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  • Writer's pictureCalgary Brewery Tour Guy

Meta Brewery Review by YYCTOURS - Calgary Brewery Tours

Updated: Dec 1, 2023


Having entered the Alberta Craft beer scene in 2022, Meta Brewery has quickly caught the attention of beer enthusiasts across the country by winning multiple national and provincial gold medals for their products, which includes their flagships Spectrum Stout, Nucleus NEIPA, Hexagon Honey Wheat Ale (made with Alberta honey), and Celestial Canadian Wheat Ale. Lucky for us, Meta Brewery invited YYCTOURS to visit their brand new facility and graciously provided us with an exclusive behind the scenes tour of their brewery and operations, while also letting us know what was ‘coming down the pipe’.


An image of The Meta Brewery 30BBL Brewhouse used to make beer by Calgary Brewery tour
The Meta Brewery 30BBL Brewhouse

Table of Contents


When Mandeep Singh decided he wanted to begin crafting beer on a large scale, it might be safe to say that he drew inspiration from Marvel comics’ Nick Fury when he assembled a team of earth’s mightiest ‘beer’ heroes, in the form of industry renowned consultants, engineers and brewers to assist in getting Meta Brewery off the ground. Paul Hoyne, founder of British Columbia’s mega award-winning Lighthouse Brewery and Alain Desjardin of Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery both acted as consultants from the outset, providing their invaluable insight and expertise on the project. Singh also went after his version of ‘Professor X’ when he brought in a master/genius brewer named Andreas Althof, a graduate of the world's oldest brewing program, located in the world’s oldest operating brewery, Weihenstephaner of Munich, Germany. Considered the highest level of beer education in the world of brewing, Weihenstephan was established in 1021 by Benedictine monks as an Abbey and brewery, with official brewing there commencing in 1040. In 1803 the property was taken over by the Bavarian State Government and it became the Agricultural and Brewing College. Later, in 1907, the Weihenstephan research brewery college was established and achieved its university status in 1920. After graduating from Weihenstephan, Althof mastered his craft over the course of 13 years at the world famous Singha Brewery of Thailand, where he brewed more than 12 trillion pints of beer! To assist Althof, Singh brought in apprentice Evan Case-Skubleny, a rodeo cowboy who learned his trade at Olds College and went on to brew award-winning beer with Bow River Brewing in Calgary before joining the Meta team.


During our visit, we were surprised at not only the size of the facility, but at all the things that were taking place around us. A new conveyor belt designed to feed slim RTD cans was being custom built and assembled by hand, a copper still was being worked on in the corner which will be used for a future line of liquors and spirits, and packaging and assembly of beers were being done by hand. We were also amazed that Meta brewed not only their own brands, but several custom labels and consignment brews as well.


An image inside Meta Brewery by Calgary Brewery Tour
Construction of Meta Brewery's custom canning belt

The Meta Brewery facility, which is currently capable of putting out 20,000 hectoliters (3.5 million pints) of beer per year, has room to expand to up to 30,000 HL in the future. When one factors that the brewers are using a 30BBL (1.1hl) brewhouse, it is safe to say that brewing here takes place non-stop. Under Andreas’s watchful eye, tanks and equipment are meticulously cleaned after each batch, ensuring the highest level of quality in each run. This attention to detail can be detected in the final product, resulting in their multiple award-winning brews.


A copper still at Meta Brewery Alberta- Calgary brewery Tours

THE BEERS


Spectrum Stout,

As we covered in our Oct 29, 2023 YYCTOURS article, ‘The Best Breweries In Alberta’, Meta Brewery collected 9 brewing awards this year, which put them in a tie with Cabin Brewing of Calgary. At the 2023 Canadian Brewery Awards, Meta Brewery’s Spectrum Stout won a gold medal. At the 2023 Canada Beer Cup it won bronze, and at the Alberta Beverage Awards, it was selected as Best in Class. YYCTOURS covered Meta’s Spectrum Stout back in July as part of our “How to Judge Beer (Oatmeal Stout) Tutorial” series here. At a whopping 6.2 % ABV, this beer is knocking on the Imperial door, but there was no heavy bite from the alcohol in the aroma or the flavour when we sampled a can. Meta defines this beer as deep and rich with hints of licorice. We completely agree, although we did find more than just ‘hints’ of licorice from star anise in both the aroma and taste, which makes this version of a stout quite unique, while also helping it stand out from the competition. All this considered, we have chosen Spectrum Stout as the YYCTOURS ‘Beer of the Week’ on our Calgary Brewery Map.


