Category Archives: Calgary

Taking the High Line to Craft Beer

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High Line Brewing is a cozy mainstay in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood

At three years old, High Line Brewing is a veritable veteran on Calgary’s craft beer scene. The space is small, with the focus squarely on small-batch beers, brewed behind a glass door, and twists like hopped sours and barrel-aged saisons.

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The muffin tin holder for a flight of beers is a nice design touch

Location Just off busy 9th Avenue in Inglewood’s burgeoning beer district

Ambience The small, intimate space is belied by a high ceiling and a glass garage door that opens onto a little patio

Food Bring your own or order free delivery from nearby Without Papers Pizza

Signature beer Among a plethora of IPAs, the New-England style Talking Hops (7.4%) is a hazy, grapefruity standout

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High Line Brewing
113, 1318 9 Avenue SE, Calgary
Monday to Thursday 4 pm-10 pm, Friday-Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday noon-6 pm

Outcast in Name Only

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Outcast Brewing is an exciting new entry in Calgary’s craft beer world

In our capitalist world, competition is generally assumed to be a dog-eat-dog affair. You’d think things would be particularly cutthroat in Calgary’s craft beer scene, considering there are more than 50 such breweries vying to get their products in restaurants and bars, on liquor store shelves and down fickle customers’ gullets.

Instead, things are downright socialist, with many breweries collaborating on experimental brews, producing beers in competitors’ tanks and generally being supportive of each other.

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The cloudy Best-ish 2.0 is arguably my favourite IPA of the year

This is especially true of Outcast Brewing, which opened recently in southeast Calgary’s so-called Brewery Belt, home to a dozen small beer makers. Prior to having their own brewery and taproom, owners Patrick and Krysten were contract brewing (i.e. making their beer at other breweries) at places such as Cold Garden. And they’re keen to keep the cooperation going.

“We’re in it together. Everybody promotes everybody. We’re all friends. I’d like to see more collaboration,” says Patrick in this insightful, hour-long podcast.

Of course, all this experimentation and collaboration has led to some interesting, high-quality brews. Outcast’s current lineup includes a wheat beer with a “boatload” of raspberry and blueberry, a breakfast stout, a cider and a pumpkin nitro.

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The current list of Outcast’s diverse offerings

Location In a warehouse area at the south end of southeast Calgary’s brewery-dense “Barley Belt” district

Ambience De rigueur open ductwork with beige walls and comfy cushions

Food Unusual packaged snacks

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Not your typical craft-beer snacks

 Signature beer Best-ish 2.0 An outstanding, hazy IPA: “The most hops we’ve ever put in a beer. Hopped with azacca, citra, simcoe and Idaho 7, this is a flavour explosion.”

Availability Some cans, mostly growlers

Bumper sticker “Arguably the best brewery on Manitou Road SE”

Outcast Brewing
607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary
Sunday to Wednesday 4 pm-9 pm, Thursday, noon to 9 pm, Friday-Saturday noon-10 pm

Meat and Beer Meet at Calgary’s Brew-be-cue

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Craft beer and southern barbecue meet at Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery

As the name Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery suggests, the food shares equal billing with small-batch beers, the latter often in collaboration with other brewers. Brisket, turkey, sausage, chicken and pork ribs are slow roasted daily and offered by the pound (or in a sandwich), accompanied by sides like baked beans and potato salad.

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Location Just east of Macleod Trail and south of Burnsland Cemetery. Small outdoor “paddio”

Ambience Warehouse chic: metal, cement and open ductwork

Food All the fall-off-the-bone, house-roasted southern barbecue you can imagine

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The barbecue earns equal billing with the beer

Signature beer Award-winning (2019 Alberta Bear Awards) Black Lager Schwarzbier (5.3%, 29 IBU), with hints of chocolate and coffee

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A diverse roster of beers

Factoid Named after Paddy Sorrenti, whose family runs Sorrenti’s Catering

Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery
3610 Burnsland Road SE, Calgary
Wednesday to Friday opens at 11 am, weekends opens at 11 am. Closed Monday and Tuesday

Cold Garden Calgary’s Coolest Craft Brewery

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Dogs are more than welcome at Calgary’s Cold Garden Beverage Company

Arguing that Cold Garden Beverage Company isn’t the coolest craft brewery in Calgary could well draw howls of protest.

