World Egg Day
In The Glass: Alberta Craft Beer  2022 Unity Brew
Bits 'N Bites
Restaurant Spotlight: Cilantro+Chive (Lacombe, Red Deer)
Chef Profile: Quinn Staple (Hotel Arts Group, Calgary)
Featured Recipe: Alberta Lentil, Barley & Meatball Soup
Meet a Brewer: Joel Field (Citizen Brewing, Calgary)
Featured Partner: Alberta Small Brewers Association

World Egg Day 2022: Eggs for a better life

On Friday 14 October, egg fans worldwide will celebrate the power of the egg and all its nutritional, environmental and societal benefits.

The global event, celebrated on the second Friday of October every year, welcomes everyone to honour the unique contribution eggs make to supporting people around the world.

World Egg Day was established at Vienna 1996, when it was decided to celebrate the power of the egg on the second Friday in October each year. Since then, egg fans around the world have thought up new creative ways to honour this incredible nutrient powerhouse, and the day of celebration has grown and evolved over time.

Among the most nutritious foods on the planet, one large egg provides 13 essential vitamins and minerals and 6g of protein, making this perfect package a healthy and affordable addition to the diets of people of all ages.

Many of the nutrients found in eggs are commonly under-consumed yet are required as part of a healthy diet to help you perform at your best and avoid serious health issues.

Key nutrients include choline, supporting brain development and function; vitamin A for eye health, healthy skin and immune function; and vitamin D, which plays an essential role in bone health. Eggs are also packed with high-quality protein, essential for the strength and repair of muscle and tissue.

Along with their nutritional value, eggs are the most environmentally sustainable and affordable animal-source protein available, helping support families around the world as well as the planet itself.

Learn more

In the Glass: Alberta Craft Beer

These days, it feels like craft breweries have popped up in almost every town in Alberta. While major cities like Calgary boast large amounts of breweries (Tourism Calgary promotes over 40 of them), smaller rural towns are becoming hot spots for local craft beer and community support.  Towns like St. Paul, Turner Valley, Lacombe, and Innisfail are popping up as must-visit communities for any craft beer lovers. Ale Trails are becoming quite popular, encouraging exploration of these off-the-beaten-path towns and landscapes. You are hard-pressed to find a tourism destination that isn't promoting craft beer in their promotions, but it's not really that surprising.

Alberta’s land is made up of natural resources that make for exceptional beer. The water, soil, and climate all work together to create ideal growing conditions. Alberta barley has a reputation for being among the best in the world. In fact, only 20% meets the strict standards needed to maintain our reputation. Brewers from around the globe source their barley here. Long, warm days and cool evenings make up the growing season, and give us naturally healthier barley with a cleaner flavour. The rivers and lakes that run through the province aren’t just beautiful. The hard water has a mineral content that gives our ales a fuller, more flavourful taste. With all that at our fingertips, it makes perfect sense that Alberta has become a hot spot for craft beer activity in recent years.

Back in 2013, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission eliminated the minimum production capacity requirements, making it easier to start up a manufacturing business. Before then, manufacturers had to produce a minimum capacity of 5,000 hectolitres a year for brewers, which made it nearly impossible for a craft brewery to open in Alberta.  By dropping the minimum production capacity, a craft beer boom hit the province. Hard. Alberta went from about 13 breweries in 2013, to 137 small manufacturers (current). 

While the industry has been growing, it still makes up only about 15% of the beer market share here in Alberta.  This is a significant increase, as it held about 10% back in 2017.  It still has a long way to go to compete with the likes of our western neighbours, British Columbia, which currently hold about 30% of the province's total beer sales (strongest in Canada).  They have had longer to expand their market though, with three decades of slow and steady growth, with a mini-boom in the 1990s. They did also see a resurgence over the last decade as well, growing from around 50 to more than 150 (with metropolitan Vancouver home to almost 80 of them). 

But just because they have more years of maturity, doesn't mean that Alberta isn't a force to be reckoned with. In fact, two of the last three years have seen Brewery of the Year at the Canadian Brewing Awards have gone to Alberta breweries (Common Crown Brewing in 2020, and The Establishment Brewing in 2021), in addition to a plethora of medals from other Alberta breweries.  Turner Valley's Fahr Brewing even won World's Best Bavarian Style Hefeweiss at the 2020 World Beer Awards.

To celebrate Alberta's exceptional craft breweries, join in the festivities of Alberta Craft Beer Week, which takes place every October (this year it runs the 14th to the 22nd), where breweries across the province will be celebrating in their own style.  Keep an eye on the ASBA website for the events and specials that will be running throughout the week. Raise a glass of your favourite Alberta beer and the amazing farmers and brewers!

Sources: Alberta Small Brewers Association, BC Ale Trail, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis

Beer in Canada

Beer is Canada’s most popular alcohol beverage, followed by wine and spirits. Brewing is one of Canada’s oldest industries and Canadian brewers today hold an 85% share of the domestic beer market. Canada has many competitive advantages in making world-class beers: proximity to malt barley, large freshwater supply, educated workforce and more than 10 million local beer drinkers. 

