A few months ago, I received an invite from the Beer Guys YYC, in my role as CAMRA Alberta Media Coordinator, to go for a beer and discuss an “idea.” Intrigued by the vagueness of the request and, let’s be honest here, any excuse for a good beer, I happily accepted. The idea, as you may have already guessed, was for YYC Beer Week, an event with similar format to the other “YYC Weeks” in Calgary; Burger, Pizza, Poutine and the likes. After a resounding yes from the group that their idea was indeed excellent, we talked through various concepts and formats. These needed to be both feasible with their short planning timeframe, minimal operational impact on breweries, pubs and restaurants, and most of all a fun and engaging showcase of awesome local beer and the places that sell it!
So the Beer Guys YYC took this all away, did what I can tell was a hell of a lot of hard work, and have come up with a plan that I am super pumped to be able to enjoy in a few days. Plus, a beer-loving friend is coming back for an ultra-short visit and my husband and I promised to plan all the beer activities for him, so thanks for covering that for me guys!
The whole week sounds like I’ve died and gone to beer heaven, but here are a few things I am particularly pumped about:
1) The Official Launch Party at National 10 – on June 5
It was sold out in ten days, so apparently I’m not the only one! Not surprisingly, this means they are expecting quite the crowd; it will be a great opportunity for networking with industry folks and chatting with fellow Calgary beer enthusiasts! Rumour has it, there will be some awesome prizes too. Fittingly, The Alberta Craft Beer Guide has chosen the venue to launch their summer issue which will be a very exciting addition to the evening!
2) All the beery cheesy goodness
Village Brewery and Springbank Cheese Co. are joining forces for a beer and cheese pairing. Six pairings actually, so six opportunities to shove cheese and beer in your face hole, in a totally dignified manner, of course. You also get a brewery tour and a pint glass, all for just $30. Plus, proceeds to charity; how can you go wrong.
For those who can never get enough cheese, Tool Shed Brewing is also doing a beer and cheese pairing with Say Cheese Fromagerie. They promise to sample some beers they have hidden away (barrel aged, perhaps?) as well as some newbies, and they will also be including a brewery tour in their $30 admission.
In addition to scheduled events, Bank and Baron’s special for the week is a Beer Fondue which they are making using a summer beer collaboration that they did with Big Rock Brewery. Trolley 5 also got cheesy with their special, a Mac n’ Cheese with a porter infused sauce. Just so much cheese. It’s excellent.
3) The support of local charities
One of the only things I like more than drinking beer and eating cheese, is doing both for a good cause. What I am especially smitten with is the fact that everyone’s sharing the love; depending on the location, donations are going to The Calgary Drop in Centre, Progressive Alternatives Society Calgary, Branch Out Foundation, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary Food Bank, Brown Bagging for Kids, and more. So if anyone asks why you’re out every night that week eating and drinking delicious things, you can just tell them you’re supporting charities, duh!
4) The Grande Finale Cask Battle at Craft Beer Market on 10th – on June 9
Mmmmm casks… A cask night is always good some fun, and this one promises to be EPIC! What better way to cap off a week than to tap a bunch of one-time-only creations. I always find casks can be hit or miss, but that is the beauty of them, they give brewers a chance to play and be creative. As a consumer, I also appreciate the opportunity to taste hop varieties and flavours that I may not be used to. As a bit of a beer geek, I also enjoy the chance to judge them; which you will be able to do through the JustBeer app.
5) Lastly, the overwhelming choices of things to do throughout the week
For the first year running, I was initially very impressed with the current count of 30+ Calgary locations to get your beer week on! And then, I was completely overwhelmed. The Coup is creating an ice cream inspired by Black and Tan using a stout and cream ale – in whatever an activated charcoal cookie cup is. Four Points Sheraton Calgary West is opening up their ‘Best Brews and BBQ’ event, which is normally a weekly event for guests, can we take a moment and think about how cool that is! Attendees get a free pint of Wild Rose Velvet Fog with some barbeque appetizers. Native Tongues is serving drunken salsa, Pig and Duke has beer chicken wings, and Midtown is making some gigantic amazing burger topped with a mini corn dog. Lastly, drumroll please…Beer Revolution is switching out their ENTIRE menu to Calgary beers!
That was just a few and there is more to be announced yet! Like I said, overwhelmed.
I wrote this before talking to the guys, and interestingly, “overwhelmed” was just the word they used to describe the support they have received from industry and the public. “We weren’t sure what the reaction would be,” they admitted. “The response thus far has been incredible, and nerves aside, we can’t wait to launch the event, and experience the week ourselves. We are very lucky to live and work in a city whose energy and enthusiasm allows for events like this to take place.”
So, how should you make sure you don’t miss a beat, or a beer, during #YYCBeerweek?