skylights in the building's hollow center. Being surrounded by books makes me a little more gazey than normal, perhaps. After a friendly greeting from Joe Johnson, he pulls me a cold pint from his keg.

Yep, Beautiful Grounds is introducing Spokane to the effervescent nitro coffee trend, and a few sips in, I recognize something more than a fad. The culture of anything moves forward when creative people combine already-good things to thoughtfully develop a new and uncommon thing. In this case, it's the taste of cold brew coffee with the mouthfeel of a porter or stout microbrew. It's like our favorite northwest beverages went and had a baby. A really beautiful one.

Downstairs at Uncle's, Kyle Kemble walks me through some innovations within the board game world. I start to see a parallel theme developing. 

"Integrating tablets and smartphones into a classic tabletop game experience with friends is taking some of the more fussy elements out of the process," he says, "Things like instructions, timers, piles of cards, keeping score with a pencil, even dice rolls: all of this is being streamlined in several popular board games, like X-Com. People have less time than ever, but still want to gather with friends and get the social benefit of a board game." 

I'm a bit skeptical… uh, the point of playing board games is to get screens out of our faces. But hold on; Kyle explains how leveraging technology can remove some barriers that might prevent people from playing together, and in this case doesn't really surrender the social connectedness. This kind of board game sort of reverses our devices' nasty tendency to isolate us from one another. Sounds worth trying.

KEY FEATURES: Natural light encourages lingering in a century-old brick building, bustling with all kinds of businesses and preparing for a big party. 

RECOMMENDATIONS: Go to that big party the evening of June 5th 5-8pm. It's a First Friday celebration, and you'll get to try the nitro coffee and food tastes from Santé for free while enjoying local art, performance poetry, music, and even some live art.