It’s no secret that Alberta’s craft brewing scene is booming. With the world’s best malt and glacier-fed water in our backyard, it’s no wonder some pretty incredible beer is being produced by more than 120 breweries all over the province. One brewery, tucked away in one of Alberta’s top bucket-list destinations, is Banff Ave Brewing Co. — the second brewery to open in a Canadian National Park. Over the last 12 years, Banff Ave Brewing Co. has become kind of like Banff’s living room. On any given day (or night) it’s a place where locals, local legends and world-class athletes hang out after a day on the mountain, and where out-of-town visitors come to get a taste of the real Banff.
Drawing inspiration from Banff’s dynamic international community of hardcore mountain fanatics, the brewing team at Banff Ave Brewing Co. explores all kinds of beer styles; from classics like blonde ales and IPAs, to fruit forward sours, to nitro dessert stouts. To complement the active lifestyle of so many Banff locals, the brewery set out to make a low calorie, easy-drinking light beer that was still packed full of flavour — which in the craft beer world is notoriously hard to do well. The result was Ride or Dry: a truly delicious low calorie, light craft lager, perfect for après ski or hitting the trail.
“The idea for Ride or Dry came from wanting to offer a light but flavourful beer using Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. These hops have a Sauvignon Blanc aroma and an amazing full, fruity, wine-like character that craft beer drinkers crave,” says Teaghan Mayers, brewery operations manager with Banff Ave Brewing Co. “We knew immediately that we were onto something once we started experimenting with recipes for Ride or Dry. It was crisp and easy-drinking and a great beer to round out our line-up of products.”
Something that sets Ride or Dry apart from other beers of this style is that it’s brewed with Canadian wheat malt in addition to barley and rice, which are characteristic of the beer style. “With Ride or Dry, you get all the body and flavour you’re looking for in craft beer, but in a light and crushable style you’d recognize from big brands,” Mayers adds. “We wanted it to be very dry, but we didn’t want it to be watery, so that’s where the wheat comes in – it’s high in protein, leaving body in the beer but not residual sugar. Flavour wise, I love how you taste the hop character from the Nelson Sauvin hops up front, the body from the wheat in the middle, and an ultra dry, effervescent finish.”
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And what makes this such a great beer for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts? “Great hop flavour, clean finish, and oh-so-thirst-quenching without weighing you down. What more could you ask for?” says Mayers.