Posts Tagged ‘Calgary

Calgary’s Village Brewery wins start-up of the year award

- February 28th, 2014

A growler from Calgary’s small business of the year.

Since it got up and running, Village Brewery has continued to impress.

From the group that helped found the company — a band of community-minded investors — to the focus on the local market and donating 10% of their bottom line to local arts and community groups, the Village has been welcomed with open arms by Calgary’s craft beer scene.

And now they’re getting national notice.

Village was recently named Start-up of the Year at the Air Miles Reward Program’s first Small Business Achievement Awards.

Co-founder Jim Button had this to say of the win:

“My advice to other start-ups is do what you enjoy and the money will come later. Recognize that money is one objective – but always put the quality of the service first,” Button said.

“And being part of today’s event was an honour and opportunity,” he added. “It’s not every day you get to learn and network with some of North America’s most well-regarded business leaders.”

The write-up announcing the award winners had this to say:

“Village Brewery was founded in 2011 with the simple goal in mind of gathering people around community.  The company operates exclusively in the Calgary area, using locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, maintaining a high-quality product and a strong relationship with partners, all while investing 10 per cent of the bottom line into the community. The six founding partners bring a combined 150-plus years of industry experience, including Co-FounderJim Button, who is backed by 15 years of experience and passion for the industry.”

Congratulations to all the people who make Village a great local success story.

Dave’s Top 5 winter wine events

- February 6th, 2014

There’s something about a full glass of red wine on a winter’s night that just spells comfort.

Not even whisky warms me up like a glass of wine.

While the whisky and craft beer scenes are still growing in Calgary, the wine appreciation culture still reigns supreme and there are a ton of events devoted to vintages, varietals and vines.

This makes it tough for the likes of me to whittle it down to just five, but here we go:

1. Winefest: This February event features dozens of wineries from nearly 20 countries. There are wines from well-known regions like France, Italy and Chile, and lesser-known wine producers Moldova and Hungary. Mission Hill highlights the Canadian selections. The Friday and Saturday evening sessions are sold out, but there are still tickets available for the Saturday afternoon, 2-5 p.m. at the BMO Centre.

2. Pig and Pinot: Pinot noir is one of my favourite varietals, and, well, who doesn’t love pork? The two make for a great combination. Co-Op Wines Spirits Beer will have the best of both on display at this event, with food courtesy Boreal Cuisine. It goes on Feb. 14 at the Oakridge Tasting Centre, and Feb. 21 at Crowfoot. Tickets are $65.

3. Storm watch: Washington and Oregon have a great selection of wines available. Kensington Wine Market offers a chance to taste the best of both states at this event, inspired by the period in winter when “the rugged shores of Washington and Oregon are … dubbed “storm watch” as winter storms pound their coast lines.” This event will cost you $35, and it goes Feb. 21.

4. Bordeaux Vertical: Willow Park Wines & Spirits celebrates 20 years in business this March, and their birthday week features a host of tremendous events, including a Birthday Brunch, a Beer and Bubbles bash and a festival featuring wines ranked 90+ points by the top critics. But how could you pass up an evening exploring the wines of this iconic region? The night will feature vintages from Willow Park’s own wine library. Tickets for the March 6 event will set you back $120.

5. Phenomenal Poutine Pairings: Of all the events going on, why did I pick poutine? Because it’s poutine. Sure, I could have picked the unpronouncable vintages at Kensington, the Spanish evening at Crowfoot, or any of the other birthday events at Willow Park. But I love poutine, and I love the notion of fancy poutine pairings with fine wines. “The poutine pairings will be mostly wines,” Willow Park’s Peggy Perry told me. “Poutine with lobster, poutine with duck confit — it’s going to be really fun.” Sounds delicious. This event goes March 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Village Brewery launching first seasonal of 2014 — The Village Troubadour

- February 5th, 2014
Village Troubadour

The Village Troubadour — coming soon to a store near you.

As Village Brewery says, this news is likely music to your ears. Or beers.

The Calgary brewery is launching its first seasonal of 2014, inspired by the songwriters of yore, the Troubadour is coming to town.

