A passion for craft beer and local produce spawned the Craft Beer Market in Calgary, a beer-lovers' paradise, where more than 100 beers from all over the world and many produced locally are available on tap, as well as delicious lunches, brunches and dinners, all made on the premises.
Housed in a vast, open plan building, which was formerly a prime rib house, with a huge oval bar of reclaimed wood at its centre and raised bench seats on two sides, the Craft Beer Market was opened in June 2011, rapidly followed by two others in Vancouver and Edmonton.
The huge selection of ales and lagers include everything from the wonderfully named wheat beer, Grizzly Paw Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat, to fruit beers, India Pale Ales and stouts. Tasting notes on every table give you an idea of which beer to try.
If you can't decide what to have, a six-glass sampler will give you a taste of a selection of beers, hand-picked by Craft Beer Market staff. If you really don't want to try any of the beers at all, you can of course choose from a choice of soft drinks, coolers, wines and 'craftails'. Beers are served in 0.45l or 0.5l glasses and range in price from CN$6.25 to CN$9.25 per drink.
Adding to the industrial chic feel of the place, a glass wall at the back of the Craft Beer Market showcases the keg room from which 120 tap lines rise up and run along the ceiling above the bar before dropping down into two towers from where they feed the taps lining the bar.
Enjoying a Rose Velvet Fog wheat beer at the Craft Beer Market, Calgary
The food menu includes appetizers, soups and salads, such as fresh fig and chickpea salad, burgers, sandwiches, pasta and flatbreads, as well as house favourites like grilled west coast salmon served with quinoa, almonds and green beans sautéed with chilli garlic vinaigrette. Local produce is used wherever possible to create these hand-crafted dishes. Prices start from about CN$8 for a bowl of soup, up to CN$27 for a main course. If you're still hungry, desserts such as butterscotch budino come in at about CN$9.
Located in Calgary's Beltline district, Craft Beer Market is a few minutes' walk from Downtown and taxis are always available outside to take you home after enjoying a few drinks.