Beer continues to have a substantial impact on Canada’s economy. Conference Board of Canada figures show beer supports 149,000 Canadian jobs, with a labour income of $5.3 billion while contributing $13.6 billion to Canada’s GDP. This impact is due in large part to the domestic nature of Canada’s beer industry. In 2020, 85% of the beer consumed in Canada was brewed in Canada.

The Canadian brewing industry continues to be an environmental leader. Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in brewing facilities have declined by 57.3%. Over the same time period, energy use in brewing facilities went down by 48.1%. Company initiatives aimed at improving production practices to reduce our industry’s environmental footprint have contributed to these impressive improvements.

Source: Beer Canada

Craft Beer FAQs

Q: What does "craft beer" actually mean?
A: While there are varying definitions, "craft beer" refers to small, independent breweries. The Brewers' Association defines "small" as producing 6 million barrels of beer or less per year, and "independent" as less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Q: What is the difference between an ale and a lager?
 An Ale is fermented in a warm situation where the yeast floats to the top of the fermenter. A Lager on the other hand is fermented in a cold scenario where the yeast remains at the bottom. The brewing process for an Ale can be as quick as 7 days while a Lager typically takes much longer. In general a lager tastes cleaner, smoother and crisper than an ale but a broader range of flavours can be brought out in an Ale.

Q: How long will a craft beer last before going bad?
 Most craft beers will last for up to 6 months if kept in a cool dark place. Certain higher Alcohol content beers such as Barley Wines and imperial stouts can be aged for several years though as their flavours will develop.

Q: How many beer styles are there?
A: As the world of craft beer is constantly evolving, so is the number of recognized beer styles.  The most commonly referenced Beer Styles Guide is published by the Brewers Association, which is used in many international competitions (including the World Beer Cup), as well as the course material for those studying for Cicerone certification.  Each year in early spring, the Brewers Association reviews and updates their recognized Beer Styles based on industry evolutions.  The most recent version, published in February of 2022, lists over 150 distinct styles, from more commonly known styles such as American-Style IPAs to more emerging styles like Ginjo Beer (made from Sake-style yeast). 

Q: What is a Cicerone?
A: The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today's wide range of beers. To claim the title of Cicerone, one must earn the trademarked title of Certified Cicerone® or hold a higher certification. Those with a basic level of expertise gain recognition by earning the first-level title Certified Beer Server. Only those who have passed the requisite test of knowledge and tasting skill can call themselves a Cicerone. 

Q: Why is beer not considered vegan?
A: Beer does not contain any animal products, but some English style beer is processed using isinglass, gelatin, glycerin or casein which all come from animals. German and Belgium beers using traditional methods of brewing are vegan. As a rule of thumb: Vegans should stick to German or Belgium brews.

Q: I have never tried craft beer. How do I even start to explore this world?
A: It is never too late to try something new! Our local craft breweries are passionate about craft beer, and love to share it with others, especially those who have never experienced it before!  We recommend heading to a local craft brewery, pull up a seat at the taproom bar, and or start up a conversation with your server.  Let them know your regular go-to beers (or flavours that you like), and they can help to recommend some of their brews that might be to your liking. Tasting flights (usually 3-5 small glasses with 4-6oz pours) are a great way to sample several different styles at once. They want to help you find something that you will enjoy, so don't be afraid to ask for a taste before you commit to a full pint! 

Sources: Brewers Association, BeerMeBC, Cicerone Certification Program

Ways Explore Craft Beer in Alberta

  • Go directly to the source: the brewery. A quick online search will show you breweries in your area (or closest to you). With over 120 in Alberta, there is likely to be one not too far! Check if they have a brewery tour available too - it's a great way to learn about the beer making process and gives you a chance to peek behind the curtains!
  • Head to your favourite liquor store, and ask them to show you their craft beer section. Don't have one? Any Alberta liquor retailer can bring them in, so sometimes all you need to do is ask!
  • Looking for a specific beer? Use Liquor Connect to help you find what you are looking for.
  • Many regions and communities have developed beer trails or guides to help craft beer enthusiasts to explore their area through beer.  Here's a few of our favourites:
  • Head to your favourite restaurant that uses local ingredients - chances are that they will have Alberta craft beer on the menu as well!  Not sure where to go? Looking at Alberta On The Plate Alumni can help you to find somewhere with both delicious food and drink!

2022 Unity Brew: Dry Hopped Lager

The field to glass contributions of Alberta's small brewers make Alberta beer some of the best in the world. Through creativity, passion, and all things good, the 2022 Unity Brew reflects this exceptional industry.

