Images from the Glenbow Archives and … someone’s basement
I never set out to write a history of Alberta beer with my book Tapping the West. But you can’t talk about why things are the way they are without talking about the way they once were, so a bit got in there. (I’ve heard that there may be a comprehensive history in the works, and I might nudge the potential author to get on with writing, because that’s a book I’d like to read.)
Part of what got in there was about the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company, or let’s just say Calgary Beer for short.
I was reminded of this aspect of the book (I’ve forgotten much of what’s in there, actually, because I am old) by the recent revival of the iconic brand by Village Brewery, just in time for the 2021 Calgary Stampede. Then I also remembered that I have pictures sitting sad and unseen in a dark corner of the cloud.
So, here, for the first time ever, I reveal those pictures!
OK – there aren’t a lot and they aren’t spectacular, but I do think they say something about the path that beer would take in Alberta over the decades to come, and how something like Calgary Beer would ultimately shape the craft beer community we know and love today.
Thank you to the Glenbow Museum for sharing their archives with me (they would with anyone, of course) and Spencer Wheaton, who allowed me to see his amazing personal collection of historical Calgary Beer artifacts (he’d probably do that for anyone as well because he is one nice dude).
Oh, and what exactly is my take on the impact of Calgary Beer on craft beer today? It’s bound to shock and astonish you, but you’ll have to read the book to find out!
In the meantime, please enjoy these striking images for free.
Getting the craft beer story outside the craft beer bubble
I think craft beer is an amazing story in Alberta. I wouldn’t have written a book on the subject if I didn’t.
I has it all: passionate Albertans, entrepreneurship, local ingredients, creativity, growth, risk, national and international acclaim.
This is why I try to get that story into a wide variety of forums, rather than just craft beer media outlets. (I know I’m not the only one doing this; just look at Jason van Rassel’s work in Edify every month.) I really believe that the makings of our craft beer industry show a new way forward in this province. Just sayin’.
I was very pleased, then, to be able to tell that story in the spring 2021 issue of AMA Insider. In addition to editor Craig Moy, I owe thanks to
If you like, you can read it online, where the entire issue is posted. The review is on page 48. It’s short but sweet, and kindly recognizes that the book is about more than just some dude trying to pass off brewery-hopping as research. Not that I didn’t. Just not for 300-plus pages. Maybe only 30 pages.
In any case, I am very grateful that the editors made space for me in the issue, and that they enjoyed the book.