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Deja Brew


April/May 2019


Dungeons and Dragons and Beer: Zero Issue Brewing’s game night adventures

New in town:

One of Calgary’s newest breweries is bringing old world styles new life

Family, Friends and BABES: How Laura Coles, one of Prairie Dog Brewing’s founders, is helping change the face of craft beer in Calgary

Deja Brew Magazine

Editor’s Note ing in the first place. That is leading to new and exciting experimentation, as well as great takes on traditional brews. Everyone has their own spin. And speaking of spins, how are you spending your warm, summer nights? If you’re anything like me, it’s going to be something a little on the geeky side. Maybe a couple rounds of D&D—no doubt the guys at Zero issue Brewing would love to have you stop by on one of their D&D nights at the brewery—or just curling up with a nice drink and the newest comic books I’ve picked up. We’ve got you covered on what to bring along to your nerdy good times on page 10 with the best, local, geek themed beers.


here’s nothing like springtime in Calgary. As the snow melts, and people start braving the patios, many minds turn to adventures in local beers. Those adventures are getting more and more diverse, If you’re looking for more to do, not only in the wild and wonderful there’s also Saturday afternoons at brews that local brewers are coming Bow River Brewing, where a local up with, but who is doing the brew- piper group—yes, bagpipes—prac-

tices right in the brewery. I have to wonder if the sound effects the beer. I’m willing to test this and find out, but in the meantime, check out page 5 to learn more about this brand new brewery. If you’ve got more time after that, swing by Prairie Dog Brewing’s tap house and check out the menu. Founder Laura Cole gave us the tour recently and talked about how the face of beer in Calgary is changing for the better. You can find her on page 6. After all that, I know I’d need a bit of a nap in the sun. Don’t forget the sun screen as we swing into spring. Remember, that snow on the patio is just there to keep your beer cold.

- Amanda McColl Editor in Chief

Deja Brew is Calgary’s best source on the beer and food scene in the city. The fun, pop culture focus of the magazine invites readers to enjoy their favorite brew with new local restaurants, events, and the people that make it all happen. Editor in Chief Amanda McColl

Publisher Amanda McColl

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Contents Features

5Bow • New Kids on the Block River Brewery is only just

opening up, but their base line is blowing people away. Brewer and founder Ian Binmore explains their vision and where they’re going next.

18Zero• Rolling a Natural 20 Issue Brewery is hosting

Dungeons and Dragons nights in their tap house. Get into the game with founders, brewers and geek culture • Prairie Doggin’ It enthusiasts, Kirk and Mark MacDonald. Laura Coles at Prairie Dog Brewing sees change coming for Calgary’s craft beer scene and she’s happy to be a part of the growing community.


In Every Issue

4 • BeerWheat Breakdown: Beers 10 • Far Off: Geek Culture Brews 17 • Better Together

24 • Who’s Pouring 30CRAFT • Creative Taps: guest taps 3

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Beer Breakdown

Wheat Beers By Amanda McColl

Often unfiltered, and therefore appearing hazy, wheat beers tend to be top fermented and light in color. They’ve got a deceptively full mouth-feel. That doesn’t mean they’re heavy beers, just that they have more complexity than other lighter styles, according to Dave Gingrich at Willow Park Wines and Spirits.

They’re often labeled as “white”, “wit”, “weiss” or “weizen”. This all calls back to the original Bavarian version called “hefeweizen”. It’s still popular these days, and while the original brewers probably didn’t have it with sushi, it pairs remarkably well.

Wheat beers tend to have flavors like coriander and orange peel. They’re very citrusy, which means they pair incredibly well with seafood dishes. Traditional fish and chips or calamari are great picks to go with your favorite wheat beer.


Pictured: Blind Monk Bucktooth White . Photo by Amanda McColl

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The three canoe paddles in Bow River Brewing’s logo have specific meanings. They represent the Bow River, Calgary and the city of Dresden in Germany.


ow River Brewing opened its doors just a few months ago on Dec. 5, 2018, but their beers have been years in the making. Founder, Ian Binmore and his wife have been tasting and brewing for years as a hobby, and finally decided to put all that knowledge to good use. “You can sit in a pub in any little town and learn the local styles so we can bring them here.” Everything about the brewery screams open, friendly and Binmore is paying the lessons he got forward. You can watch the brewers from the tasting bar and everyone is happy to talk over what you think about whatever you’re drinking. All questions are welcome and the conversation flows easily between brewers and customers. Whatever you’re drinking will be worth talking over. The brewery has focused so far on their main line of beers but they are quickly branching out. They started brewing their Belgium style wheat beer. Binmore‘s love of beer and brewing is not a new part of his life. He home-brewed for many years before taking the step to open the brewery.

New brewery is ready to bring its twist on tradition to Calgary

Those days even led to the name of Bow River’s Pale Ale. He was tasting his latest batch when his family came home and his kids had a story to tell. The kids had seen a horned owl swoop down on a rabbit. The car scared the owl off but they watched the rabbit take off at great speed.

