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The Bar Towel on the road: CALGARY, ALBERTA - 2002 UPDATE


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Special thanks go to Screw2000 for writing this Calgary report.

By popular demand, here is a short addendum to last year's Calgary report.

1. Brewster's Brewing Co. (11th Avenue SW near 8th Street)

Decor: Neighbourhood pub meets ski lodge. Huge inside. "Home Theatre" room with 4 TVs and a big screen (for watching Monday Night Football and playing QB1).

Tap selection hasn't changed since last year. They have a sampler (five 6 oz. glasses) for 6 bucks.

Brewpubs in Calgary seem to be thriving.

On this trip, the author tried:

  • Lethbridge Pilsner: Nicely hopped Czech-style pils. Very drinkable, comparable to Czechvar.
  • Palliser Pale Ale: Alleged Cascade hops and American IPA style. Might have caught a bad batch, the beer tasted sweet and not very hoppy at all.
  • Bighorn Bitter: Low carbonation. Pretty much your generic English bitter.
  • Blue Monk Barley Wine: Decent enough, not very spicy this time around.
  • Shaughnessy Stout: Light-bodied, like a porter. Wonderful coffee flavour. My favorite of the night.
  • Flying Frog: Light-bodied, mild hoppiness, preferred it over the Palliser Pale Ale.

Alberta being the land of lax regulations, drink specials abound. Examples: 3.50 a pint Mondays, 12 bucks a pitcher on Thursdays. The very idea of a 60 oz. pitcher of barleywine scares me.

Food: decent, a notch above typical pub grub. Go for the 3.99 short ribs on Mondays. Pizzas are excellent.

2. Bottlescrew Bill's (10th Avenue SW near 1st Street)

Decor: More traditional cozy pub.

Beer selection: Dozens of generic import bottled beers (i.e. stuff you'd find at the LCBO), probably 80-100 different products from 10-15 counries. A dozen or so local micros (Big Rock, Brew Brothers, Alley Kat).

Also has a decent selection of single malt scotches (40-50), bourbons, vodkas, and tequilas.

Food: typical pub grub.

3. Earl's (several locations)

Decor: Changed from mahogany-panelled 1920s saloon to mahogany-panelled 1960s modern.

Beer: Still have the Albino Rhino pale ale on tap. Still an excellent easy-drinking hoppy pale ale.

Food: two notches above your typical chain restaurant, about on par with Gordon Biersch.

4. Liquor store trip

Four areas: general products, cold beer room, vintage wine room, "stupid money" wine room

Inside the cold beer room:

  • 50% Molson and Labatt stuff (includes Interbrew stuff like Hoegaarden)
  • 15% generic imported (Heineken, Corona)
  • 15% Big Rock
  • 5% other Canadian (mostly Unibroue, a couple Sleeman brands)
  • 5% other West (Alley Kat, Brew Brothers)
  • 10% specialty import (some Duvel and Chimay, but a huge stock of Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Floris Ninkeberry for some strange reason)