Calgary Oktoberfest Is Gut Ja?
September 23 and 24 Bavaria came to Calgary and boy were we glad, so grab your passport and come along for the ride.
By Shira Kogut on Sep. 27, 2016
JA! It was great! I love the opportunity to get out from behind my computer and actually taste some of the beers and meet the people from the fabulous breweries we have here on JustBeer. So there I was hitting both nights of Calgary Oktoberfest with my Just Beer App in hand to remember what I had (so I can write about it later). The first night was “Ladies Night” with my friend Tina and the second night “Family Night” with my husband, dad and our family friends from Toronto. And now to Oktoberfest here we go…
Calgary Oktoberfest brought to us by the Alberta Beer Festivals team was a blast. It had that same comfortable atmosphere as Calgary International Beerfest, but I think because it was a little smaller people had more time to chat about the beers and the brewery which was nice. I felt like I came away knowing a lot more about my drink choices rather than just drinking for drinking sake (which is fun), but learning about the beers and brewers is part of my job. Isn’t it great to have a cool job? I was also impressed to see dirndls and lederhosen galore! 3 cheers to Calgary for getting into the Bavarian spirit.
As I waltzed around the hall to the Oompapa Band (not their actual name just what I called them because they were playing great traditional Bavarian music) watched the dancers and tasted away the only thing missing was a big Bavarian Pretzel in my hand. There were Wursts (German sausages) of various sorts, but there was not a Bavarian Pretzel in sight and that would have made my night! Maybe next year they can convince Cobbs or some other local bakery to make and sell giant soft Bavarian Pretzels? Yes, I know, now I’ve made you want one, so check out our article “Foods For The 16 Days of Oktoberfest for a delicious authentic recipe. I’d have also loved to try some Oktoberfest/Marzen beers, but I didn’t see any. Maybe another idea for next year?
On the other hand, I did get to try some WUNDERBAR beers, so let’s get down to what was there which was a beer enthusiasts wonderland. A lot of the new breweries from our +20 New Alberta Breweries You Should Check Out in 2016-17 list were on hand which gave me the perfect opportunity to check’em all out under one roof, but I also enjoyed some oldie but goodie classics like my favourite: Dunkelweizen from Big Rock. So without further ado…
My Top 10 Calgary Oktoberfest Beers (The Short of It)
- Fahr Away Hefeweizen (Brauerei Fahr)
- Trail Valley Chestnut Ale (Whistler Brewing)
- The White Wit (Something Brewing)
- Lead Dog Ale (Yukon Brewing)
- Post’n Bale Farmhouse Ale (Six Corners)
- Pumpkin Ale (Alley Kat)
- Old Skool (Olds College Brewery)
- Black Spruce Porter (Bench Creek)
- Chinook Saison (Banded Peak)
- Open Road (Troubled Monk)
And now for the long of it…
When they say there is something brewing they aren’t kidding. It is hard to have 3 fabulous beers, and yet award-winning Something Brewing succeeded. I tried all three of their beers: Gimmie That Nutt Brown Ale, The White Wit and the Dark Side Schwarzbier and even though they were all very different styles I thoroughly enjoyed all three. I went back for seconds of the White Wit with it’s delicious orange and coriander flavours, but apparently the rest of Calgary loved it as much as I did because there was none left, so I had another Gimmie That Nutt Brown Ale. I can’t get enough coffee, caramel and nut flavours which is why I love a brown ale, so no real disappointment there. Prost!
Brauerei Fahr, a new brewery out of Turner Valley, Alberta definitely came to impress. I’d read a great review from Booze Reviews and was really excited to get the opportunity to taste both their Fahr Away Hefeweizen and their Old Fahrt Altbier. After a brief discussion with Jochen Fahr or shall I say Dr. Jochen Fahr (he has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering), the owner and brewmaster, I learned that they are the only brewery in Canada that produces German beers according to the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Laws). I enjoyed the Altbier, but the Hefeweizen with its phenomenal banana and clove flavours was out of this world. I came back for seconds!
After reading a great review from the Beer Maven about the Whistler Brewing Company, I was determined to get to their booth as well. I tried all of their beers, but went back for seconds of their Bear Paw Honey Lager and THIRDS of their Valley Trail Chestnut Ale. This is their fall seasonal and will only be around for a limited time. With bold roasted chestnut and caramel flavours and a hint of vanilla this is definitely the perfect beer for those crisp fall nights. Despite my “Resting Bitch Face” below Ian Brooks and I were actually having a great conversation. He took the time to explain each beer to me and my guests and then asked everyone what they like, so that he could make sure our tastes were paired with the proper beers. Nobody left disappointed. Whistler Brewing was definitely a sweet stop for all of us.
Another group favourite was Bench Creek. This brewery won several awards at the 2016 Canadian International Beer Awards. They had their Naked Woodsman Pale Ale, Black Spruce Porter and White Raven IPA. After much deliberation, we decided to try all three, but it is safe to say that everybody had their own personal favourite. I enjoyed the Porter the most, my dad the IPA and my husband the Pale Ale. Family can’t agree on everything, but we did agree that it was great beer.
Another unanimous favourite was Yukon Brewing‘s Lead Dog Ale. I tried their Pumkpin Ale and their Lemon Lavender Radler as well. I was intrigued by the unique flavour combo, however none of my fellow Oktoberfesters could be convinced to try such a fruity beer. It was a little more carbonated than I expected, but I was rewarded by the taste of lavender which was so unusually delicious. I tip my Bavarian hat to Yukon for the creativity and great flavour combo.
My best advice to get the most out of attending any beer festival is be a Yes Man/Woman. Go with an open mind! Take the opportunity to be adventurous and try other styles or beers that you normally wouldn’t try if you were paying for them in a bar. You may be surprised by what you end up liking. I’d love to hear what beers you all enjoyed, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com.
If you missed this awesome beer extravaganza you can still catch the Edmonton Oktoberfest this weekend. Use our discount code justbeer15 to get a 15% discount.
Auf Wiedersehen meine Lieblinge!
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