The drive up to Jasper from Banff on Highway 93 is one of Canada’s most scenic routes. You can’t help but look around you; unless you’re the one driving, then you need to keep your eyes on the road! Wildlife sighting along the way is common, I was lucky enough to spot a pair of moose by the water,.
The Athabasca Glacier is along the way and it is worth stopping to take a look at. The chill air is nice and refreshing once you get out of the car.
There is a body of pristine (and freezing!) water that is fed from the glacier. This massive body of ice is nestled in with the mountains and is quite a sight to see.
The Athabasca Falls
The Athabasca Falls is located right off of Highway 93 in a slice of nature paradise. I found it incredible how you could watch the falls beat their way down though the rocks and then turn around and admire the tranquil lake below.
You are able to walk down a pathway to see the layers of rock & sediment that the glacial waters have paved a path though over time.
I highly recommend this drive to anyone who hasn’t experienced it yet. Especially my fellow Canucks, we have one hell of a country guys!
Just down the road was my destination for the night. The place in Jasper to get some freshly brewed Alberta craft beer!
The Jasper Brewpub
It would be tough to miss the place, just look for the large statue of the big horned sheep standing guard out front.
Inside the place has two sections to hang out in. One side has large tables and more of a restaurant layout. While the other side has the bar and more of a pub look to it. I bellied-on-up to the bar to order some craft beer and talk with some of the workers.
I started off with their seasonal offering which was a Dark Cascadian IPA. The generous use of North Western hops lend the aroma hints of citrus and pine and give the flavour a bitter backbone. The dark roasted malts offer the ale a rich and slightly sweet taste so that you are not just tasting the hops. I made a mental note to pick one up before I left.
I was lucky enough to get a little of the cask ale that was left over. Jasper, like Banff, taps a different cask every Friday so that craft beer fanatics can come and experiment different flavour creations. The one that I sampled was a variation on the seasonal Dark IPA. The main difference was that less hops were added to the brew, so the flavour of roasted malts stands out more in this variation.
To finish off my tour of hop city, I ordered a pint of “Rockhopper IPA” while I checked out their menu. “Rockhopper” is a real in your face standout IPA. The hops do not hide in the background in this craft beer. As a hop lover, just this ale alone would have ensured my return.
The menu is the same as the one at Banff Avenue Brewing Co. In other words, they had “some serious gourmet shit!” (to be read in your best Samuel L. Jackson voice)
I had to go with the Brewmaster’s Specialty Meatloaf. This isn’t some lame. boring, dry meatloaf. This baby was alive with flavour and wrapped in bacon! And you just can’t go wrong with a little bacon indulging. Plus there was a beef gravy sauce poured over top to make sure that it was moist.
To cap the meal off I had their variation of a half & half for desert. This was a mixture of their “6060 Stout” and “Blueberry Vanilla Ale”. Both of these are great to have on their own. The stout is similar to the one that I enjoyed in in Banff and the “Blueberry Vanilla Ale” is a pleasure to sip after eating a meal. However, when they are mixed together the stout cuts the sweetness of the vanilla blueberry and takes it to a whole new flavour profile.
Overall, Jasper is a wonderful destination for nature lovers, railroad history buffs and craft beer fanatics.
Until next time, cheers to local craft beer!