As with previous seasonals Ginger, Farmer and Monk, this mild brown ale is available in limited quantities in collectors edition growlers, and on tap in Calgary bars.

I could re-write the tasting notes for this beer, but the fine folks at Village had Trevor McConnell write up some poetry. And who doesn’t love beer poetry.

The Troubadour hails from the North, so they say.

‘Tis the sweet note of caramel gives it away,

And the lyrical lilt of the hops when they play,

As the Troubadour sings of that glorious day

When good barley and yeast had a roll in the hay

And the magic was born in the North.

So they say.

I have a feeling this will be popular. There’s nothing like a brown ale in the winter months. And the style is well-known around these parts, with Big Rock and Wild Rose doing their own takes. I’m looking forward to giving it a sip.

Big Rock freshens up their look with spiffy new labels

- February 3rd, 2014

You may have noticed something different the last time you picked up some Big Rock at your local liquor store.

The beer inside the bottle is still delicious, and the rooster still adorns the neck, but the Calgary brewing mainstay has updated its labelling for all of its beers.

“Our new packaging is as artfully crafted as the wonderful beer that goes in it. The new packaging was inspired by original artwork done by a local artist commissioned by our brewery”, said Bob Sartor President and CEO.

And, I must say, the results are quite fresh looking.

The packaging was designed by Calgary artist Dean McKenzie, and I think he has done well to give Big Rock a fresh look while keeping with the spirit of the beers we all know and love.

Of the redesign, my favourite is the Scottish Heavy. I love the beer, but never cared for the plain plaid label. I think the castle looks really good.

On the whole, Big Rock was due for this kind of new look. With new breweries in the Calgary scene employing fresh design on their packaging, the more established breweries need an update.

It looks like Wild Rose is also launching new packaging as well, if this tweet is to be believed. I look forward to seeing what they have in store.


Dave’s top 5 beer events in Calgary this winter

- January 31st, 2014

Get your drink on with these five great beer events.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re still stuck in winter, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

But nothing chases those winter blues away like some friends, fun and a few quality craft beers.

There are events out there for dark beer lovers, Belgian beer fans, Irish beer drinkers and more.

But here are my top five picks for a beery night out.

1. Border Beer Wars: It is a widely held myth by many beer drinkers that American beer is no good. True, the beer giants south of the border aren’t held in high regard by many, but U.S. brewers have been a driving force in the craft beer revolution. How do they stack up against Canadian craft beers? Judge for yourself at this Co-Op Wine Spirits Beer event, running Feb. 20 at the Crowfoot Tasting Centre and Feb. 27 at Shawnessy. Both events start at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.50.

2. CPO Craft Beer Night: For the last few years, Willow Park Wines & Spirits has partnered with the CPO to help raise funds for the orchestra. Join them for some great craft beer, plus food from Belgo, The Libertine and more. Tickets are $40 and 100% of the proceeds go to the CPO. The beer night is the second of three events hosted by Willow Park in support of the CPO. The Vintage Wine Tasting goes March 4, and The Art of Whisky is March 28.

3. Seasonal Brews: Some of you out there may drink the same beers all year. Not me. I like darker, heartier beers in the winter, and I look for something lighter in the summer. And I know I’m not alone. Kensington Wine Market offers a chance to sample some “spicy, full-bodied” winter brews on Feb. 20, and get set for the spring drinking season March 27, where you can sample a selection of beers “from  refreshing pilsners to the more nourishing bocks.” The Winter Seasonal event is $30 and the Spring tasting is $35.

4. Grizzly Paw Dinner: This Feb. 25 event pairs Canmore brewery Grizzly Paw — makers of local favourites Rutting Elk Red and Big Head Nut Brown — with the culinary stylings of Craft Beer Market chef Eric Mah. The four-course dinner will set you back $60 (which is a pretty good deal) and goes at 6 p.m.

5. Bottlescrew Bill’s Beerfest: This year marks the 20th edition of the popular  Beerfest at Bottlescrew Bill’s at 1 St. and 10 Ave. S.W. It is a guaranteed sell-out, and it’s not hard to see why. More than 75 beers from more than 25 breweries, all for just $25 (in advance). It’ll be $30 at the door, so why wait? The event runs from 2-5 p.m. on March 1.