After moving in to our new store location this past summer, we realized that Highfield by WineCollective has one of the coolest neighbours in Calgary.
Village Brewery just turned three years old this past December, yet their increasing popularity has made a great impact on the Calgary craft beer scene. Over my new favourite Village brew, Brunette, I got the chance to chat with communications and beer expert Jake on Village’s past, present and future.
“It takes a Village to raise a beer.”
Village is made up of 7 partners, including brew master, Larry Kerwin. From sales to dismantling old breweries, these guys have over 100 years of beer experience combined. Even with immense knowledge of the beer world, Village partners started spreading the word by door-knocking at local bars and pubs. They were after all, looking to create beer by and for the village people… of Calgary.
This spring, Village is reaching its 1000th brew. Its products are also now available through out Alberta through Liquor Connect. Through their milestones, the brewery remains dedicated to the Calgary scene. “Calgary is the market we brew for,” says Jake.
Brews and beers
Several years ago, Village created their first beer, the Blonde. From that point, frequent additions have been made to their line up which now includes the Wit, Blacksmith, and Maiden. Seasonal brews such as the Brunette come and go, but with much popularity and pleading, the beer may become part of the everyday selections.
Creating new beers at Village is a very involved process. Brewers and partners of Village meet frequently to discuss upcoming trends and interests in order to decide on the next styles of beer to brew. However, it is always a family connection that forms the next character.
“Each beer is named after a character you would meet in a Village,” says Jake. “But that character comes from the story of a family member or friend as inspiration.”
For example, the delicious and dark Blacksmith was named after a great uncle of one of the brewers, who was of course, a blacksmith! Not only are the beers named after that connection, but the entire style of the beer and package design is created in their image. You can even find each story on the bottom of every Village beer and package.
Fresh, local beer
“Craft breweries don’t really see themselves as competition between each other, it is much more about getting market share away from mass produced beer,” says Jake. “Instead, we are driving people towards a higher quality product, made with better ingredients. Village is brewed locally, supports local jobs, and local economics.”
The reason for craft beer’s popularity is because “the best beer is fresh beer.” Not only are you drinking a brew that was bottled days ago, Village also uses as many local ingredients as possible.
“We get great malts from our prairies and partner with Village gardeners who grow hops for us.” Jake says that local honey and lavender are also sourced, and in return, Village gives all of their spent grain to local farmers who use it for animal feed.
Village Brewery does not stop at agriculture when it comes to supporting local initiatives. To start, 10% of all bottom sales go to local charities in support of the arts.
“We want to be a positive part of the Calgary community,” Jake says.
Each variety pack uses a different artist to create the artwork displayed on the case, and you can even find their information on the package. In addition, you will find numerous paintings and even Village Brewery merchandise around the brewery and tasting room, all of which are for sale with 100% of proceeds going back to the artist for their work.
You can now find all of Village’s products in Highfield by WineCollective, including their delicious growlers at discounted member pricing.
But, before or after your wine stop, take a turn around the corner. Village regularly hosts tours and tastings for only $15, including this upcoming Saturday, January 31.