Craft Beer for Cowboys (and girls!)

During the infamous Calgary Stampede we all like to live vicariously through the life of the rugged cowboy and girl. Most of us city folk seem to be sadly mistaken that being a cowboy means drinking our beer like water and partying ’til dawn under a hot, sweaty, body-filled party tent whilst scantily clad, but we do what we can to show the support for those real-life cowboys out at the rodeo and chuck wagon races during stampede. Regardless of what the life of true western folk is really like, The Greatest Show on Earth only happens once a year and us hard-working Calgarians are entitled to relish in it; kick back, relax, enjoy a nice cold craft beer and party ’til dawn!

Big Rock Brewery-Purple Gas (photo credit-Big Rock's website)

Big Rock Brewery-Purple Gas (photo credit-Big Rock’s website)

During stampede the days are long and hot, so one of the key ingredients to remaining a hydrated and coherent cowboy or girl is a nice cold and refreshing beer. Put down that keister kickin’ Jack Daniels and push aside that high-alcohol Black Label and ace-high by grabbing one of these delicious brews, two of which are brewed freshly in our own neighborhood. After-all it is the finale of Stampede 2014 and with the many stellar music acts, grandstand shows and party tents to fit in over the next couple days you’ll thank me on Monday.  🙂

To start out I’d like to congratulate Big Rock Brewery for the wild success of this one last year! Success so wild that its returned in a six-pack on it’s own this summer. This beer is called Purple Gas and is classically named after the engine gasoline that was once dyed a hint of purple to prevent farmers from using the same gas in their vehicles when leaving the farm. Purple Gas fruit wheat ale has a curious mix of agave nectar and Saskatoon berries but packs a whole ton of beer punch rather than washing your taste buds away with a sweet and fruity flavour profile. This beer was intended to create the taste of hot summer on the prairies, and at 5.2% it’ll keep you going with lots of flavour to enjoy, though remaining low in alcohol to quench your thirst. Purple gas is brewed with a blend of two hops and malt and goes wonderfully with Spoloumbo’s chicken blueberry sausage on a kaiser bun.

Last Best Brewing (photo credit-Last Best's website)

Last Best Brewing (photo credit-Last Best’s website)

The next beer I’d like to showcase for all you rowdy stampeding Calgarians is by a brand new brewery to the city, Last Best Brewing and Distilling and is called Show Pony Pale Ale. This one is for you typical Molson and Labatt swilling cowboys and girls but with far better quality than what you’re used to. Brewed with a few different hops, it sure has a well-balanced flavour profile, with just a hint of bitterness and a touch of fruit derived from the hops, finishing off with a pleasant but moderate maltiness. This is a good ol’ session pale ale at 5% that goes great with BBQ chicken or beef on a bun.



Finally, one of my favourite go-to summer beers is Saison Diego (Farmhouse Saison) by a brewery out of San Diego, Green Flash Brewing Company. This ones brewed in the old Belgian farmhouse style and is available only seasonally by the brewery. It’s loaded with citrus notes, hints of ginger and orange peel with just a subtle balance of sweet and sour. If you’re looking for a full bodied crisp beer with lots of fruit notes you’ll love this one! Pair with any triple cream cheese such as Brillat Savarin which is available at Springbank Cheese Company.

No matter what beer you reach for during the final weekend of the 2014 Calgary Stampede, drink responsibly and stay hydrated!