In 2010 the door to Banff Avenue Brewing Company swung open. Now 7 years later, pulling up a chair with space cowboy playing in the background the relaxed mountain town vibe is definitely part of this brewpubs DNA.
Brewing Like A Chess Game
You may think that having a craft brewery in the heart of a town like Banff would make it easy to keep on top of the beer curve but Head brewer Miranda Batterink says its the hardest thing about managing the Banff Ave'sbrewery. Having such a fluctuation of people with different season. Trying to anticipate what is going to be needed three or four weeks down stream and brewing accordingly. However at the same time this turnover brings a little down time to be able to come up with new and interesting recipes and put them into practice which Batterink says is on of the more exciting things around the brew house.
Tuns Out, Guns Out
Stepping into the brewery you could be mistaken in thinking that with the amount of beer and choice Banff Ave Brewing offer they must have an off site facility for extra volume. This couldn't be further from the truth. A Malting room built in a corridor, tightly squeezed tanks and a Manual 2 at a time bottler this is a compact brewery. Also looking into the mash tun I realize there's no stirring mechanism, at which point Miranda pumps up her guns and shows me the canoe paddle she uses to stir her mash on their three brew days a week. When I say lots of time, love and sweat goes into making the beer here it's no joke.
Now to the beer, my six taster flight includes Banff Ave Blonde Ale, Lower Bankhead Black Pilsner, Head Samashed IPA, Pond Hockey Pale Ale, Plaid Goat Red Ale and Brewers Oar ESB. My top four in no particular order came out like this:
Lower Bankhead Black Pilsner - Malty sweet smell, easy drinking full mouth flavor of light caramel and malt.
Head Smashed IPA - Crisp with a balance of citrus and bitterness. Great flavor with lingering hoppy goodness
Plaid Goat Red Ale - Nice balance of sweetness and hoppy bitterness with some good maltness thrown in for good measure
Brewers Oar ESB - Cream and lightly malty this is a perfect bridge between light summer ales and a winter stout. Definitely pretty much my favorite one so far and a perfect fall beer.
Winter Is Coming
With winter on its way, Banff Ave Brewing are in full gear for their winter selection and even experimenting with a few things yet to come, including a new collaboration with local ski hill Mount Norquay . Miranda says she has her fridge stocked with heavy winter ales from Canmore Brewing, Persephone Brewing and Oast House to get in the winter spirit but I think i'm going to be taking away to Reverand Rundle Stout from right here at Banff Ave to add to my winter warmers. With Smooth and creamy lip licking mouth feels and the hint of smoke combined with coffee and chocolate its going definitely to be a good start to a snowy winter.