Pub Talk

Bear Hill Brew Crew Long Weekend Part 1

With summer coming to a close we have time for one last road trip. Use this Labour Day weekend to head out on the open road and visit the Bear Hill Brew Crew. BTW, it doesn’t have to be this long weekend. Any long weekend will do.

Bear Hill Brew Crew Long Weekend Part 1

So you might want to get a couple of buddies and/or girlfriends together for this one because it does require some significant driving and I always encourage driving safely and drinking responsibly. Bring some tents and rustic it up or stay in a nice hotel whatever you choose this trip is a blast!

This trip is designed with the idea that you are leaving from Calgary, but it can also work from various other places in Alberta. Before we leave, a brief history…

In 2012, Bear Hill Brew Company was officially established as the umbrella for Jasper Brewing Co.(2005), Banff Ave. Brewing Co.(2010), Wood Buffalo Brewing Co.(2013) and Last Best Brewing & Distilling (2014). Located in different communities around Alberta, these craft breweries unite under the slogan: Creating Community-focused Beer Culture. They aim to:

“create superior quality hand crafted beer, food with attitude, unique beverages, fun customer service and treat our employees like family.”

So they make a great product, treat their employees and customers with respect and the cherry on top, they try to be as environmentally friendly as possible by practicing water and energy conservation, bottle recycling and composting used grains and hops. You can read more details on their Environment Page. Now who wouldn’t want to support establishments like that? Their menus are a fantastic combination of foods created using their beers like beer cheese fondue and uniquely Canadian cuisine elements like meats such as elk, venison and bison. All ingredients are locally sourced and provide just the right amount of twist on your usually pub food to give it a creative and contemporary edge, but still give you the warm comfort food feeling of your neighbourhood pub. FYI Vegetarians there are lots of nice options for you as well, so you don’t feel left out.

Our first stop is Banff Avenue Brewing Co. Set up camp or check in to your hotel and head for dinner and drinks, of course. Located right on the main drag in Banff. On Aug 14, 2016, they celebrated their 500th brew! Yes, that is also 500 kilos of grain in one vat.

500th brew at Banff Ave.
Image by: Banff Ave. Brewing Co.


While I love their Lower Bank Head Pilsner and their Pond Hockey Pale Ale, I always check what’s on their community tap. Community tap is a rotating special brew for a cause and $1 from every pint or bottle goes to help a worthy local charity. The most recent ones being:

“Community Tap: B-B-B-Benny & The Pets BVSPCA Red Ale 4.6%ABV 30IBU
A malt-driven American Red Ale with subtle pine & citrus notes and a gentle hop bitterness. This beer finishes sweeter with hints of toffee and spice. $1 of every pint and bottle sold will be donated to the Bow Valley SPCA. This beer is made after Benny who is a beautiful shepherd cross that has been living at the BVSPCA for 4 or his 7 years on this planet. He is the longest running tenant of the facility and we want to find him a forever home!

Community Tap: Walk A Mile ISA 4.2%ABV, 30IBU
Our collaboration brew with The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company. This is a single hopped (Belma) ISA with refreshing hints of strawberry and melon. $1 of every pint and bottle sold will be donated to Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Bow Valley.”

OMG! They both sound so good, I hope they are still around by Labour Day, so we can try them! Plus if it’s for a good cause I don’t have to make a decision, I’ll have both please! Check their site for updates.

After a good night sleep and stops at Lake Louise, Miette Springs or my favourite the Columbia Icefields stay over the night in Jasper and hit the Jasper Brewing Company. We love their Jasper the Bear Ale and Athabasca Amber, but currently their seasonal is Blueberry Vanilla Ale which sounds great to me. I’m also a cheese fiend, so being there without having their warm buttered soft pretzel with beer cheese fondue and beer mustard would be like a sin. It’s the beer lovers trinity, in my opinion. I love the fact that they serve this appetizer at 3 out of the 4 restaurants (each makes it with their own beer, so it varies slightly), I never have to be without beer cheese mmmmmm….).

Warm Soft Pretzel with Beer Cheese Fondue and Beer Mustard
Image by: Banff Brewing Co.


Now get a good night sleep because tomorrow is a long 8 hour drive, as we head north to Wood Buffalo Brewing Co. up in Fort Mac, in Bear Hill Brew Crew Long Weekend Part 2.

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