OK, I get it. With 400 beers on offer at the Calgary International Beerfest, it’s hard to pick just 50, let alone 10.
But 10 is far less unwieldy.
1. Big Rock Brewery’s Erratic Stone Fired Ale: Beer, boiled with hot rocks. Like they did in medieval times. It’s delicious. Dark malt and toffee flavour with burnt caramel notes from using hot rocks right in the kettle.
2. Alley Kat Summer Squeeze: As I wrote yesterday, this will be popular on patios this summer. Light wheat ale, with big grapefruit flavour. It’s tasty.
3. Wild Rose Brewery Natural Born Keller: Out of Wild Rose’s great seasonal beer program, this would be one I’d encourage them to add to the regular rotation. Great malt flavour balanced with the right amount of hops. It’s definitely an Alberta original.
4. Village Ginger: Like with Alley Kat’s Summer Squeeze, this will be a hit on Calgary patios, as long as it’s available. Brewed in limited quantity, this will surely go fast. It’s well-flavoured, not overpowering, but the ginger is really pronounced when the beer is nice and cold. And who doesn’t want a cold beer on a hot day?
5. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout: Chocolate stout is a pretty basic concept, and many breweries have one, but Young’s would be my favourite flavoured stout. It’s a hearty stout with rich chocolate flavour. What more could you want?
6. Howe Sound Total Eclipse of the Hop Imperial IPA: In picking just one IPA, I have probably offended someone’s sensibilities, given that there’s more than 35 of them on the lineup and everyone has a favourite. Howe Sound’s IIPA is big and bold, full-bodied, brewed with six hops. And it’s got good kick at 8%.
7. Creemore Springs Premium Lager: With the huge variety of beer available, why recommend a straigt-up lager? Because it’s really good. It’s a nice copper colour, with nuttiness and good hops.
8. Okanagan Spring Summer Weizen: This was a favourite of mine at last year’s Beerfest, and I’m glad to see it’s back for another summer. Reminiscent of a B.C. orchard, this unfiltered apricot wheat ale is full of great fruit flavour. Truly a summer sipper.
9. Yukon Brewing ADD series Herbal Cream: In all honesty, I have not tried this beer. But Yukon Brewing makes a quality product to begin with, and produces creative beers in its ADD series.
10. Fallentimber Traditional Mead: Drink like a Viking. This is a sweet, yet easy-drinking honey wine. And if you haven’t tried mead before, what better place than a festival?
Calgary Beerfest runs May 3 and 4 in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. More information at calgarybeerfest.com