By Jamey Lo
Next weekend, some friends and I will have the pleasure of touring Village Brewery, located in the heart of Calgary’s southeast. So I thought, why not give some perspective on some of my favourite breweries that I have been introduced to so far during my short time in Calgary.
Prior to moving here, I had no idea what a craft brewery was or even had a taste of the incredible quality and flavors being produced from these small, traditional, independently-owned commercial breweries. I had never ventured outside of my tiny bubble of large, corporate brewing monsters! I mean, are you really going to play beer pong, flip cup, or chug a beer bong with Deschutes Inversion IPA? Not when you can purchase a 24-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon for nearly a dollar per can!
However, if you can ditch the ‘starving student’ persona for a weekend and learn to enjoy the flavour of a beer, you may just discover an entirely new world! Believe me, it sure beats having your head buried in a toilet all night, blacking out, then waking up only to find all the blood vessels have burst all over your face like a freckled, ginger-Asian kid. It’s a looooooooooong story! We’ll save it for another time…
Anyways, here are my top 3 favourite breweries so far…
Granville Island Brewing co.
Founded in 1984 in Vancouver, B.C., Granville Island Brewing Company was Canada’s first microbrewery! Driven by a firm belief that the West was ready for premium, natural, unpasteurized beer, Granville Island Brewing opened up the hearts and minds of Canadians to a whole new beer beer-drinking experience!
In 2009, Creemore Springs, a subsidiary of Molson Coors, purchased Granville Island Brewing. However, their focus on producing new, unique craft beers has remain unchanged as has their commitment to community investment and charitable support!
Founded in 1988 in Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is the 5th largest craft brewery and 12th largest overall brewery in the United States. Initially established as a small brew pub, Deschutes is known for its commitment to local and national charities as well as its participation in fundraisers for a wide variety of causes including environmental sustainability and the protection of children.
Personal favourites of mine include the Black Butte Porter, Inversion IPA, and Red Chair NWPA. I actually had my first experience with Deschutes and its Black Butte Porter while having dinner at the Calgary Tower in March. It was so flavourful that the Black Butte Porter has become one of my absolute favourite beers!
This last one is a bit of an unknown. Last Best is a brand new brewing pub straight out of Calgary. It was established in 2014 and is the 4th location in the Bearhill Brewing Family of Breweries including the Jasper Brewing Co., Banff Ave. Brewing Co., and Wood Buffalo Brewing Co.
My coworkers and I actually stumbled upon Last Best when it was featured on Beer Revolution‘s Four for 4 at 4 promotion a couple of weeks ago! And I instantly fell in love!
The company prides itself on being a community liaison for beer and beer culture! And they don’t take this role very lightly. The beers they make are a direct reflection of the values and personalities of you – the customer and the community.
Despite its limited selection, my personal favourites include the Last Best IPA, Show Pony Pale Ale, and the Dirty Bird Black Lager. They may be new but they are just getting started. The company’s tagline is, “the new last best frontier for beer!”
And oh what a frontier it’ll be!
P.S. In case you were wondering what a freckled, ginger-Asian kid looks like…
(Note the Copper and Blue; Flames suck!)