Whether you’re cracking a cold one on a hot day, cheersing a dome foam at a Flames game after a goal, or sipping a flight at your favourite brewery, a good craft beer never disappoints. Each Market Wines location is always stocked with some of the coolest local craft beers around. Let’s chat about everything beer to help you make a choice at the beer fridge!

At Market Wines, we source quality wines from small family producers making them accessible and affordable, because we care about what you drink and where it comes from! Though Calgary isn’t the most ideal wine growing region, we love to support the little guys with good values from around the world. Even though Calgary can’t grow grapes, we do brew some exceptional beers! We work with local breweries to bring Calgarians the coolest beers from around the city and beyond.

We host a variety of events from sit-down tastings to festivals for a fun and knowledgeable date-night, celebration, or just for fun! Our tastings can include wine, beer, and spirits! We’re all about sharing stories at Market Wines, and we love to be a part of your story through your family dinners, quality time with friends, celebrations or casual Tuesday nights. Our favourite part of the job is finding you the perfect beverage for whatever the occasion, or lack thereof! 

 

How is Craft Beer Made?

Let’s start with the basics. Beer is brewed and fermented barley…most of the time. Other things can be used to make beer, such as wheat, oats and rice. Though there are way too many beer styles today, the basic process remains the same at its core. We start with malting the barley, which prepares it for brewing by soaking, germinating and drying cereal grains. This activates the enzymes in the grains that will convert the starches into sugars. To do this, the grains take a cold plunge to start the germination process. This causes enzymes to be released that convert the starches into sugar for fermentation. Drying or roasting the grains after soaking stops the germination process, and the amount of roasting that happens is directly related to the flavour profile of the finished beer. After the barley is malted, it is mixed with hot water to extract the fermentable sugars – this is called mashing. The sugary liquid that is extracted from this process is called wort. The wort is then boiled, which kills any unwanted bacteria hanging about. This is also when hops are added to the wort to start the brewing process. Hops come from the flowers of the hop plant, which primarily adds bitterness to the beer and is responsible for the various aromas and flavour notes you find in craft beer. Flavour can vary depending on which part of the boiling process the hops are added to the boiling wort. If they’re added early, your beer is going to be more bitter. The longer the hops are boiled, the more bitter the beer! If hops are added near the end of the brewing process, they contribute greatly to the flavour. Hops can impart flavors from citrus and pine to floral and herbal characteristics. After boiling, the beer is then filtered and transported to the fermentation tank. Here it will cool down and be joined by its friend, yeast, which kickstarts the fermentation process. During fermentation, the yeast eats the sugars in the cooled wort, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. After fermentation, the beer then settles down for conditioning and maturation. The timeline for this varies depending on the beer style; shorter for ales and longer for lagers. After developing a prefrontal cortex – I mean, maturing, the beer is then packaged in all of the fun labels that catch your eye in the beer fridge.

 

Hoppy Heaven

Beer can be classified into two main categories: lagers or ales. The main differences between the two are the type of yeasts that are used during the fermenting process. For ales, brewmasters use a yeast that ferments at the higher temperature, resulting in more flavour possibilities and a quicker production timeline. Ales typically have flavour notes that can be fruity, bitter, older, deeper and richer. This allows for greater variety, hence why you can find so many styles of ale in the beer fridge. Ales take around 2-5 weeks on average to produce. Ale yeast sometimes has a hard time flocculating (separating from the fermented beer and falling to the bottom of the fermentation tank to be filtered), which can result in a haziness in the beer. You see this often in Hazy IPA’s. 

 

IPA’s

The style of beer with the most variety is arguably the IPA, which stands for India Pale Ale. The age old tale of the IPA is that the British would send beer over in ships to India to quench the thirst of their troops in the 19th century. In order to preserve the beer to survive the journey, they added a bunch of hops, which acted as a natural preservative. Since then, the IPA has evolved into many different styles and is loved endlessly by hipsters around the world. Some common IPA styles you may see are the traditional British IPA, American/West Coast IPA, Hazy IPA, Belgian IPA, Milkshake IPA, and many more.

 

Lager Land 

Lagers are produced at a lower fermentation temperature, slowing down the metabolic pace of the yeast. This results in a crisp, clean and easy drinking beer with less potential for complexity of flavour. Because lagers are stored for a long period of time, this gives the yeast time to fall and make the beer nice and clear. Because of the lower temperature, it takes much longer for the beer to finish fermenting. Lagers can take anywhere between 4-12 weeks to produce. Pilsners tend to be the most popular style of lager, but you can find other styles of lager such as American lager, Helles and Bock.

 

Sours and Seasonal 

What’s the deal with sour beer? If you see ‘sour’ on your beer label, this means it was fermented with wild yeast and/or intentional addition of bacterias during fermentation that give it a sour, tart, and acidic flavour profile. These beers can take months to ferment and can develop many different types of fun and fruity flavours! 

Beer can be made in so many different styles, you shouldn’t be surprised to find some seasonally themed cans in your line of sight. We’ve seen Pumpkin Ale from Born Brewing, Summer Crush Radlers from Best of Kin, and are constantly surprised by the creativity of our brewmaster friends.

 

Some Dear Beer Friends

 

Beer selections by Market wines Calgary


At Market Wines, we work with many awesome breweries with even more awesome people. Check out some of our craft beer friends in the city:

 

Annex:

The Annex Ale Project has been around since 2015 and makes some killer brews. They are forward thinking and experimental, and are all about quality and innovation! Though their ales are awesome, don’t you dare forget about their sick non-alcoholic soda line up!

 

Born:

Born brewing will take you on an adventure with their beers. They’re all about the experience. Their small batch brews are inspired by adventure stories of the public. Founded by head brewer, Wade, their beers will make you feel all the feels.

 

Best Of Kin:

Named in fond memory of the founder’s late father, Best of Kin feels like home. With beers named Kitchen Party, Dad Beer, and Big Hat, this brewery might as well be based on a beloved family photo album.

“Our goals are simple: make the best damn beer we possibly can, so we can share it with the ones we love and raise a glass to the ones we’ve lost”. – Best of Kin

 

Cabin:

Cabin Brewing Company is a home away from home. With a rustic and retro camping adventure vibe, these beers make you feel like you’re at summer camp. Instantly relaxing but equally as fun, these guys just made some good gosh-dang beer.

 

Eighty-Eight:

In the spirit of the Calgary Olympics in 1988, this brewery is celebrating all things fun about that special time. Showcasing the diversity in Calgary, with a little bit of neon to keep it fun. Eighty-Eight is proud of their inclusivity and is the most welcoming and heartwarming spot for some gold-medal beers.

 

Establishment:

Originally a gathering place/place to lay your head for a group of friends, the original Establishment, inspired by a sign found on a snowboard trip, was pummeled by the Calgary flood of 2013. With the strength of friendship and teamwork, the Establishment Brewing Company lives on at a new location, but with the same values as the original home. Establishment features local artists on their limited edition bottles!

 

Ol Beautiful:

Ol Beautiful is a traditionalist brewery here in Calgary. They respect imperfection and the old ways of doing things. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! With insane patio space, Ol Beautiful is the perfect sunny day hang out spot.

 

Come Check Out the Beer Fridge!

Every Market Wines location has a beer fridge fully stocked with the newest and coolest craft beers in town! Pick up a four-pack of your favourites or try a handful of different styles with our huge selection of single cans. Look for the red cowboy hat stamp on our tags to find brews local to Calgary! Keep an eye on our tasting schedule as well for beer tastings and events, or plan a private beer tasting with your buddies! Visit our wine tasting events page for the tasting schedule. Cheers!