The small brewers of Alberta have united at Medicine Hat Brewing Co. to create a lager, brewed with Kviek yeast and dry hopped with Eclipse, a newer varietal Australian hop. The Eclipse shine through with notes of citrus peels and pine needles.  Using Krispy from Escarpment Labs, this year’s Unity Brew is a style they don’t usually have the time to commit to, but can!  Aiming to demonstrate how craft/small brewers can brew something similar to the larger competitors on the market, this lager will hopefully take the place of what you or your parents drank in high school. 

Learn more

Bits 'N Bites

Blindman Bier Haus Oktoberfest at Canyon Ski Resort

Based on the original German Oktoberfest, our Oktoberfest is a celebration of local community and local beer! Come dressed up in your Lederhosen or Drindl dress to this fun, social event featuring live music, local craft beers from Blindman Brewing, and authentic German Cuisine. The lodge will be transformed into the Blindman Bierhaus! This is a family friendly event and there will be prizes for those dressed up.  Learn more...
Celebrate the best in AB craft beer at Alberta Beer Awards

The 5th annual Alberta Beer Awards will be taking place Tuesday, October 18th at the Stockmen's Pavilion at Westerner Park in Red Deer.  This year they celebrate with more than 60 breweries participating, more than 420 entries and 32 beer categories. With the expertise of BJCP and Cicerone judges, they hold the awards to the highest standard.  Learn more...
Prairie Grid Dinner Series returns to YYC Oct 21 & 22
Presented by Rise Up Calgary, Eat North and Carter Cadillac, Prairie Grid: Through The Lens will see five chefs from Edmonton and Calgary collaborative on a multi-course dinner menu complemented by interesting cocktails made with Prairie-produced spirits, short food films, photography, music and more.  Learn more...
Pumpkin Fest returns to Granary Road October 22 & 23
The fourth annual Pumpkin Fest returns to Granary Road, featuring a pumpkin chucking contest (contestants create their own machine to launch pumpkins are far as possible), costume contest, games, music and more!  And of course, pumpkins will be available for purchase.  Learn more...

Cilantro+Chive (Lacombe & Red Deer)

Lacombe: 5021 - 50 Street, 403.782.2882  |  Red Deer: 1927 - 50 Avenue, 587.272.2880

Cilantro and Chive originally opened in 2012 in Ponoka, relocating to Lacombe in 2015, and opened a second location in Red Deer in 2020. 

“From the moment we opened in Ponoka we knew that supporting local businesses and farmers was big for us, as well as the craft beer scene,” says Owner Rieley Kay. When they first opened, they were working with three craft breweries, they now boast one of the largest craft beer selections in all of Alberta. Their support of the local craft breweries has led to them receiving Restaurant/Pub of the Year at the Alberta Beer Awards a record four times. (They are actually the only restaurant to win this award. Ever.). Voted on by the Alberta craft brewing industry, it recognizes the establishment that best supports the industry.


MEET A CHEF: Quinn Staple
(Hotel Arts Group, Calgary)

Chef Quinn Staple cut his teeth at Canmore’s renowned Crazyweed Café. He then joined the Raw Bar team at Hotel Arts for a refreshing Asian-inspired change in style before conducting a stage at the distinguished Alinea, Grant Achatz’s modernist three-Michelin star restaurant in Chicago.

Quinn was also part of the culinary team at Olives and a few other Calgary restaurants before taking the helm at Yellow Door Bistro over 10 years ago. Showcasing his experience in French cuisine with contemporary influences and modern techniques, he has remained a driving force behind the success of the award-winning restaurant.

Alberta Lentil, Barley & Meatball Soup

 With soup season in full swing, it's time to break out rich and hearty recipes, like this all-occasion soup from Alberta Pulse Growers. Featuring lentils, barley, and meatballs, there's a hefty punch of protein in every cup!  Get the recipe

Joel Field (Citizen Brewing, Calgary)

Photo: Citizen Brewing Company Facebook

With a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Joel moved to Vancouver in 2013 where he fell in love with the craft beer industry.  Combining his love for science and beer, he enrolled in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s inaugural Brewing and Brewery Operations diploma program, where he graduated in 2016. Starting at Citizen Brewing Company in 2018, Joel quickly moved up through the ranks to the position of Head Brewer, where he has been happily innovating, and creating delicious new brews ever since.

Keep reading...

Alberta Small Brewers Association

The Alberta Small Brewers Association (ASBA) represents 75 per cent of Alberta’s craft breweries, including taprooms, brewpubs, contract brewers, and breweries in planning. Working closely with Alberta’s agriculture industry, Alberta’s craft brewers showcase the very best raw materials in the world with their national and international award-winning beer.

Beer culture is not just about the brewers. It is everyone who contributes to the community, from the farmers and maltsters to the retailers and bars. And everyone who chooses to drink Alberta beer.

 Alberta’s craft brewers are as open as the land their ingredients come from. That collaborative, adventurous spirit is what makes our beers so diverse and interesting. And super delicious. Whatever your tastes are—hoppy, smooth, full-bodied, citrusy, refreshing—it is all here, and it is all good.

Learn more...

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