Your guide to Calgary breweries in 2018

By Shane Flug

Calgary’s local economy is slowly hopping back into shape. At the craft beer forefront, new players opened up shop in 2017 with more on the way this year. With choices of suds ever more abundant for local beer enthusiasts, we’ve brewed up four tips on who’s who and where’s where in Calgary craft beer in 2018. [Photo credit: Sarah Sussman]

Your guide to Calgary breweries in 2018

New kids on the barley block

Founded by brothers Kirk and Mark MacDonald, Zero Issue Brewing combines a love of comic and beer geekdom. At the taproom, Kirk and Mark have no issue putting down the game console to serve you a pint of one of their four “editions” ranging from white IPAs to pilsners.

Without a TV to be found, the Annex Ale Project’s taproom encourages patrons to embrace the company mantra of enjoying the moment through great conversations. Catch up with friends over a pint of their seasonal small batch selections, fill up a growler with their North American Bitter or XPA or, for the sweet-toothed, take home some of their craft root beer.

Just this past holiday, business has gone full steam ahead for Railyard Brewing. Stop by their taproom to see what seasonal releases their brewmaster has dreamt up. Their core selections include a nitro stout and, for those who like it simple, an easy-drinking North American-style lager.

New breweries now open also include Cold Mountain Beverage Company and Caravel Craft Brewery.

Batches almost done

This spring, the vibrant community of Marda Loop will soon have a brewing company to call its own. With a  focus on ales ranging from wheat to amber, residents will soon have the opportunity to fill their growlers with their community’s name on them.

The size of Prairie Dog Brewing’s ambition for its brewpub and restaurant is no rodent. With construction well underway with a prospective opening of either March or April, this 210-seat restaurant with games promises a bohemian, come-as-you-are style with 16 on-tap selections and a locally-sourced, beer-inspired menu.

Also keep tabs on the status of other new breweries, including Red Bison Brewing, Legend 7 Brewing, Freehold Brewing and Good Mood Brewery.

Tasty taprooms

While new Calgary brewers’ taprooms normally offer appies to munch on, others have full menus available to better fill the belly along with your pint.

Citizen Brewery brings its food truck menu to its 50-seat taproom with its Sunrise Farms half-chickens, Cubano, and its signature double-angus patty Citizen Burger. Fill up with Alberta’s finest meat cuts while enjoying one of their core ales and stouts.

The best of Southern BBQ and handcrafted beers join forces in one “brewbecue” location at Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery. Feast on beef brisket or pulled pork smoked to perfection and wash it all down with a pint of their multigrain pale ale or German schwarz-style black lager.

From pizzas to tacos, the menu is abundant with choices – and recommended beer pairings – at the taproom of 22-year vets Wild Rose Brewery. Also enjoy an Albeerta Burger or charcuterie board at Last Best Brewing & Distilling.

On tap and in stores

While Calgary’s new breweries are the go-to bet for enjoying a specific brew you’re looking for either to take home or enjoy onsite, our city is abundant with brewpubs such as Craft Beer Market and Brewsters, as well as liquor stores offering local selections.

Fill up your howler or growler at craft liquor stores such as Vine Arts, 5 Vines, Oak & Vine and Craft Cellars. Pick up tall cans or cases at other locations such as Highlander Wines & Spirits, Wine and Beyond, Willow Park Wines & Spirits or Co-op Wine Spirits Beer. Follow your favourite new brewery’s website and social media for stockists nearest you.

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What else is going on in Calgary in 2018?

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From small beginnings in a tool shed to building a village, big things have happened in Calgary’s craft beer scene since Big Rock. With 2018 bringing in even more choices for the local craft beer enthusiast, things keep on looking dandy for business.

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