Brewer's Blog

"When are we going to be in Cowgary?"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ahh, the infinite question: "Dad, when are we going to be there?" Except for one distinct difference: Ethan thought we were going to "Cowgary". After a short explanation and small pronunciation lesson, he's got it straight.

So, we set out in the family vehicle before dawn for Calgary - Nicole, the kids and myself. I'll spare you the details of the drive. It's long. Very long. The kids were angels, though.

On Thursday, we got the chance to meet with some accounts. Thanks to the crew at Kensington Wine Market who Ethan entertained with stories of the "Cars" movie while I shopped for tasty beers I can't get at home. Next time we're out I'll have to do a tasting there for everyone. So many good beers, so little time.

On Friday, we skipped over to Banff and when we asked the boys if they'd like an adventure, the word was yes. It's not very often the boys feel up to new things, but they were excited and open on this trip, so we took the gondola to the top of Canada and peered out across the Rockies for a decidedly fresh perspective on life.

In the afternoon, I stopped in to Willow Park Wines & Spirits for a sampling of our fine brews. It's interesting to note that in a mature market such as Alberta just how little time I need to spend educating people about good beer. The questions are so different than at home.

For example:

"How many IBU's in your IPA?" not "What the hell is an IBU?"

You can see the private market has given beer lovers the choice, and while I was there, maybe 3 x 24's of mediocre beer (Kokanee, MGD, Corona) went out the door, while multiple customers were shopping from the ridiculous selection to be had on the local, Canadian small brewery, and import side of things. It's also good to see so many people who work in the business and are passionate about it in one place.

Suffice to say I was impressed.

After the tasting, I was starving and we mapped out a trail to a southern BBQ joint just up the Crowchild Trail called Big T's. It was funny because the drive there was a little weird and when we arrived, I said to Nicole "hey, this area looks familiar" and she says "no wonder, that's the back of our hotel." Ha Ha! You think I'd have been able to sniff it out from our hotel.

Word to the BBQ savvy amongst us. If your brisket doesn't melt under the slightest pressure from a fork, you haven't smoked it right. This brisket was tasty, and fork tender as it should be. Good food, but the kids were tired and caused a ruckus (as my mom used to say) so we promptly got the bill and headed back to the hotel for a snooze.

On Saturday we hit the Bottlescrew Bill's 15th Annual Beer Festival like nobody's business. Special thanks to Brad (from Steam Whistle) and a wandering customer who helped us move our beer from under the crazy hot patio heater. Wow, I almost had a tan on my head from the heat. Thankfully, we moved across the porch, and managed to squeeze in between our buddies at Wild Rose and Tree Brewing. We drained the better part of a Sweet Nikki Brown and Little Scrapper IPA in freshKEGS, as well as our not so secret behind the booth stash of 08 Burlywine. Thanks to all who enjoyed and began to spread the word of Half Pints.

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