One of the challenges, as we’ve traveled, has been finding full-bodied tasty beer. Rob always likes to sample local favorites the places we visit and most times the beer is good but not great. That being said most of the countries we’ve spent time in weren’t known for great ales. Most offered bland lagers at best.
When we arrived back in home in Calgary for the holidays, we approached the tourism board, Visit Calgary to look for activities to help us play tourists in our hometown. One of those recommended activities was a beer tour with the Village Brewery.
The Village Brewery began with aspirations to create community-based ales and lagers. The founders wanted to brew excellent beers and support Calgary artists and craftspeople in the process.
The Village consists of an eclectic mix of professional brewers and the creative influence of Calgary Artists. They all believe some of the best things happen over beers and they do their best to create brilliant beers for their deserving friends and neighbors. It takes a village to do anything worthwhile, right?
We booked our tour on a chilly Saturday and have been delightfully enjoying their brews ever since. A truly authentic Calgary experience we wish we had taken a tour with them when we’d lived in the city!
Village Brewery is a recognizable Calgary brand, we had seen their beer trucks around town over the years when lived in the city. We’d even probably enjoyed a few of their tasty beers, but that was long ago.
Beer stores often look like this in Calgary-
Being confronted with such a large selection can make it hard to remember the ones you’ve tried that are really good. The tour was a great way to refresh our memories!
Outside the brewery, the air was still and chilly, the sky was gray, and the streets were darn near deserted. Once inside a friendly Village staffer, Kaila welcomed us. She gave a run-down of what to expect on the tour. Inside it was bright and the atmosphere was warm and lively.
There was a large group participating in the tour, a boisterous bunch for a birthday celebration, a quiet group of three, and Rob and I. You could tell right away that it was going to be a fun couple of hours!
We were directed upstairs to the tasting room and introduced to our guides Jeremy and Sam, two very knowledgeable and personable guys. The tasting began immediately and the spirit of the more the merrier was alive and well throughout our tour. Everyone, even the quiet group of three laughed joked and participated, not as much as the rowdy birthday bunch, but everyone had a great time.
How could you not enjoy yourself, really? We got to taste so many delicious beers!
The tour kicked off with a generous pint of our choosing. I had a Village Blonde Golden Ale and Rob had a Village Blacksmith.
Then we dove into the tasting. We had the opportunity to sample six of the current brews, and we were treated to two more purchased by the birthday group!
We were introduced to all of the most important “Villagers”:
The Village Monk– A Chai winter porter borne of chocolate and caramel malts.
The Village Maiden– An India session ale with crisp citrus and fragrant hops.
The Village Wit– A white wheat ale unfiltered in the Belgian tradition.
The Village Blacksmith– An Alberta black ale with Alberta two-row barley roasted to a black malt and infused with bitter hops.
The Village Gardener– A community involved ale containing hops grown in local community gardens and 100% locally malted barley and wheat.
The Village Woodsman– A Northern red ale whose bounty includes a fresh pine fragrance and a warm nutty flavor.
The Village Blonde– A natural golden ale whose golden glow comes from fine Alberta two-row barley.
And the Holy Grale– A deliciously caramelly amber ale.
They were all so good!
After the tasting, we were escorted to the brewing and bottling area, the place where the magic happens.
We had the opportunity to check out all aspects of the brewing process. Our witty, passionate tour guides explained the processes and answered any questions we had.
The coolest things about the Village Brewery are their steadfast commitment to supporting the arts in Calgary and their focus on getting “better” not bigger. They source ingredients like malted barley, wheat, and hops all locally. The brewing focus is on quality local ingredients and that really comes through when you taste their beers.
Village sponsors local events and sells local art in its brewery store. They even give 10% of their bottom line back to the city to support the arts and community in Calgary. We had a great time on our tour- it’s impossible not to love this little brewery and their tasty beers, seriously!
The tour and tasting are a great deal at $15 CAD. It’s about an hour or two long and includes a full pint (you get to keep your custom Village Brewery pint glass) and healthy size samples of their current beers. An authentic Calgary experience, we definitely recommend stopping in for a tour or a tasting.