It’s not often that you find a craft brewery that’s proud to tell you that you can’t have their beer. That’s exactly what you’ll find though when you visit the Wild Rose Brewery in Calgary, Alberta. If you ask them, they’ll tell you that they started their craft brewery with the single mission of freeing themselves from “the tyranny of boring beer”. If you ask me, they’ve succeeded. The only catch is, you have to be in Alberta to get it.
Inspired by Alberta’s motto, “Strong and Free” Wild Rose brewery has been brewing a fine selection of craft beer since 1996. Because they’ve succeeded so well in that mission, they’ve had quite a bit of trouble keeping up with the demand for their beer. Because of this, they’ve made the decision to only sell their beer in their home province of Alberta. When we heard about this, we knew we had to pay them a visit and see that the “brew”haha was all about.
When we visited Wild Rose Brewery they were actually in the process of opening and moving to a new brewery location that would give them more capacity and space than their original home. If you have the chance though, I definitely recommend paying a visit to their original brewhouse and taproom. As of this writing it is still open and should be there for another year or so. The second I stepped into their original tap room, I knew that the crew at Wild Rose was serious about their beer. The space had the kind of feeling that made you want to kick back and enjoy a couple of pints. If you take a second to really look around the room, you’ll notice a collection of beer bottles from other great craft breweries around the world. They’re not just there to pay homage though. They’re lovingly referred to the team as a key component of the “research department”. How can you brew a great beer, if you don’t love beer yourself?
Stepping into what was left of the old brewing operation in the back of the taproom was a real eye opener into the roots and culture of the company. Sitting right at the center of it all was their very first piece of brewery equipment, still in use today to produce small batches.
The space was small and cramped, and I couldn’t imagine trying to get any real production out of the building. But with a love of beer, and persistence, the crew at Wild Rose was able to use this space for over a decade and build a loyal cult following. Because of their dedication and care for the craft, they’ve been able to grow out of this old space and move to a new brewery, with all the high tech bells and whistles.
If you’re worried about Wild Rose losing a part of themselves as they lose their historical original space, don’t be. I had the pleasure of tasting their full line while visiting and I can tell you that quality and craftsmanship is still their number one priority. If you are looking for something different, try their Wraspberry Ale. While it was too sweet for my palette, Lauren found it crisp and easy to drink. The raspberry infusion was unique and not overly done. The Velvet Fog also stood out as a high quality and relatively unique brew. Using a 50% wheat and barley mix, this unfiltered brew was just the right blend of citrusy and tangy you’d expect from a wheat beer.
Moving to the darker end of the spectrum two beers really stood out to me. The Barracks Brown is a classic English brown ale that goes down easy and leaves you wanting another sip of it’s espresso and chocolate notes. My favorite though, is a brew that they only have available on tap. If you are looking for some serious drinking, look for the beer named after the oil that fuels Alberta’s economy. Wild Rose’s Alberta Crude is a heavy, black oatmeal stout that goes down super smooth, with just the right amount of bite. It’s the perfect period to the end of a beer sampling flight, or just the right way to end your work day.
With a wide range of brews made with no preservatives and all natural ingredients, Wild Rose’s selection showcased balance and quality that’ll make you dream for the day they no longer say Alberta Only. Until then, mosey on over to Cowtown (that’s Calgary for the uninformed) and have yourself a brew.
Details for Wild Rose Brewery
Taproom – BUILDING AF23,
#2 – 4580 QUESNAY WOOD DR SW
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