People come into the liquor store that I work at, frequently asking me for my opinion on all the newest beers. British Columbia (and the West Coast) has so many craft breweries now, that it’s hard to keep track. Especially since so many of these breweries are producing small-batch limited release beers, we may only get a couple of shipments in before it runs out. Not to mention, trying to keep up is having a negative impact on my waist line and my wallet!
Maybe you love beer so much but you are being overwhelmed with the options. You long for a time when you could say to your friends “I tried them just after they opened!” That ship sailed out of Vancouver and Victoria, BC a long time ago. Where can you get back to ground zero on the craft beer craze?
Go to Alberta! Most people would not think that Alberta would have a budding craft beer culture – most other Canadians associate Alberta with excessive drinking and a redneck culture. Does that automatically mean that there would be no market for beer enthusiasts to imbibe? Not necessarily.
It was only as of December 5th, 2013 that Alberta removed its old brewery restrictions. There’s a very excellent article about it here. The long and short of it is, prior to this date, no nanobreweries or microbreweries could exist in Alberta. All craft breweries had to produce at a capacity that you would expect more from a Molson subsidiary than you would from a brewery that is aiming to keep their production small and local. So even though Alberta had craft breweries prior to this date (e.g. Big Rock Brewery), most of the world outside of Alberta would not have regarded them as craft because, you could buy it outside of Alberta before craft brewing started to become popular enough to be able to send some of their production out-of-province.
This website goes into great detail about which breweries are open in Alberta (and other prairie provinces), as well as which ones have closed and which ones are expected to open. Keep your eyes peeled for Toolshed Brewing which opened in the Spring 2015, Blindman Brewing set to open late Summer 2015, and Situation Brewing set to open in Fall 2015.