Posts Tagged ‘alberta

Big Rock and Wild Rose hop to it with pair of September packs

- September 5th, 2014

Things are getting decidedly hoppy at two of Alberta’s big breweries this September.

Both Big Rock and Wild Rose are putting a bit of kick onto liquor store shelves with flavourful new variety packs.

In Wild Rose’s case, they’re offering an IPA trio that fans may be familar with, while Big Rock is offering a pair of twists on an old favourite.

In the case of the Wild Rose, they’re giving fans The Bitter Truth, in the IPA Family Pack, which features the brewery’s signature IPA, the White Shadow White IPA and the seasonal 42, a lighter Session IPA.

All three are tasty brews, and nice expressions of the style.

Plus, there’s this.

Big Rock, meanwhile, is unleashing hopped up versions of it’s old standby, Traditional Ale.

Dubbed Rad Trad, the six pack features three bottles each of The Cascadian and the Anarchist.

Both clock in at 6.1% abv (compared to the flagship Trad’s 5%), and feature two very different styles of hops.

As its name would suggest, The Cascadian features Pacific North-West hops varieties Cascade, Chinook and Citra, adding citrus characteristics to the mild malt flavours.

The Anarchist, on the other hand, is like the punk rock cousin in the family.

It spices things up with a quartet of British hops: Challenger, Progess, Fuggle and Goldings.

Watch for both of these in your local liquor stores this month.

Molson Coors Canada brings back banquet beer

- August 21st, 2013

Coors Banquet Beer: Available in Alberta again.

You may have noticed a familiar yellow can in the beer cooler at your local liquor store lately.

One of my colleagues in the office said when he saw it, it took him back to his younger days, when a trip to the U.S. meant drinking beer much better than the poor excuse for American suds you could buy in Alberta at the time.

Coors iconic Banquet Beer is available again in Alberta, for a limited time.

Our beer columnist Jordan St. John gives some background on the beer’s rich history here. Needless to say, as it dates back to 1873, it been around awhile.

Responding to popular demand among Canadian beer drinkers, and big sales at Big Valley Jamboree and during Stampede week in Calgary, the yellow cans are now available again at retail outlets, bars and restaurants in Alberta.

The July promo sales also helped out flood relief in Alberta, raising $16,000 for the Red Cross, helping bump Molson Coors’ efforts to $75,000.

I had a chance to sample the Baquet Beer for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s light and easy drinking, a nice summer brew, and one I’d pick over the Molson flagship.

Look for it at your local liquor store.

Small Alberta brewery catching up on success

- July 4th, 2013

Picture 2Sometimes a dilemma can be a good thing.

That’s exactly the case for a small east-central Alberta brewery based in the tiny village of Edgerton — about 240 km southeast of Edmonton and 37 km southeast of Wainwright.

After establishing the Ribstone Creek Brewery in 2009, president Don Paré said the team and the staff have upped its production of its tasty lager this summer to keep up with the sudden demand.

A handful of liquor stores — including Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton, say staff there — have had a hard time keeping the brew, the Ribstone Creek Lager, on its shelves.

“It’s so surreal,” said Paré about the brewery’s sudden success.

Paré — a third-generation farmer close to nearby Chauvin — and three of his friends (also longtime farmers) in the area had an idea to do something about a big building in Edgerton that was used “to store junk in it.”

“That’s when one of them thought, lets turn it into a brewery,” said Paré who is among five founders of the three-year-old brewery that includes David Beardsell, a beer-master who studied brewing in Germany.

Beardsell — who started the successful B.C.-based Bear Brewing Company in 1994 — was called by the farmers to lend a hand with the brewery named after a scenic nearby creek that flows into the Battle River.

sQjAzFZ8vs3yMpb4hJY5CgaYVK_lbtXjZYGATpoDKgk“We’ve all seen in our small towns that they (shrink) and disappear,” said Paré.

“The idea behind this was to do something to bring in some business and get a few people employed. The brewery seems to fit this bill.”

And now the brewery hasn’t had time to enjoy its success in 2013 as the team are trying figure out “how (it) is going to get more beer out there,” said Paré.

The company just purchased two new fermenters, however, that will see its production double within the next six weeks.

“We want to maintain the quality of our product — we don’t want to rush it, we don’t want to give people something they don’t like, said Paré.

The German-style lager is simple, refreshing and tasty and all of it is brewed with Alberta-based ingredients.

The company is also working an an IPA, dubbed Buckin’ Bronco IPA.

For those thirsty beer drinkers in Edmonton looking to do a roadtrip in Edgerton to try the beer, Paré says the brewery — located at 4924 51 St. — is open every Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

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Camrose, Alta.: Home of The Norsemen Brewing Co.

- June 24th, 2013


Here’s a delicious secret.

Not a lot of people in Camrose know they have a brewery based in their small city 94 km southeast of Edmonton.

I found that out last weekend from my mother-in-law who lives there and she says her closest friends never heard about a craft-brewery that’s actually located in the Rose City.

