Edmonton (01/09 – 45.45) A partnership and tourism initiative called the “Highway 3 Ale Trail” is looking to attract locals and visitors alike to local craft breweries in southern Alberta.
The trail is made up of eight breweries located within communities along the Crowsnest Highway, from Medicine Hat to Blairmore, Alta.
Tourism Medicine Hat, Tourism Lethbridge and the South Canadian Rockies Tourism Association started the partnership; now, the participating breweries have launched a special collaboration beer at the end of the month.
“This year we decided to, as kind of a way of highlighting everyone in the southern region, work together on some branding — which is the Highway 3 Ale Trail — as well as produce a beer,” said Kelti Baird, co-founder of Theoretically Brewing Co.
I believe we’ve called it Southern Exposure
Tom Henderson, owner and brewer at Stronghold Brewing in Fort Macleod, said the partnership and new brew just made sense.
“People are already driving down the highway,” he said. “We might as well work together.”
Tourism Lethbridge described the beer as “a light ale, with tasting notes of citrus and pine, delivered over a smooth and clean malt body.”
“It’s just light, approachable, super easy drinking. I think it’s going to the perfect kind of end-of-summer beer,” Henderson said.
The collaboration brew is made up of all locally sourced ingredients and is expected to launch the last week of August.
It’s being made in Medicine Hat.
“We have the best brewing barley in the world and it’s a huge privilege that we get to use that ingredient and turn it into something that everybody will get to enjoy,” Baird said.
Baird said partnership like this couldn’t have happened just 10 years ago, before smaller craft breweries were able to open up easily.
“Prior to 2013, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission had a rule that stated if any brewery wanted to open up they had to have a minimum production capacity of 500,000 litres. So you had to start with a very large facility,” she explained.
“(Amending that rule) opened up the market to people who are interested like us… We started as home brewers.”
Other breweries involved include Hell’s Basement Brewery, Medicine Hat Brewing Company, Spectrum Ale Works, The Pass Brewing Company, Old Man River Brewing Ltd. and Travois Ale Works.