Spring has arrived and everyone seems to be getting geared up for BBQs and patio sitting. Along with all of this outdoor fun comes something that craft beer lovers know & adore….Beer Festival Season! I stopped by Craft Beer Market for the launch of this year’s Alberta Beer Festivals beer to find out what we can expect to see once we flood through those doors to start sampling some delicious brewskis.
The Legion of Craft Beer Fans is Growing
I am sure that most of you have noticed how the amount of people drinking and appreciating craft beer in Alberta has been growing. You just have to take a look at all of your local restaurants and bars that are now offering draft options that you never would have seen a few years back to see how much the demand for quality beer has grown. And it shows no sign of stopping.
Alberta Beer Festivals has been offering up samples of different beer for over 10 years now and they have been growing as well. Last year I was blown away by the size of the Calgary International Beer Festival. This year that size will expand even more to take over all of the halls in the BMO Centre and part of the Corral Centre. Holy drinking binge, that’s a lot of beer tasting square footage! There will be over 500 different beers to check out and 40 local restaurants will be there to make sure that we all have something tasty in our stomachs to keep us going.
There is a lot of demand for growth among the beer geeks in the north as well. I would not be surprised to see the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival expand in the near future.
The popular Brewmaster Seminars and Cooking with Beer seminars will be back this year along with something new. Attendees will be able to learn about beer, from grain to glass, at Beer U . Basically you will be greeted by members of CAMRA Alberta who will walk you through the stages of what makes up beer. There will be booths from organizations like: Alberta Barley , Alberta Wheat, Grains West Magazine, Olds College Brewmaster Program, Better Beer & Montana’s.
Once you are done you will be sheparded to the ATB Financial blind tasting & MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) quiz section.
I have said it many times before on this blog that knowing more about something that you love helps to increase your appreciation for it. So I encourage anyone who is curious about beer to participate in this to up their “Beer Q”.
Irish Wrist Watch
One of the beers that you will have a chance to sample will be the Irish Wrist Watch ginger beer which was brewed by the students in the Olds College Brewmaster Program with Alberta Beer Festivals.
Trying this beer was one of the main reasons for my stop at the Craft Beer Market a few weeks back. The program held a competition where students had to come up with a beer name and corresponding beer style to brew. The winner of this would go on to become the 2015 Alberta Beer Festivals beer. Once Irish Wrist Watch and ginger beer were selected Dave Mozel, the school’s brewmaster, worked on designing a recipe that they would then brew at the school’s onsite brewery.
The ginger beer is perfect for the Alberta Beer Festivals beer. There is a slight sweetness and heat to it but the ginger is not overwhelming. It has a really nice dry finish so that the ginger flavour dos not linger on your palate. It is a beer that has a broad appeal and this is important because many different types of beer drinkers attend these festivals each year.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your tix and come try some beers on May 1st & 2nd at the BMO Centre. You might even learn something new. And of course, while you’re there, stop by some of the Alberta microbreweries and raise a cheers to local craft beer!