Move over global beer brands, craft and micro brewing is taking over Calgary’s beer scene faster than you can snap a bottle cap.
As the number of breweries has tripled within the past three years, it looks like Calgary is taking advantage of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission’s 2013 decision to remove minimum production requirements.
Many of the breweries are located close to each other, in neighbourhoods like Inglewood and the 17th Avenue-Beltline area.
Lucas Dirado, a liquor store employee and beer enthusiast, is ecstatic about being able to try countless unique beers in the city.
“I remember sticking to big names like Pabst or Molson when I was 18. Then I got hired at Liquor Depot and got the opportunity to try craft beers weekly,” said Dirado.
Dirado, 22, says that this is just the start for the craft beer scene in Calgary.
“I’ve seen tons of local breweries open up within a short period of time that are still doing amazing for a couple years now. I’m doing beer tours or going out of my way just to try something new. Places like Mill Street Brewery or Trolley 5 are so close to my house I can just drop by,” said Dirado.
Some people are more than enthusiasts.
Kris Fiorentino, Blake Belding and Dan Allard are the creators of Cold Garden Beverage Company, a popular destination for beer lovers that took almost two years to open.
Cold Garden is in Inglewood, off the beaten path of the shops on 9th Avenue S.E., inside an industrial type building with a laid-back décor style featuring a disco pineapple hanging from the ceiling.
The lineup includes Cakeface, an intensely vanilla flavoured marzen style beer, This Must Be The IPA, a light fruity beer, and the coffee flavoured Vanilla Cappucino Porter.
In her blog, growing the garden, Fiorentino describes the brewing industry as a friendly and welcoming group.
“I’ve worked in a lot of different industries, but I have never seen anything like the craft brewing community,” said Fiorentino.
For two competitors to sit down together and share their stories, plans and experiences, let’s just say I’m pretty excited to work in an industry like this.”
With the popularity of craft brewing rising, a local favourite, Dandy Brewing Company, is already expanding to a second location this coming year.
Located in Mayland Heights, Dandy remains proud of being the first Nano brewery in Calgary.
Nano brewing is when the company only produces three barrels in one batch, which is smaller than a microbrewery’s production.
Matt Wickens, Dandy’s beer sommelier, is always ready to pour a fresh one with locals.
“We have a lot of locals from the neighbourhood, beer enthusiasts, other brewers and even out-of-towners from the airport, since we’re so close by,” said Wickens.
Dandy was created and opened by Ben Leon, Dylan Nosal, Matt Gaetz and Derek Waghray.
The group wanted to have an outside-the-box and non-traditional brewery to create diversity in the industry.
With beers like an Oyster Stout, Wild Sour and Jester Pale Ale, Calgarians can get a refreshing new taste without paying a fortune.
The prices are not the cheapest compared to the $5 pints at Cold Garden, but $6.50 for a pint that is produced locally, by hand.
Wickens’ current favourite is the “Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce” batch. He is looking forward to the brewing industry and it’s growth in the future.
“The best part about working here is free beer and having great bosses, but also the accepting brewing community we have in the city,” said Wickens.