“You can sit in a pub in any little town and learn the local styles so we can bring them here.” “I was talking to myself about how hoppy the beer was and they kept saying ‘just like the rabbit’, so the light went on.” Scared Rabbit Hoppy Pale Ale has been called that ever since. Binmore’s influences are unique to his family. His wife is from Germany originally and the brews of her home are obvious in the main line beers that Bow Valley is offering. Other influences are obvious too.

by Amanda McColl

The brewery hosts a local bagpiper group on Saturdays from 11:30 to 1pm for their practice. The public is welcome to sit down, have a drink and enjoy the show. That experience has even been memorialised in the packaging for the High Country Amber, a Scotch Amber style beer. The cans feature a Sasquatch playing the pipes and it’s a favorite with many of Bow River’s staff and customers. The connection to the community is in the front of Binmore’s mind as the brewery expands. “The craft beer community is a part of the city and we need to get involved in the future,” said Binmore, as he filled a growler order while entertaining the guests in the tap room. After only a few months, word is spreading about the new brewery. Several local stores are in the process of bringing the main brews into their inventory and there are new brews on the horizon. “We’re working our way into the craftier things slowly, but we’ll get there.”


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Prairie Dog Brewing founder is ch beer s


he taproom at Prairie Dog Brewery is full of light, and color, and the smell of barbecue. Family friendly isn’t what most people think of when walking into a brewery, but Prairie Dog has managed the balance between beer and family beautifully. And that was entirely on purpose. When the brewery was founded in 2017, two of the founders, Laura and Gerard Coles had just had their first child. “We wanted it to be a place where we could bring her,” said Coles. “Family is the most important thing.” That feeling seems to fill the brew pub to the brim. The taps are flowing, and laughter seems to come easily. Fun has been a part of brewing for Coles since the beginning. The concept for the brew pub came from one trip up the west coast, when their daughter was two months old. “We decided where we would stop each night depended on where the breweries were.” The experience of their daughter being able to join them in those brew pubs shaped their outlook, especially when they reached Calgary and the whole family wasn’t welcome.

“It’s getting better,” said Coles. “I think people are realizing that parents drink too,” she adds with a laugh. Being a parent isn’t the only part of her identity that informs Coles work in the brewery and in the craft beer community. The fact that Prairie Dog Brewing has two women among their founders shouldn’t have been surprising and yet, even in 2016, it was. “I didn’t think having two women founders on the team would make us different in any way,” She routinely has people walk around her without any acknowledgement to talk to her fellow, male founders or to the men working in the brewery. She says that she’s very willing to correct those mistakes. “I will walk back around them and let them know that I know more than they clearly think I do.” She noticed some of this happening on brewery tours as well. “I saw it all the time where women would ask their friends or significant others to ask the brewer questions.” That prompted Coles to start up a program that would become Barley’s Angels Beer Education Society, or BABES for short. Continued on page 8


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hanging the face of Calgary’s craft scene


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BABES offers classes, tastings and events aimed at women who want to expand their knowledge in craft beer without judgement or intimidation that can come from a room full of men. Maggie Larson had been nervous about asking questions on tours with her partner, as many of the women that Coles saw had been. “Something like this is amazing,” said Larson. “I’m constantly looking at the schedule and trying to get there.”

She’s not alone either but it seems that not everyone is convinced of the value of the BABES system. “I’ve had a lot of guy in the in-

BABES wasn’t necessary anymore. “We’re not beyond it yet, but my whole plan for the group is to no longer need it.” Cole has no doubt that, sometime in the near future, that day will come. Calgary’s craft brewing scene is full of women founders, brewers and representatives that are doing great work. Cole says that the disbelief she faced when Prairie Dog Brewing opened is already fading. “We’re finding our voice in the industry.”

“We’re finding our voice in the industry.”


dustry and ask me why we have the group,” she admits. “They ask ‘aren’t we beyond that’?” Coles said that she would love it for things in the craft beer community to come to a point where

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Analog Brewing The Hive Bomber

This sweet and toasty honey wheat ale is ready to take you to the next level. It first hits you with toasted grains on the nose and finishes with a hint of butterscotch. Perfect for a good ol’ game of Duck Hunt, or sitting on the patio, reliving your Mario Bros. glory days. Also give Analog’s In Another Castle a try, for a full 8-bit drinking experience.

With great po great

The crossover between geek culture and craft brewing might be surprising to some people, but for many brewers and many fans know that nothing mixes up a game night, or a movie marathon like the right beer.

Something Brewing Dark Side Schwarzbier

Do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side. This stout delivers all kinds of dark chocolate and dark fruit notes enough to make you think that maybe the Empire wasn’t so bad, after all. It’s definitely a great dark brew to enjoy during the Star Wars marathon you’ve got planned.


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ower comes... beer

So which breweries know what you need for your superhero cosplay night? You don’t have to go to a galaxy far, far away to find these brews. There are quite a few, right close to home.

Zero Issue Brewing Multiverse Pale Ale

Hoppy with a papaya finish, it’s a great brew for a marathon reading session with your favorite comics. Light and easy drinking Zero Issue’s style shines through, as always on the gorgeous art on the can. It makes it easy to find, in any universe.

Tool Shed Belgian Dip This IPA won’t cost you one million dollars despite the bald man on the can. A fruity nose starts this crushable drink off, and soft hops finish it. Really easy drinking and perfect for the patio this summer, after a con, this IPA is a good choice for any outdoor geekery. Just watch out for the sharks with frickin’ lazerbeams on their heads.


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Misapprehension by Kleivin Caln


Profile for Amanda Rabski McColl

Deja Brew Magazine - April/May Issue  

Deja Brew is Calgary’s best source on the beer and food scene in the city. The fun, pop culture focus of the magazine invites readers to pai...

Deja Brew Magazine - April/May Issue  

Deja Brew is Calgary’s best source on the beer and food scene in the city. The fun, pop culture focus of the magazine invites readers to pai...