Get To Know Village Brewery in Calgary, AB
Village Brewery carries unique and sentimental beers that honor the beer community. Get to the brewery and why craft beer is so important!
By Emma Zhao on Aug. 10, 2022
Craft brewing is becoming a vital organ in every community. As the popularity of unique and homemade beer is steadily increasing, microbreweries are finding spaces within their community to make a difference.
A local brewery in Calgary values the importance of their community. Its namesake, Village Brewery, is just one of the many ways they recognize their community.
Without further ado, let’s take a dive into the lively and vivacious Village Brewery!
About Village Brewery
Village Brewery was founded in 2011 and sold their first kegs in December of that year. The brewery has a significant reputation as an event-based company, and has sponsored and hosted thousands of events since its start.
During the time of its creation, Village Brewery had a focus on introducing craft beer to a traditional macro-beer drinking community. By introducing approachable craft beers to the brewing community, Village Brewery was able to draw in a loyal customer base.
Overtime, the brewery has been able to create and experiment with new and exciting beers. Initially launching with only two beer styles, Village Brewery has been able to branch out with various lines of small releases, a line of ciders, and even non-alcoholic options.
Throughout all this, Village Brewery cites the supports of their community, according to Jeremy McLaughlin, the operations manager.
“Village has always held our community closely,” he said. “Part of our core beliefs are that if you support your community, they will support you.”
About Jeremy McLaughlin
McLaughlin started at Village Brewery in Feb. 2013 as a production brewer. Two years later, he was promoted to the role of Head of QA. This was centered around building a robust program to ensure the quality of the beer is as high as it can be.
He later became the head brewer while also maintaining control in the QA area. “This allowed a concise vision to be applied to all of production,” he said.
He finally became the operations manager in 2020, where he guides their operations department leads (Brewing, QA, Packaging & Distribution) and provides strategy for the company.
The process of making beer
“A widely misunderstood part of being a brewer is that people think brewers ‘make beer’,” said McLaughlin. Instead, brewers really only make wort. Yeast makes beer.
Worts are a sugary liquid containing hops, made from wheats like barley, which yeast is added to. They are typically steeped at a specific temperature so that the starch from the wheats can turn into sugar. From there, water is added to the mixture, which makes a wort.
The mixture is than fermented for a specific length, and requires temperature control, depending on the style of the beer. The yeast and hops is later removed (a process known as filtration) at varying levels, again, depending on style. It’s then packages and served to eager beer consumers.
How does Village Brewery make beer?
“Idea’s for brands, projects, or recipes start from anyone at the company,” said McLaughlin. “But then [they] need to get formalized and fit into a production/release schedule.”
McLaughlin works with a small team of talented individuals, including Jackson Stuart, brand manager, who creates the name and artwork, and Scott Nijman, the head of brewing, who along with McLaughlin, works on finding a specific brewer for the project.
The team will brainstorm on style ideas once the brewer has been assigned, who will work with McLaughlin on making it fit the Village brand by finding the key differentiation points for their beer (process changes, ingredients, styles, etc.)
“Once we are all aligned, we have the brewer draft a recipe and we schedule the brew dates and packaging dates,” said McLaughlin.
What makes Village Brewery special?
As Village Brewery approaches its 11th anniversary at the end of 2022, McLaughlin believes that the brewery has defined new boundaries for craft beer in Alberta.
” While doing this, I am incredibly proud of our team and the standard of beer,” he said. “Village standards for consistency and quality.”
Amongst that, their ability to foster and uplift community members is a defining factor of the brewery’s success.
“Values for our company are centered around supporting our community, demonstrating respect for others, being inclusive of everyone, encouraging a strong teamworking mentality, fostering creativity, and emphasizing quality in all aspects of what we do,” said McLaughlin.
In fact, Village Brewery put their appreciation of community members into their beers. They’ve created a mosaic collection of beers that showcase faces of their community on the label.
“Collaborations are vital for the community,” said McLaughlin. “This does not necessarily mean working with a neighboring brewery, but means pairing with associations and community projects to drive attention towards events or initiative we believe in.”
The brewery has paired with various community efforts, one of which being constant collaborations with Calgary Pride. These included Pink Boots Society, Old’s College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Program, and their own Village Gardener program, which has been providing funding for local community gardens with the help of ATB for 9 years.
“Years ago, we planted hops around the city and have been making a beer every year with them,” said McLaughlin.
Over the next few years, he hopes that the brewery will “remain innovative and not become stale or lazy with creativity.”
What to try at Village Brewery
“Our new line of exploratory beers that are released in small batches are where brew teams’ passion lives right now,” said McLaughlin. “A mainstay in that line is called Binge Watch, and I highly recommend it.”
It’s a hazy New Zealand pale ale underlined by grapefruit, pine and white wine notes. “Instead of loading someone with high ABV options, we chose to go with a 4.5% offering, which really adds a benefit if you are planning on driving,” he said.
For Village Brewery’s mainstream beers, he recommends the Mighty Lager because of its simplicity.
Other than that, anything in the Cider and CRFT lineup is also a good option for anyone new to the brewery, according to McLaughlin.
Village Brewery’s Legacy
Like its namesake, McLaughlin identifies that Village Brewery’s lasting impression is to be placed on the community.
“Everyone knows how bad the last few years have been, with economic volatility, COVID leading the charge in ways people have been struggling,” he said. “Now, more than ever, people need a beacon of stability, hope, and positivity.”
The communal and social powers that beer possesses is something to be utilized in maintaining a friendly and supportive environment.
“I truly hope that some people out there can detach from their problems over having a beer with friends and family and am happy knowing that Village can help spark those conversations,” he said. “I also know that our approach and honesty in how we make beer will be consistent. We are a small business and there are real people hand making every part of the process that is making beer, from inception to selling.”
For more information on Village Brewery, check out their website here.
To find a local brewery near you, check out JustBeer’s brewery guide.
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