Our brewers are regular, everyday Albertans who happen to be crazy passionate about making great beer. Even though brewers here have a lot of respect for tradition, they aren’t tied down by old-world legacies, which means they feel free to take beer in delicious new directions. They all have interesting origin stories and they all care deeply about their communities. But most of all, they’re brewing a huge variety of excellent ales, stouts, IPAs, lagers, and more. Whatever your taste is, there’s definitely an Alberta beer just for you.
Something for everyoneTHE BREWERS
You can see the entrepreneurial spirit that defines Alberta in our breweries. They’re using interesting ingredients, trying different ways of doing things—and sometimes they’re putting new spins on old methods, like wild fermentation. Because they know amazing things happen when you try something different.
Wild about fermentation
Some brewers have been experimenting with a very old-school method. Centuries ago, brewers (and winemakers) used microflora to kickstart fermentation. That's what happens when yeasts feed on sugars, turning them into alcohol. Fermentation has become more reliable and consistent, but recently several Alberta brewers, such as Big Rock and Blindman, have turned to wild strains to create more intense and varied flavours.
A unique strain of yeast
Tool Shed Brewing’s Prairie Pride was the province’s first real terroir beer—and made with all-Alberta ingredients. The barley was grown at Antler Valley and malted at Red Shed. The hops were grown by Northern Girls Hops and the wheat is from Rahr. But the big story is the yeast. Creating it was an exercise in persistence and experimentation. Tool Shed took the wild yeast they’d harvested and created a beer. Then they partnered up with Olds College to isolate the yeast and bacteria strains in the beer, and brewed a beer with each of the 13 organisms, and evaluated the results. Finally, they ended up with a unique wild strain that created a light, citrusy, and slightly earthy brew.
It’s easy to see the good-natured, supportive culture in action because it’s everywhere. More established brewers like Village collaborate with smaller craft breweries in the province through an initiative called Village Friend. The 2018 edition was a golden stout created with Zero Issue Brewing. And Troubled Monk, Bench Creek and Blindman Brewing all collaborated on Troubled Waters (a double IPA) to celebrate their first anniversaries.
Craft breweries around the world are collaborative by nature; what I want Albertans, and those visiting, to understand, is that our ecosystem of breweries and suppliers is more collaborative than any other jurisdiction in the world. This is something to be celebrated and marketed as a true strength.- Jim Button, co-founder of Village Brewery
Alberta brewers know everyone wins when we support and nurture our communities. Cities and towns see a spark in their economies. There’s a sense of pride that comes with supporting local and knowing you’re contributing to their success.
Nowhere is this more evident than the rural town of Edgerton, population 400. It wasn’t easy, but Ribstone Creek Brewery was built by locals and has turned into a thriving business. Jobs were created to help with the brewing and canning. Leftover grain goes back to local ranchers for feed. The brewery’s first customers were the town’s own retailers, bars and restaurants. Residents get a place to gather and enjoy excellent beer, and it’s brought outside attention to the town—an episode of CBC’s Still Standing was even dedicated to it.