Spectrum Stout from Meta Brewery in Calgary - YYCTOURS Beer Tour


Celestial Canadian Wheat

Similar to Spectrum Stout, Celestial Canadian Wheat Ale also took gold at the 2023 Canadian Brewery Award and bronze at the Canada Beer Cup. Made with Alberta wheat, this award-winner checks all the BJCP guideline boxes on the style. Pale gold to amber in colour, light and not-too-hoppy (made lighter through the addition of wheat to the grist). Aroma and flavour is fresh and lightly spicy, citrusy. The finish is dry to lightly sweet at 5.0% ABV. The North American Wheat Ale is a craft beer adaptation of the German Weissbier style using a cleaner yeast and more hops, first produced by Anchor in 1984 and later widely popularized by Widmer. With Althof’s brewing background stemming from Weihenstephaner, it is obvious he has imparted his German teachings to this North American Style beer.


a can and glass of Celestial Canadian Wheat Ale from Meta Brewery on a behind the scenes Calgary craft beer tour

Nucleus NEIPA

This Alberta Beverage Award winner is a New England Style juicy and hazy IPA that features a standard aroma of citrus in the form of grapefruit and lemon, cereal grains, and a touch of pine from the Citra, Galaxy, and Amarillo hops and it finishes with a soft, smooth, and creamy mouthfeel.


a can of Nucleus IPA from Meta Brewery poured into a glass on a  Calgary brewery Tour

Hexagon Honey Brown.

Another Alberta Beverage Award winner of the American Brown Ale style from the early modern craft beer era. Derived from English Brown Ales, but with any traditional beer style that has the word “American" in it, you know it means ‘with more hops’. Here with the Hexagon Honey Ale, the hop and honey flavor and aroma nicely complement and enhance the malt rather than clashing with it.


Cans of Hexagon Honey Ale made by Meta Brewery from Calgary Brewery tours

At the Alberta Beer Awards, Meta won gold for Dynamic Double IPA, a malty and hoppy IPA which also won an Alberta Beverage Award.


a can of dynamic DIPA made by Meta brewery - Calgary's best beer tour

Coming Soon


Once a year, Meta brewery creates two specialty beers that we are already waiting in line for. One of them is in the tank this week, and the other will follow shortly thereafter. Both of these beers are classic historical styles, and given Althof's mastery of German beer styles, these beers should be on any enthusiasts list.



Rauchbier can from Meta brewery on a Calgary craft beer tour

A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany and a very difficult beer to master. Think Aecht Schlenkerla as the measuring stick. While smoked beers certainly were made long ago, the origins of this specific style are unclear. YYCTOURS covered Smoked Beers in Calgary as part of our Community Beer Education series here.



Czech Style Pilsner by Meta brewery on calgary Brewery craft beer tour.

Czech Style Pilsners are another very historical style of beer. Bavarian brewer Josef Groll is credited with first brewing the beer, although there may have been earlier pale lagers in Bohemia. Just as important as the lager yeast is the use of English malting techniques



OTHER META BREWED BEERS


Wall to ceiling beer at Meta Brewery on a Calgary Brewery tour

As mentioned above, Meta also brews other value brands and specialty labels all available in different price points.

A variety of beer made by Meta Brewery - Kinetic Lager, Spectrum Stout, Celestial wheat Ale, Dynamic DIPA, Nucleus IPA, Black Buck, Express Lager

Considering the scale of the operations at Meta Brewery, along with the team that has been assembled, and the vision and determination of owner Mandeep Singh, things are just starting to take off for Meta.


The Meta Brewery HQ is located just north of the Calgary airport, next to Fire station #27. Although the taproom will not open until 2024, when it does, this will be a great space to stop at before picking someone up, or after dropping someone off, at the Calgary International Airport. With so many accolades in only their first year of brewing, just like the Marvel universe, it is safe to say there is much more to come.


If you would like to include Meta Brewery on a customized Calgary Brewery Tour, just let us know and we would be happy to introduce you to the team.


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Nov 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Funny.

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Nov 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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Nov 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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