The craft brewing scene is exploding here in Alberta, and it seems like the title of “Calgary’s Newest Brewery” changes hands on a weekly basis! Since the law overhaul in December 2013 that lifted antiquated restrictions on small breweries and distilleries, Alberta has seen a huge breakout of new breweries and brewpubs all across the province. Here are a few of Calgary’s new(ish) breweries to keep your eye on this year. Many of them have great tasting rooms if you want to see the action first hand, and of course we have many of these on regular rotation on our shelves and growler bars!
Freehold Brewing Co.
Technically founded in 2016, owners of Freehold Brewing Co., Matt James and Tavis Agnew, have been diligently hunting for the right space to open their full restaurant and brewhouse for almost 2 years now. As that space has yet to be found, they decided it was time to get their beer out to customers. As the saying goes, they had “a little help from their friends” at Caravel (subsequently another of the breweries on this list) by borrowing their brew space and equipment when not already in use. So far they have 2 beers on the market, Big Chutes Lagered Ale and Lacy Sacy Saison, both available in 4-pack tall cans and on tap around the city.
Taproom location: None yet…stay tuned!
Zero Issue Brewing
A “zero issue” is a comic book that outlines a backstory to the series that follows. They are sometimes released after the series has already been published – and are often considered more valuable to collectors than the series itself.
“Zero Issue”, the name and the guiding principles are the brewery’s origin story, and each new beer that is released has its own volume number. They are creating a graphic novel through a love of craft beer and comic books. But not just comic books, also science fiction and video games. These four passions make up the driving force behind owners, brewers, and brothers Kirk and Mark MacDonald new brewery, which opened quite patriotically on Canada’s 150th birthday.
4210 12 Street NE
The Dandy Brewing Company
Okay so this one is a bit of a cheat, as Dandy Brewing Company has technically been around since 2014, but 2018 will mark the opening of its new brewhouse and restaurant in Ramsay lovingly dubbed “Dandy 2.0”. The Dandies have big plans for the space, currently under renovations, including a full kitchen serving up creative dishes to highlight their fantastic beer.
The original brew site in the Northeast will remain, but is destined for small production, experimental and specialty brews, whereas production of all the established favourites will move to the new space.
Current Location: 1826 25 Ave NE, Unit 11
Caravel Craft Brewery
The Caravel was a specially crafted ship originally built for Portuguese explorers, and eventually used by the Spanish in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its design was such that it allowed the explorers to survey previously unreachable regions of the globe; in doing so, they unexpectedly discovered Canada while trying to reach India.
The first beers were brewed in May, and they officially started selling at the end of June 2017. They have opened up shop in Airport Crossing, the new industrial area next door to YYC Airport, and have quickly made their way onto shelves and tap lists around the city. Owners Chris Travis and Vlad Covali bonded over their love of European styles. Now Vlad and wife Victoria run the day to day operations, while head brewer Sofia Sadovska (formerly of Carlsberg Brewery) is at the helm of production.
Taproom Location: #12, 10221 15 St. NE
Railyard Brewing might ACTUALLY be Calgary’s newest brewery, certainly the newest taproom - since the taproom in Airport Crossing has only been open for just over a month now. It’s likely one of the most beautiful taproom spaces in the city thus far, with its extravagant black rope ceiling installation and live music on Saturday nights. You almost don’t notice the brew tanks, canning line and pallets of empty cans stacked in the corner.
The core line up currently consists of a lager, IPA, nitro stout, and a pale ale - though they are still dialing in that particular recipe. Their beer is available in cans and on tap around the province now.
Taproom Location: Unit 121, 10301 19th Street NE