Edmonton has lagged behind Calgary in terms of the number of breweries that have opened in the city, but there are signs that things are picking up. This fall, there are four new local breweries set to hit the market.
Analog Brewing is the product of two longtime friends merging their love of beer and nerd culture. Bryan Launier and Adam Corsaut grew up with a mutual appreciation of comic books, video games, sci-fi – and, when they were old enough, beer.
Launier and Corsaut recruited brewer Dave Mitchell from Lighthouse Brewing in Victoria. In addition to being a fellow nerd, Mitchell shares their desire for flavourful, but approachable, beers.
Analog’s mainstays will be available in tallboy cans and on tap: An aromatic pale ale on the lighter side (Mitchell said it “blurs the line” with a lower alcohol session ale), a honey wheat ale, a vanilla porter and a peach mango milkshake IPA.
There will also be seasonal releases and small-batch beers exclusive to Analog’s small taproom at 8620 53 Ave., along with old-school video games and a steady diet of movies and e-sports on the screens.
A few minutes north of Analog, the folks at Omen Brewing are hoping beer drinkers will embrace the dark side. Omen came about, in part, because the owners want to fill a void for easy-drinking dark styles they enjoy.
“We’re going to be making beer that we like to drink,” said head brewer Spencer Oswald, one of four “O men” who inspired the brewery’s name, along with his dad and two brothers.
Tentative brews in Omen’s line-up include a milk stout, a hoppy dark ale and an IPA. Beer will be available in the taproom on 67th Avenue and through draft accounts at first, with a packaged product coming sometime in the future.
Brewing beer is a combination of creativity and precision – the idea behind the name of another newcomer, Ale Architect. Industry veterans Mason Pimm and Ryan Stang are starting out as contract brewers, meaning they’ll use different host breweries to make their beers.
The model, they said, will allow them to take creative risks that might not be possible if they had the costs associated with owning their own brewery.
However, different doesn’t have to mean unapproachable. Ale Architect’s first release is Django, a light and refreshing Belgian-style witbier spiced with ginger and Szechuan pepper – a departure from the style’s traditional orange peel and coriander flavouring.
Also scheduled to open this fall is Polar Park Brewing, just south of Whyte Avenue in a three-storey building that once housed the Bee Bell Bakery.
Owner Robert Oeming named the brewery in honour of his grandfather, Al, who owned the Polar Park game farm in Strathcona County for 40 years before closing in 1999.
Renovating the former bakery has been a long, challenging process – and Oeming’s plans for the site are ambitious: A large main-floor taproom overlooking a brewery equipped with a kettle and lauter tun – a vessel that separates wort from the mash – that date back to 1930s Germany, a large event space upstairs and a rooftop patio.