There have been fewer more anticipated events in Alberta’s growing craft beer scene than the opening of Edmonton’s Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company. Anxious beer fans finally got their first taste of Blind Enthusiasm’s wares in July when the company opened the doors of its Biera brewpub at the Ritchie Market, the first stage of an ambitious plan to make both accessible and adventurous beer. Company founder Greg Zeschuk, who is well known for starting video game developer BioWare before selling the company and retiring from that industry, envisions Biera as a place that will have a lineup of approachable beers that will rotate with the seasons.
Biera opened with a short roster of beers code-named with version numbers to indicate they were still being tweaked, but they were all enjoyable from the start. ZES 1.0 was a German-style wheat ale that had the proper banana and clove elements that make it such a light, refreshing style. FAB 1.0 was a style-defying lager that was easy-drinking but showed some nice complexity, too – caramel, stone fruit and a bit of floral hops. ESM 1.0 was a pale ale bursting with tropical hop traits that delivered pineapple and mango but went easy on overall bitterness.
Sometime this fall, Blind Enthusiasm will expand its offerings with Barrel House: a second brewery on 78th Avenue near 99th Street that will focus on making sour and farmhouse-style ales using traditional Old World techniques – a style of brewing that’s still in its infancy here in Alberta.