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

Paddy's 3

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.

Paddy's 5

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

Paddy's 4

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

Paddy's 2

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
403-651-7150

Cold Garden Calgary’s Coolest Craft Brewery

Ol Beautiful 22

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.

Cold Garden 3

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.

Ol Beautiful 20

Vegetated walls are just part of the funky design

Cold Garden 2

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)

Cold Garden 7

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
403-764-2653

Last Best Brewing: One of my Favourite Beers of 2019

Last Best 2

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

Last Best 1

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

Last Best 3

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

Inner City Brewing 5

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.

Inner City Brewing 3

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

Inner City Brewing 1

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

Inner City Brewing 4

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
587-880-8600

Beer and Food a Perfect Pairing at Citizen Brewing

Citizen Brewing 6

Fried chicken and beer at Citizen Brewing

Citizen Brewing is noted for its excellent pub food, crafted by chef Brad Stefaniuk. Think chuck burgers, chicken sandwiches and pulled pork banh mi.

But an even bigger deal the day I was there was a bus full of thirsty German tourists. Now that’s a discerning audience.

Citizen Brewing 8

The Germans are coming!

Location On an industrial side street, not far from Fox Hollow Golf Course

Ambience Long tables, outdoor hop garden and patio

Citizen Brewing 7

The brewery is right beside the taproom

Food Acclaimed burgers and fried chicken

Favourite beer The Hijacked IPA (7%, 80 IBU) has a better story—stolen food truck—but I like the balanced Batch 2 North West Pale Ale (5.5%, 55 IBU)

Citizen Brewing 3

A flight of beers

Beer availability Widely available in pubs and in liquor store cans

Citizen Brewing 1

A good selection of beers on tap

Citizen Brewing Company
227 35 Avenue NE, Calgary
Sunday to Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday-Saturday 11 am-midnight
403-474-4677

Eighty-Eight Brewing Produces Olympian Beers

Calgary 88 1

Eighty-Eight Brewing is neon cool on two floors

Eighty-Eight Brewing Company is named in honour of Calgary’s Winter Olympics (yes, in 1988). It boast an impressive list of about 15 core and seasonal beers.

The clincher is Noble Pie, which makes 18-inch pizzas—featuring aged and fresh cheeses—hand crafted by Mike Lange and fired in a little upstairs oven. They’re only available Thursday to Sunday or until the dough runs out, a great incentive for showing up early.

Calgary 88 5

Beer and hand-crafted pizza: Can’t beat that

Location In a little industrial strip mall off Blackfoot Trail near Crossroads Market

Ambience Neon cool, on two levels

Food Hand-crafted, in-house pizzas from Noble Pie

Calgary 88 2

The roster of pizzas

Favourite beer Double Dare Imperial IPA (7.7%, 88 IBU; 500-ml bottles only). Knocks you down and attacks your tastebuds. Three words: “Big, Dank, Pine.” Enough said.

Beer 2

The Double Dare IPA might leave you seeing double

Beer availability Widely available in 500-ml bottles in liquor stores, restaurants and bars

Eighty-Eight Brewing Company
1070, 2600 Portland Street SE, Calgary
Tuesday-Wednesday 4 pm-9 pm, Thursday 4 pm-10 pm, Friday-Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday noon-7 pm. Closed Monday
403-452-5880