That’s partly because the Inglewood brewery welcomes dogs inside its taproom. And on a busy Saturday afternoon, the canine cacophony adds to the general din of folks chatting over some seriously good pints.

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About a dozen beers on tap, at affordable prices

Mostly though, Cold Garden is just undeniably funky with vegetated walls, comfy couches, graffiti-covered bathrooms. Really, there’s nothing like it in Calgary’s busy craft brewing scene.

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Vegetated walls are just part of the funky design

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As are the graffiti-covered bathrooms

Location In the heart of Inglewood’s craft brewing district and just a few steps away from Ol Beautiful Brewing.

Ambience An undeniably funky hangout

Food A few snacks, but it’s all about the beer

Availability On tap at a number of Calgary pubs and restaurants or by growler in the taproom or at a handful of liquor outlets

Favourite beer This Must Be The IPA (6% alcohol, 69 IBU), Favourite name: Red Smashed in Buffalo Jump (Irish red ale 5.1%, 26 IBU)

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A flight of excellent brews

Cold Garden Beverage Company
1100 11 Street SE, Calgary, AB
Tuesday to Thursday 11 am-midnight, Friday-Saturday 11 am-1 am, Sunday 11 am-midnight. Closed Monday

Last Best Brewing: One of my Favourite Beers of 2019

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Last Best Brewing’s IPA #3: Tokyo Drift is a 2019 favourite

Usually, a craft brewery’s signature beer is a core offering. And Last Best Brewing & Distillery does make one of Calgary’s better every-day IPAs—one of its two beers you’ll find in six-pack cans at local liquor stores.

But you’ll have to visit its taproom (or frequent a beer hall like National) to sample one of my favourite beers of 2019, Last Best’s IPA #3: Tokyo Drift, weighing in at a flavourful, potent 7.2% alcohol content. My server explains it’s a bit finicky to make and reliably put in cans. But I’m happy to make the journey for a poured pint. Just hope it stays on tap for a good while.

Location On the edge of downtown in the Beltline district

Ambience Large, somewhat sterile space and patio, though I was there during a mid-day lull

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A large, pub-like taproom

Food A full menu, ranging from root vegetable fries ($5 during happy hour) to oven-fired pizzas and Korean fried chicken sandwiches

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A full food menu including these root-vegetable fries

Favourite beer IPA #3: Tokyo Drift

Factoid Last Best’s owners have three other, older craft breweries: Jasper Brewing Company (opened 2005), Banff Avenue Brewing (2010) and Wood Buffalo Brewing (2013)

Last Best Brewing
607 11 Avenue SW, Calgary
Opens daily at 11:30 am, except Sunday (10 am)

Small-Batch Stars at Inner City Brewing

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A flight at Calgary’s Inner City Brewing

The backbone of pretty much every craft brewery is its core beers, ones always available in the taproom and liquor stores. But for Inner City Brewing, it’s the more experimental brews that may grab your attention.

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This is where the small-batch magic happens

So while you can easily pick up standards like the Bridgelandia Blonde Ale and the 800 Block New England IPA in local liquor outlets, you’ll have to saunter down to Inner City’s taproom to sample small-batch offerings like sorghum beer and coconut Hefeweizen.

Location As the name suggests, Inner City is in Calgary’s near-downtown Beltline district, a few doors down from stalwart Brewsters.

Ambience Warehouse chic, with high ceilings, open ductwork, dark interior, exposed brick and a wall of stainless steel brewing tanks

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Warehouse chic design

Food Other than a handul of locally made snacks, your best dining bets may be deliveries from nearby restaurants or bringing your own food

Signature beer Bridgelandia, a modern, hazy blonde ale (5%), featuring juicy hops and tropical fruits. Among the small-batch beers, a standout is The Corner of Here & There, an English red ale

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Half a dozen small-batch brews on tap

Inner City Brewing
816 11 Avenue SW, Calgary
Sunday 1 pm-9 pm, Monday to Wednesday 11 am-10 pm, Thursday to Saturday 11 am-midnight