But for the last three years, The Norsmen Brewing Co. have been brewing batches of delicious beer from what appears to be an old nightclub based in the Norsemen Inn— making it one of the newest craft breweries in Alberta.

To get there, you have to go around the back of the inn — located at 6505 48 Ave. — and go into the Tap Room Bar and Brew Pub.

When you walk in, you’ll notice a dance floor in the middle of the pub and a handful of VLTs in the far corner — something that immediately gave me the urge to walk out the door as soon as I walked in.

But after sitting down and looking through large windows at the large vats used to brew the beer I couldn’t leave.

The Norseman Brewing Co. currently makes two distinct lagers: the Longship Lager and Eric the Red.

The company’s Longship Lager is a deliciously crisp, and refreshing lager that I found really goes well with a meal that includes fish — like the tasty stuffed trout in the Tap Room’s menu — or perhaps grilled chicken.

Eric the Red is a tasty, lightly-red lager that offers up a hint caramel and the best way to enjoy it is on its own.

The company also makes seasonal brews that include an oatmeal stout during the winter months.

All of the barely used to brew the beer is grown here in Alberta and each beer, according to the company’s website, is brewed in small batches “ensuring your beer is the freshest possible.”

“Because we choose not to filter our beer and have it retain its vitamin, minerals and nutrients we must go through a lengthy and labourious process of gently moving the beer off the settling yeast over a period of time so when it is received in your glass it is pristine clear,” said the company in its website.

It’s too bad, however, the Norsemen Inn chooses not to celebrate this microbrew by offering it in a somewhat dumpy bar.

There is nothing worse than seeing sad-looking types dump wads of cash for hours into VLTs.

Those gambling machines — along with the large dance floor — should not belong in the inn where great craft beer is made.

Be sure you taste these top-five summer brews

- June 18th, 2013

I have you covered this summer.

With Friday being the first official day of summer, I have made my top-five easy picks for those thirsty beer drinkers who are looking to try some great brews that are perfect for the season.

ThePicture 3se bottles of suds are the perfect way to enjoy a hot summer’s day on a patio or responsibly around a fire in a campground somewhere in Alberta. You can find all of these brews in a specialty beer store near you.

And if you think you know a better summertime beer out there, please leave a comment below or send me an email at

5th — WRaspberry Ale from Wild Rose Brewery in Calgary

WRasberry Ale has always been a favourite of mine.

Sure, fruit and beer don’t always mix, but this awesome Calgary-based raspberry brew is tasty.

The ale has a nice light-pink colour and it does offer a tart-like taste.

It’s a great ale to enjoy when temperatures outside are scorching.

And the best food pairings to go with WRaspberry Ale include a green salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, fruit salad, or fresh mozzarella cheese.Picture 4

4th — Wild Honey Organic Ale from the Nelson Brewing Company in Nelson, B.C.

This smooth tasting ale is a hidden gem in B.C’s West Kootenay region.

This is a nice, light tasting brew that includes organic malted barely and organic honey from Three Hills, Alta.-based Golden Acres Honey.

And what a combination — it’s delicious.

This NBC brew leaves a hint of honey in your palate and offers up a fruity smell.

It goes well with apple slices, a light salad, or swiss cheese.

3rd — Pale Ale from Idaho-based Laughing Dog Brewing

I remember this day well.

Picture 5After driving non-stop from Seattle last September, my wife and I stayed overnight in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

I drove for five hours and I needed a break.

We sat down in a restaurant next to our hotel and I ordered a local beer after hearing the waiter explain to me — in great detail — why I should try this local brew.

I obviously caved to pressure because I was extremely tired, but I’m glad he introduced me to this ale.

The Laughing Dog Brewing company has brewed beer in Sandpoint, Idaho since 2005 and its Pale Ale is super tasty.

It offers a floral, citrusy taste and its balanced bitterness makes it the perfect brew to go with a meal that includes grilled fish.

2nd — Charlie Flint’s organic lager from Edmonton-based Alley Kat Brewing Company

Odds are if I am entertaining you in my house, bottles of this tasty lager from Alley Kat will be stocked in my fridge.

And there’s a reason for that. Picture 6

It a smooth-drinking brew that offers up the right level of bitterness from the hops.

It’s a great European-style lager to enjoy in a backyard patio during a hot day and it goes well with a meal that includes a planked salmon or bruschetta.

According to the Edmonton beer company, the lager is also ideal with Thai, Pan-Asian, Mexican, Peruvian and other spicy cuisines.

Picture 81st — Grasshopper Wheat Ale from Big Rock Brewery in Calgary

If you’re a beer snob — like me — and you live somewhere in Alberta, odds are you’ve tried Big Rock’s Grasshopper Wheat Ale.

This longtime Calgary brewery has made this unique classic wheat ale since 1994 and it’s a summertime favourite.

This smooth-drinking tasty beer offers up the right amount of hops and it offers up a crisp finish making it the perfect brew to enjoy every summer.

It also offers up a unique, citrusy-sweet taste on your palette making Grasshopper the perfect ale for barbecued meals like smoked fish, grilled chicken, or shrimp.