The Airdrie Ale Trail is a City-created pocket book that shares the stories behind the city’s brewmasters and connects locals and visitors alike with the breweries and local establishments that serve their products.
“My goal is to make Airdrie the most connected, collaborative and sustainable foodway system in Alberta,” said Shauna Quinn, Airdrie’s tourism development officer, who led the Ale Trail initiative.
“We hope as time goes on, we can welcome new brewers to Airdrie, and expand the number of establishments who She touted how many of the breweries collaborate with local support them.”
By distributing the Ale Trail pocket book, Quinn hopes more establishments will reach out to say they have local beers on tap in order to be included next season.
Currently, there are four breweries along Airdrie’s Ale Trail, including Fitzsimmons Brewing, Atlas Brewing, 948 Brewing, and Balzac Craft Brewing. Solutions Brewing, another local brewery, is also mentioned on the Airdrie website, though it doesn’t have a physical location yet.
“I think they each have their own great story and the fact they chose Airdrie to start up is a really huge endeavour – so close to our agricultural neighbours that you really do get a lot of that flavour,” Quinn said.
She touted how many of the breweries collaborate with local farmers, adding in a sustainability factor to their operation.
Additionally, the microbreweries often collaborate among themselves, according to Quinn.
“I think in Airdrie because they are so small in that scene and new in that scene, what really impresses me the most is how much the four breweries collaborate,” she said. “Them being loyal to one another and the craft beer scene really opens up that family experience of breweries.”
948 Brewing was founded by two long-time friends and opened its doors for a mere four hours on March 14, 2020 before being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two brewers spent the next few years riding the rollercoaster of the pandemic, but despite repeated challenges, have managed to brew at least 50 different kinds of beer over the last two years.
“It's been incredible, the community has been absolutely amazing – supporting us,” said Kyle Wudrich, co-owner of the brewery.
Named after the original Airdrie phone number prefix, 948 Brewing is about experimentation and fun when it comes to their batches of beer.
“We [brew] all small batch, so we play around with flavours,” Wudrich said, adding they rotate through flavours weekly. “If you want to try something new, this is probably the place for you.”
Their most popular beer has been a jalapeño pale ale, Wudrich said, but visitors have also enjoyed a tropical punch-flavoured beer and all kinds of fruit blondes. While not 948's most popular beer, Wudrich said he regularly enjoys the ESB – an English Style Bitter.
Altas Brewing joined Airdrie’s microbrewery scene quite recently, combining Greek mythology with a passion for beer. Master brewer Michael Phipps serves his own recipes perfected through 30 years of homebrewing.
For those who like their English-style ales and easy-drinking beers, Balzac Craft Brewing provides the ideal beers, reflecting “the flavours and locations of globetrotting memories,” according to Airdrie’s Ale Trail webpage.
Fitzsimmons Brewing was the first to the microbrewery scene in Airdrie, and has been leading the way in the local beer scene since 2017, winning numerous awards over the last five years.
Co-founder and head brewer, Cody Fitzsimmons, is known for his fresh, clean brews reflecting the local character of the ingredients.
Throughout the summer and early fall, the Airdrie Tourism team is busy building a RAW Ingredient Guide to feature all of Airdrie’s licensed food makers, bakers, growers and gatherers, including processors and manufacturers.
“It's just a continuation of the idea to create this connective and collaborative food scene in Airdrie,” Quinn said. “Not only would other businesses and restaurants know where they can source different ingredients or culinary assets, but also our residents can know where they can buy local.”
To check out Airdrie’s Ale Trail, go to airdrie.ca and type in Airdrie Ale Trail. Or find the pocket book here: issuu.com/ cityofairdrie/docs/airdrie_ale_trail_proof
This content was produced by Masha Scheele for Summer Explorer and Great West Media's 2022 Hot Summer Guide.