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  • Writer's pictureCalgary Brewery Tour Guy

Traveling to Alberta? Try some of our award winning craft beer! By YYCTOURS

a collection of logos for the best breweries in Alberta 2023 Canada Beer Cup - YYCTOURS
Alberta Breweries who won awards at the 2023 Canada Beer Cup

1. Introduction

When it comes to craft beer, Alberta is quickly gaining national recognition as a top destination and if you are travelling to Alberta, you got to try our beer. With cities like Calgary and Edmonton at the forefront of the craft beer movement, beer enthusiasts from around the world are flocking to these cities to experience the best brews the province has to offer. From local breweries and taprooms to organized beer tours and charters, there are endless opportunities to explore and indulge in Alberta's thriving beer scene. In this guide, we will delve into the must-visit breweries, brewery tours and charters, and everything you need to know to make the most of your beer-filled adventure in Alberta. So grab a pint and get ready to experience the best brews in the province with YYCTOURS!

2. The craft beer industry in Alberta

The craft beer industry in Alberta is booming. With an increasing number of breweries and a strong community of passionate beer lovers, the province has become a hub for craft beer enthusiasts. Alberta takes pride in its local ingredients, innovative brewing techniques, and unique flavor profiles that are a result of the creativity and expertise of its brewers.

One of the reasons why the craft beer scene in Alberta is thriving is the supportive regulatory environment. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has implemented policies that have allowed smaller breweries and brewpubs to flourish by offering incentives like streamlined licensing processes and the ability to sell their beer on-site. This has empowered local entrepreneurs to experiment with new flavors and styles, creating a diverse range of beers that cater to every taste.

From well-established breweries like Alley Kat Brewing Company and Big Rock Brewery to up-and-coming spots like Calgary’s Stony Slope (2023 New Alberta Brewery of the Year) and Edmonton’s Ale Architect, Alberta has something for everyone. These breweries not only focus on producing high-quality beers but also prioritize sustainability and community involvement.

a collection of logos of Calgary Breweries who won at the 2023 Alberta Beer Awards- Calgary Brewery Tours Charters Shuttles
Calgary Breweries who won at the 2023 Alberta Beer Awards

3. Exploring the top breweries in Alberta

Alberta is home to a plethora of exceptional breweries that are pushing the boundaries of craft beer. Each brewery has its own unique style and offerings, making it a haven for beer enthusiasts. Let's dive into some of the top breweries you should definitely add to your beer-tasting itinerary:

1. The Establishment Brewing Company: Known for its bold and innovative brews, the Establishment is one of the most awarded breweries in the Alberta craft beer scene. Voted Canada’s Brewery of the year in 2021, and Alberta’s Brewery of the Year in 2021 and 2023, the Establishment makes everything from classic Doppelbocks and Czech lagers to barrel aged, mixed culture brews. Located in Calgary’s Barley belt, a district that houses several other breweries in the area. The Est is a must stop for any serious beer enthusiast whether on a Calgary brewery tour or by renting a Calgary charter.

2. Stony Slope: Recently voted Alberta’s New brewery of the Year, Stony Slope focus is on old beer, as in 500 year old recipes like Sahti and Lithuanian Raw Ales etc. They are the only spot in Alberta brewing beer like this, and if you are any sort of beer connoisseur, this is a must stop. Homemade Amish bread, meats and in-house made cheeses are available, when paired with Stony’s beer, offer up a true farmhouse food and drink experience. Take a Calgary Brewery tour or rent a Calgary charter to create your own tour for you and your friends.

3. Monolith: This relatively newer brewery is making waves in the mixed fermentation sector, recently sweeping a category at the Alberta Beer awards. Located in Edmonton, this very cool brewery, which houses a cool ship and gravity brewing, has a building that was designed and built with mixed fermentation in mind. This is a must visit when on an Edmonton Brewery Tour.

4. Blindman: Blindman Brewing won the most awards (national and provincial) of any Alberta brewery in 2023 by collecting more than a dozen in total, including 3 best of shows at 4 competitions for Dwarf Sour Cherry Saison. Located in Lacombe, between Calgary and Edmonton, Blindman makes some of the best beer in the province and should be included on a brewery tour in Alberta.

These are just a few examples of the more than 100 exceptional breweries Alberta has to offer. You can explore Alberta’s best breweries on a brewery tour or by renting a private charter to make your beer adventure even more memorable. Get ready to sip and savor the best brews Alberta has to offer. Cheers!

A snapshot form YYCTOUR Calgary Brewery Map by YYCTOURS Charters and shuttles
Use a Brewery Tour Map

4. Tips for planning your beer-focused trip

Planning a beer-focused trip requires careful consideration and research to ensure that you make the most of your experience. Here are a few tips to help you plan your Alberta beer adventure:

Know what you are looking for. Are you looking for food too? A certain style of beer? A certain vibe?

Research the breweries: Take the time to research the breweries you plan to visit.

Check out brewery maps like this Calgary Brewery Map that shows every taproom you can visit for a local craft beer close to where you are traveling or staying.

Be open to exploring brewery districts.

Read Brewery reviews, but keep in mind, everyone has different tastes.

Look into a brewery’s beer offerings, special events, and any unique features they may have. This will allow you to prioritize the breweries that align with your beer preferences and interests.

Create an itinerary: Once you have identified the breweries you want to visit, create a detailed itinerary. Consider the location and the distance between each brewery to optimize your costs, time and minimize travel.

Check for tours and events: Many cities offer guided brewery tours and host special events. Check their websites or social media platforms for information on any upcoming tours or events that you can attend. These experiences often provide transportation, education and a deeper understanding of the brewing process, while also allowing you to taste exclusive beers in different areas of the city without having to spend money on Uber or taxis. This works great for large groups of friends. By attending brewery tours, everyone can stay in the same vehicle, which keeps the group together for more memorable events.

