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Alberta: Round 3

July 13, 2010

Sitting here sipping on Alley Kat’s, rather interesting (not too good), 15th Anniversary Belgian Style Tripel I was reminded that I forgot to post about my latest, and probably last of the year, trip to Alberta. I went to Calgary to visit a friend before I moved back to Victoria. I’ve also never been outside of Calgary’s airport, so I figured go visit my friend and check the city out.

As I have previously posted Alberta isn’t any where near a list of beer destinations, not even if that list is restricted to Canada only. Maybe if it was just the Western provinces it might make it, even then barely.

This trip was over two weeks ago, so I don’t remember all the details. To be honest there weren’t much. Calgary sucks. Other than one of my best friends from high school the city has nothing to offer anyone. The Calgary Tower is incredibly lackluster. Maybe when it was built 1967 it was impressive. 43 years will diminish any accomplishment.

Let’s get to the beer related stuff now, that’s what you’re here for.

On the way there I stopped at the Grizzly Paw in Canmore for a bite and a pint. They had an oaked IPA and an oaked Barleywine. Both were interesting beers. The IPA, I was told, isn’t there normal IPA, but one created especially for this brew. It was pretty much devoid of any IPA hoppiness, but nevertheless it provided an interesting, and borderline exciting, pairing with my meal. The oaked Barleywine was the real winner, at first. The more I progressed through it the more a lemon-lime flavour built up. A shame, because I was really enjoying it.

Thanks to @j3r3myjf for tipping me off on Wild Rose’s Friday afternoon casks. We were suppose to meet up for a pint, but do to some poor communication, and the whole not knowing what the other one looks like, that didn’t happen. I’m assuming the cask was that new pale ale they rolled out, AF23, as it tasted very much like a North American interpretation of an English Pale Ale. It was quite nice. However, the real winner was their Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout. Hot damn! That was a fantastic beer. By far the best Albertan beer I’ve had so far. Awesome name too. It took forever to get service, but once I did it was really good.

The third beer stop was one of the Brewster’s brewpubs. They have thirteen locations throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. All offering the same beers, with sometimes a rare exception at the odd location. There are six in Calgary alone. I went to the Crowfoot location since it was the closest to my friend’s apartment. I had a sample of all fifteen of their current offerings. They were all mediocre like I expected. Each beer suited their respective styles, but that was all they had going for them. I hear their Barleywine is really nice, it wasn’t available.

So overall the beer in Alberta is still uninspired, with one real exception (Wild Rose’s Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout) and a few other decent offerings. The best thing about beer in Alberta is still the imports. I came back with a few bottles of Cantillon that aren’t available here in BC, same with Mikkeller and a few others; such as the one mediocre Tripel I’m drinking now.

It’s not just the Flames who suck. It’s the whole city.

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