My Mountain Experience: Banff Beer Festival and Grizzly Paw Brewery

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I say farewell to 2015 with a thank you to the Alberta craft beer community for another  year of tasting, learning and meeting some truly fantastic people. A special thank you, and the  main reason for this post is a shout out to Grizzly Paw Brewery for what was undoubtedly one of the best weekends of my year!

I recently had the fortune of winning a photo contest, the prize of which was a weekend away in Canmore, with a brewery tour and beer fest tickets, courtesy of Grizzly Paw Brewing Company! My husband, best friend and her boyfriend came along, as we had all entered and made a deal that if any of us won, we brought the others.

We were put up in a double king suite for two nights at the beautiful Stone Ridge Mountain Resort in Canmore. With a full kitchen, dining and sitting area, complete with a fireplace, it felt more like we were staying in an apartment than a hotel. We enjoyed the hotel especially on Saturday morning; cooked up a hot breakfast, sipped on coffee and Baileys then spent an hour or so enjoying the gorgeous outdoor pool and hot tub. We didn’t get a chance to go back for an evening dip, but did take a walk through and we were tempted to ditch our dinner plans – I mean just look at it!

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Friday night was reserved for a visit to the inaugural Banff Beer Festival, put on by Alberta Beer Festivals the same lovely people who organize Beer Fest and Oktoberfest in  Calgary and Edmonton. Now, have been to both in Calgary, and while I enjoy them and will go again – I mean, there IS craft beer – this was something else. Held at the beautiful Cave and Basin, there was just a different air about it, kind of a welcoming, backyard party version of the original.

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As we were staying in Canmore, we hopped on one of the local Canmore to Banff busses, which was quite convenient. The shuttle bus for the beer festival itself was much appreciated to get us the rest of the way up.

In the heated outdoor tent, a musician played at the entrance and cocktail tables lined the outer edges. The breweries, which were set up in the middle, each had plenty of space, so it was easy to stand and chat with them about their beers. The outdoor area stayed quiet due to it being such a cold night, but I saw the vision of it, it’s a shame it couldn’t be enjoyed. The food was a bit pricey, as it seems to be at all festivals, so once we had tried all the beers we had wanted, so we decided to should move along for a more substantial meal.

Banff Ave Brewing was an obvious choice; especially since the shuttle bus took us right to their doorstep. Located in the heart of Banff and run by the Bear Hill group, naturally they provide quality. They also make a killer Buffalo Chicken sandwich; just thinking about it makes my mouth water! One thing I was not aware of until this night, having always sat near the windows in the past, was the pile of board games to play! As a result, we had a few quite intense rounds of dominoes after dinner before heading back to Canmore.

Saturday lunch we headed to the Grizzly Paw Brew pub in advance of our tour of the new brewery, It’s quite the local favourite in Canmore and is a must stop on the way back to Calgary after any Canmore or Banff area hike. If you have been there in the past, as I have many times, it is worth noting that they seem to have upped their food game, a lot! We always went for the beer and the location, but now we will also be going for the food – trifecta!
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The tour was a nice treat; not all breweries have such beautiful new equipment. The large windows throughout the top floor made for a stunning view as well. Our tour guide was informative and casual, happy to answer any questions and let people take their time. It was a large tour group, mostly consisting of guests for one woman’s birthday, and those gals were having a blast! Afterwards, we each had a pint in the front bar and all somehow ended up picking up some Grizzly paw paraphernalia.


Thus concludes our weekend of beer-filled fun – we were grateful to have the opportunity for such a great weekend, beautiful people, beer, food and snazzy hotel room to boot – Thank you Grizzly Paw – We had a blast!

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