The month of June could sometime involve a wedding, a graduation, and maybe the start of warm weather. But, in The Home Vintner family, there is ALWAYS beer.
A while ago Pat mentioned that many people are really starting to “get” beer. There was nothing to back up that fact more decisively than the buzzing, energetic 2011 version of Calgary International BeerFest on the 28th-29th of May. The first thing I noticed about the lively masses at the Big Four was, well yes, their liveliness, but that wasn’t all due to the copious sampling that had been going on all evening. Most everyone there seemed to be in the 18 to 35 age bracket. I’d be willing to bet that the young, active and hip crowd are the fastest growing demographic of discerning beer drinkers. Discerning being key, as the microbrewery explosion is most certainly in full swing. No one, it seems, wants to drink the swill our dads (or granddad’s) did.
Being no stranger to higher end beer coolers around town, I was blown away by the number of craft breweries I had never heard of, mostly from smaller centres in BC and the north western US. I also discovered that the province of Saskatchewan has its very own microbrewery, Paddock Wood Brewing Company out of Saskatoon. I loved their London Porter, so rich and creamy, and so much more nutritious than a black coffee! On the other end of the colour scale, there was much evidence that the so-called “white” beers are gaining in popularity, among them Robson Street’s Hefeweizen, Mill St. Brewery’s Belgian Wit, and the amusingly-labelled “Farmer’s Tan” by Brewster’s Brew Pub. With all these choices, plus hundreds more I didn’t even get to try, no one should EVER have to drink lousy beer again.
Thankfully, more and more people are demanding that the ingredients used in brewing be of the highest quality, and are willing to pay for the cost of small batches and purity of the final product. If the popularity of this year’s BeerFest is any indication (both nights sold out) the “real beer” industry is gaining a huge following, in leaps and bounds!