One thing is clear Calgary: you sure do love beer!
For this week’s #YYC5, Global News asked viewers and social media followers where they go for their favourite pint in the city.
The responses poured in — but that’s hardly surprising when you take into account that in the last five years, the amount of brewing companies in the city have more than doubled.
Beer lovers can now seek out any one of 30 breweries in Calgary but #YYC5 had to narrow the list down to just five.
Cold Garden Beverage Company
It’s not just during the summer when you can reach for a cold one. Cold Garden Beverage Company has beer enthusiasts reaching for its traditional and more eccentric brews throughout the year.
Its casual and eclectic vibe can be found in Inglewood: the city’s original brewing district.
Tool Shed Brewing Company
Bros and brewskis go together like Tool Shed Brewing Company owners Jeff Orr and Graham Sherman. The buddies turned their home-brewing obsession into a thriving business. These summer patio warriors offer a variety of handcrafted beers including an award-winning stout as well as outstanding amber and Belgian ales.
Banded Peak Brewing
Banded Peak Brewing is an Alberta Beer Awards winner with its light, hoppy Plainsbreaker pale ale. The brewer also gets props for its seasonal and aptly-named brews Wintervention and Shoulder Season which are crafted specifically for those colder winter nights.
Wildrose Brewery might just be the big brother of the bunch based on how long it’s been around compared to the aforementioned young bucks.
Established in 1996, Wildrose credits the committed beer connoisseurs of Alberta for its growth and longevity. In return for the community support it received, Wildrose now gives back in a big way, donating a portion of its beer sales to a different charity each month.
From older company to new, the year-old Railyard Brewing brought in a keg load of votes. Like a lot of other breweries, the idea for Railyard was formed while friends Brandon Fortes and Gavin Reynolds shared a couple of beers.
“We were brewing beer at home,” recalled Fortes. “We were neighbours across the street from each other, brewing beers, talking about beer, really getting engaged in the Alberta craft beer scene.”
Reynolds admitted he knew little about the brewing process but added that he was as passionate as Fortes about beer.
“One day, Brandon was out on his driveway brewing a batch and I just basically went up to him and asked him, “Hey man, we should do this. We should build a brewery,” Reynolds said.
That’s exactly what they did. It took them more than three years, but eventually, Railyard Brewing opened its doors late last November.
“It’s kind of a dream,” Reynolds said. “It’s been surreal.”
When the pair was driving around scouting out brewery locations, they crossed many train tracks in the process — but it was when they were stopped at a set of tracks that the idea came to Fortes.
“As we’re sitting there one day waiting for one of the freight trains to go by — it [was like] why not Railyard? That’s really what ties Alberta together, ties our economy, ties our culture. From there we were inspired,” he said.
That inspiration can be seen throughout the 13,000-square-foot brewery located near the airport.
“We’re still working on it constantly,” Reynolds said. “We’re still incorporating the Railyard atmosphere in here. We’ve got graffiti artists coming in here on our off days.”
For the amount of attention they pay to decor, the Railyard crew pays even more to each of its carefully crafted brews which include a lager, a pale ale, an IPA and their signature Nitro Stout.
“We took that nice, creamy, sweet stout… and from there we add the liquid nitrogen, which ensures that whether you get it on draft or you take a can home and you pour it out… you’ll actually get that beautiful cascade every time,” Fortes explained, adding that the process helps double down on “that creamy factor.”