Consider transportation: Depending on the number of breweries you plan to visit, it may be more convenient to rent a charter with a designated driver. Craft breweries often have higher %ABV beers, so why risk driving, or having to leave your car somewhere overnight so you can have a few beers. A charter or brewery tour means you don’t have to worry about those things.

Make sure you have a safe ride home. If you go out on your own, or with a group of friends, be sure to plan how everyone will get home after enjoying some Alberta craft beer.

Drink water between beers. This will help you avoid the dreaded craft beer hangover.

By following these tips, you can plan a well-organized and unforgettable beer-focused trip in Alberta and enhance your beer adventure.

5. The importance of responsible drinking

While it's exciting to dive into the world of Alberta's beer scene, it's important to remember the significance of responsible drinking. As you embark on your beer adventure, keep in mind that enjoying the best brews should always be accompanied by responsible alcohol consumption.

First and foremost, always make sure to pace yourself. Alberta's breweries offer a plethora of unique and flavorful beers, but it's essential to savor them in moderation. This will not only allow you to fully appreciate the distinct characteristics of each beer but also ensure your safety throughout your trip. Or, you can also consider non-alcoholic beers.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the alcohol laws and regulations in Alberta. Each Canadian province has different laws regarding the legal drinking age and where alcohol can be consumed (Alberta’s legal drinking age is 18) . By being aware of these regulations, you can avoid any potential difficulties and fully enjoy your beer tour without any complications.

Furthermore, be mindful of your surroundings and practice responsible drinking etiquette when visiting breweries. Respect the staff, fellow patrons, and the premises themselves. Remember that the breweries you visit are not only places of business but also cultural hubs that contribute to the local community.

By embracing responsible drinking practices throughout your beer-focused journey in Alberta, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

an image of a passenger van, 24 passenger shuttle and a bus at YYCTOURS Calgary Tours, Charters and Shuttles
Consider a brewery tour or private shuttle rental like the ones available at YYCTOURS

7. The future of the craft beer scene in Alberta

With a strong foundation and a growing network of passionate brewers and beer enthusiasts, the craft beer scene in Alberta is poised for an exciting future. At the recent Canadian Brewery Awards and Canada Beer Cup, Alberta collected more medals than any other province. This encourages demand for unique and the quality of locally crafted brews continues to rise, fueling innovation and creativity among Alberta's breweries.

As consumer preferences evolve, so does the craft beer landscape. Brewers are constantly experimenting with new flavors, brewing techniques, and ingredients to push the boundaries of what is possible in a beer. This dedication to creativity ensures that there is always something new and exciting to discover in Alberta's breweries.

In addition to the ever-evolving flavors, the industry itself is evolving. More microbreweries and brewpubs are opening their doors, bringing their own unique styles and personalities to the scene. This increased competition fosters an environment of growth and excellence, as breweries strive to differentiate themselves and captivate beer enthusiasts.

As Alberta's craft beer community continues to thrive, it also becomes an essential contributor to the overall tourism landscape. The popularity of beer tourism is on the rise, with more travelers seeking out destinations that offer exceptional brews and brewery experiences. Alberta's breweries are well-positioned to capitalize on this trend, welcoming visitors to their taprooms, hosting events, and offering immersive brewery tours.

In the coming years, we can expect to see even more breweries emerge, showcasing the incredible talent and dedication of Alberta's brewers. There will be an increasing emphasis on sustainability practices, locally-sourced ingredients, and community engagement. Moreover, collaborations between breweries, both within Alberta and across the country, will lead to exciting new flavor profiles that push the boundaries of traditional brewing.

By immersing yourself in Alberta's craft beer scene, you have the opportunity to witness firsthand the growth and evolution of this dynamic industry. So, grab your pint glass and embark on a journey through Alberta's breweries, as you taste the best brews the province has to offer and be a part of the future of craft beer.

8. Conclusion: Cheers to a memorable beer-filled adventure in Alberta!

In conclusion, embarking on a beer-filled adventure in Alberta promises to be a memorable experience. As we have seen, the craft beer scene in Alberta is thriving with a growing network of passionate brewers and beer enthusiasts. With an emphasis on creativity and innovation, Alberta's breweries continuously push the boundaries of flavor and brewing techniques.

The industry itself is evolving, with more microbreweries and brewpubs opening their doors and bringing their unique styles to the scene. This healthy competition fosters an environment of growth and excellence, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Furthermore, Alberta's craft beer community is becoming an essential contributor to the tourism landscape. With beer tourism on the rise, visitors are seeking out destinations that offer exceptional brews and immersive brewery experiences. Alberta's breweries are well-positioned to capitalize on this trend, welcoming visitors to their taprooms, hosting events, and offering engaging brewery tours.

In the coming years, we can expect even more breweries to emerge, showcasing the incredible talent and dedication of Alberta's brewers. Collaboration between breweries will lead to exciting new flavor profiles, further pushing the boundaries of traditional brewing.

So, raise your glass and toast to a beer-filled adventure in Alberta. Cheers to the future of craft beer and the opportunity to witness the growth and evolution of this dynamic industry.

Written by YYCTOURS -

If you are looking to travel Alberta for beer, YYCTOURS is Calgary's only 100% locally owned and operated craft tour provider and we are more than just Calgary's best tours at award winning facilities! YYCTOURS also offers event shuttles and charters, and we pride ourselves in connecting your group to the best of Calgary's craft community through, brewery and beer reviews, news, maps , showcases and education. YYCTOURS invites you to join us in supporting the unparalleled Calgary Craft scene. Cheers.

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Nov 17, 2023
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