BEER/WINE New Brews & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & "Y & lt;/span & ou've got to keep inventing, re-inventing, yourself," says BREWS BROTHERS owner-manager Shae Obando. Starting in June, the espresso lounge at the corner of Post and Sprague added beer and wine to their menu.
Barista Dani Montgomery likes the idea. "We sell all sorts of different 'brews' now, like the name 'Brews Brothers,'" she says. "I think it's clever."
Located near both Hotel Lusso and the Davenport Hotel, Brews Brothers is aiming for the people from out of town who are in the neighborhood. And although the current wine list is primarily California labels, Obando is in the process of interviewing local wineries. "It's important that we partner with locals," she says, "because they're different, unique ... and [we want to] get their names out there."
Obando sees Brews Brothers complementing rather than competing with other downtown businesses. "We're surrounded by great restaurants," she says. The shop offers options for those times when friends finish dinner and perhaps some want to spend more time talking over wine, some over coffee. "We have both," she says, adding, "It's nice to have a glass of wine and visit without going to a bar."
In a nod to being "surrounded by the financial district," a big-screen TV, installed the first week of September, is tuned to Market Watch or a news channel with a ticker at the bottom of the screen. The sound is always turned off, says Obando, so that "it doesn't interfere with the coffeehouse vibe." Local bands play on Friday nights, and there's a live DJ on Saturday nights.
Still, it's a long way from a coffeehouse to a public house, and while Obando obviously has more planned than just pushing beer and wine to existing coffee customers, not everyone is excited, or happy, with the changes.
Asked about the decision to sell beer and wine in addition to coffee drinks, regular customer and Sunday-school teacher Dominique D. says emphatically, "I don't like it." She worries that "it invites a different caliber of people," she says. "This was my little corner coffee spot and now it's changed."
No one said reinventing yourself was going to be easy.
-- M.C. PAUL
Brews Brothers, 734 W. Sprague, is open Mon-Thu 6:30 am-7 pm, Fri-Sat 6:30 am-11 pm, and Sun 7 am-2 pm. Call 456-5858.
WINE Hedgehog Vintage
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & U & lt;/span & nderstanding the chemistry behind unusual pairings is the secret to good wine. Add art and farming and you have the unusual interests of TIMBERROCK winery founder Kevin Rogers, whose "real" job is as a veterinarian. Kevin -- along with his wife Michelle, their sons, and even the family's dogs -- operate TimberRock from their 30-acre facility in Post Falls.
"Passion" is the word Michelle Rogers uses to describe how Kevin feels about winemaking, which blossomed from a hobby seven years ago into a 1,000-cases-per-year business. Earlier this year, they paired up with Studio 107, a boutique arts gallery in Coeur d'Alene, where they offer a chic little tasting area.
As one of less than three dozen Idaho wineries -- only five of which are in the northern part of the state -- TimberRock continues to produce award-winning wines. Since 2003, they've garnered medals at the Idaho Wine Festival and been rated "outstanding" by Wine Press Northwest, a magazine dedicated to the wines of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
If you're racking your brain for the label, visualize hedgehogs, designed by Montana-based artist Alan McNeil (whose cavorting critters first appeared on the winning Art on the Green poster back in 1997).
TimberRock has expanded with a merlot, an "old vine" chardonnay with a honeysuckle-peach nose, and a chenin blanc ice wine ($37) more typically found in areas like the Okanogan. Continuing to develop their offerings, they've also created a custom blend for the White House Grill, a popular Mediterranean restaurant known for garlic and great food.
At the tasting room, flights are reasonably priced at $5 for seven ounce-and-a-half pours (the tasting fee is waived with purchase). Try Trio, a whole-berry red blend from Columbia Valley's Phinny Hill aged in French and American oak ($18), or the Yakima Valley slightly sweet Riesling ($14), or the 2005 Cab from Phinny Hill ($25), which TimberRock describes as "robust, opulent and hedonistic."
The place has a good vibe, with live music during events like the Lake City's second-Friday Artwalks, and there's plenty to look at while enjoying a glass with friends. You might even say it has good chemistry.
-- CARRIE SCOZZARO
TimberRock Winery's tasting room, at 107 N. Fourth St., Coeur d'Alene, is open Sun-Wed noon to 5 pm and Thu-Sat noon-8 pm. Visit www.timberrockwine.com or call (208) 777-9669.