Calgary craft beer has taken off in the past few years and the city is looking to compete with other urban centres like Portland and Seattle when it comes to beer tourism.
Tourism Calgary and local brewers teamed up in 2017 to create the YYC Beer Map and the newest version is now available.
The new map divides the city into districts and Jeff Hessel, the senior vice-president of Tourism Calgary, said it makes it easier for Calgarians and visitors alike to explore the city’s beer scene on foot or by bike.
“The beer map showcases all of the various breweries,” Hessel said. “We lumped them together in various groups so it shows you how you can travel and experience a few breweries in a very particular area.”
Providing a guide to the city’s best beer can help visitors plan out their own tours but Colin McLean, a co-owner of Banded Peak Brewing, said what really separates Calgary from other craft beer cities is the ingredients that go into the final product.
“Alberta really has all the best water, best hops and best barley out there,” McLean said. “So it’s really just the best ingredients that are around and it’s hard to make a bad product when you’re working with good [ingredients].”
Visitors from across North America agree that Calgary stands apart from other beer cultures. Nicole Vandeleuv is visiting from San Diego and said the variety in Calgary is impressive.
“It’s not so India pale ale focused. In San Diego at least, it’s hops, hops, hops, so it’s nice to have some variety,” Vandeleuv said. “Some good saisons, some good stouts and some other types of beer.”
Hessel said the wide selection of beers is due in part to the rapid growth of the industry. He said that with 30 breweries across the city, taprooms have come up with ways to set themselves apart.
New Level Brewing gets their inspiration for their beers and graphics from heavy metal bands. Paddy’s Barbecue and Brewery brews small-batch beers to pair with their southern-style smoked meats.
The map is available at breweries, Calgary information centres and new this year, is also
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