It came, it educated some and it surprised many. Being the 1st attempt at this cross-province event I was not sure what to expect. After going through it I would have to say that I hope to see Alberta Beer Week grow larger with each passing year. Here’s why I believe that we need events like this in the Alberta craft beer community.
So What Was It?
Basically, the whole idea behind Alberta Beer Week was to promote & raise awareness about our local craft beer industry.
It started and concluded with our friends over at Alberta Beer Festivals throwing their version of Oktoberfest in Calgary & Edmonton. The cool thing about their take on the popular German festival is that it focuses heavily on our local breweries. Having a tasting event like that to kick-off in #YYC and finish the week in #YEG was a great idea and allowed thousands of people to sample a wide range of local craft beer.
Local breweries and bars were also encouraged to do something to promote Alberta craft beer. Examples of this would be: Craft Beer Market hosting a brewmaster’s dinner; Beer Revolution doing an all Alberta beer tap takeover; Midtown tapping a cask ale from a different local brewery each day; Last Best having an Alberta IPA takeover; Big Rock throwing their 30th Anniversary bash, etc.
Why Is This Important?
Alberta is a wonderful place. We have beautiful glacier water, some of the best two-row barley in the world grows on our farms and we have a hard working & creative population. All of these elements are important to brewing beer. Yet we have a fraction of the breweries that exist in provinces like BC, Quebec and Ontario.
Why is that, you might ask. Well partly it is due to the fact that our market is wide open to beer that’s imported from all over the world. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can walk over to one of my favourite liquor stores and try out beers from breweries in the US, Europe, etc. However, when you have so much great beer to choose from sometimes the local guys get lost in all of the noise. Awesome imports like Stone, Driftwood, Dieu du Ciel, Cantillon, etc. are so well known for brewing spectacular beer that the little guys around the corner might have a tougher time showcasing how great their creations are.
The reality of it is that we do have some top notch beer being brewed right at our doorstep. Not every beer is going to rub you the right way, but the beautiful thing about beer is that everyone has a different opinion and all of them are valid so just try them out! Chances are that you’ll find something that you like. Just think about that for a minute… it’s a great excuse to sample a bunch of beers and what could be bad about that?
So come on, let’s all start working together to raise awareness about local craft breweries and raise a cheers to local craft beer to grow this scene together!