In just three-and-a-half years, Common Crown Brewing Co. has gone from garage passion project to being named the best brewery in the nation.
The Canadian Brewery Awards recognized the northeast Calgary operation as 2020’s brewery of the year.
“Nothing short of dumbfounded,” founder and general manager Damon Moreau said when asked about his reaction to the news.
“For being such a young brewery, it’s something that we never thought we’d be in contention for. We’re still shell-shocked. It’s still unbelievable.”
Along with top honours, Common Crown was also awarded three gold medals for individual beers.
The team’s Ploughman Wheat Ale won gold in the category of North American-style Wheat, Andy’s Wee Heavy Scottish Ale won gold in the Scotch Ale category, and Coppersmith Brown Ale won the Brown Ale category.
Moreau was a passion brewer at home before deciding to team up with his brother to create Common Crown in 2016.
Like so many businesses, Moreau said the brewery faced immense challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to pivot really quickly. With the shutdown of bars and restaurants, obviously, our on-premise sales plummeted,” Moreau said.
“But honestly, with the team that we have here, we were so quick to be able to pivot into home delivery and basically keep our lights on with that. It was fantastic.”
The Canadian Brewing Awards is an annual, national competition for judging Canadian-made beer and takes submissions from breweries of all sizes and from all corners of the country.
The top three beers in 55 style categories are determined based on blind tastings from certified judges.
Common Crown wasn’t the only Calgary brewery that took home gold hardware:
- The OT Brewing Company won gold in Barley Wine-style Ale.
- The Establishment Brewing Company won gold in American-style Sour Ale.
- Cabin Brewing Company won gold in the German-Style Sour Ale/Berliner-Style Weisse or Gose.
- Big Rock Brewery won gold in the German-style Kolsch category.
All told, Alberta breweries were awarded 38 gold, silver or bronze medals for individual beers.
The full list of winners can be seen here.
Moreau said he was most proud of being able to showcase the talent of Alberta brewers.
“Just to bring attention to the Alberta brewing industry was a huge thing for us. There’s so much great beer being produced out of Alberta right now so to have it recognized is fantastic,” he said.
“Just very proud to be part of that community.”