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  • Township 24

    Geography is a funny thing. It is all around us, but we rarely take notice, unless something new and extraordinary occurs, or something upsets our world view.

    Way back in the 2nd century, the first treatise on the subject, simply titled Geography, was authored by the Greek scholar Ptolemy, labouring tirelessly in the Library of Alexandria, no doubt while taking regular breaks for toga parties.

    Indeed, Ptolemy even deduced that the earth was a sphere, which was met with skepticism from the general citizenry for more than a millennium, until Copernicus definitively proved that the earth rotates around the sun in the 16th century.

    While there are a still a few flat-earth conspiracy theorists walking the earth today (and trying not to fall off the edge), at least the Catholic Church has grudgingly accepted that the earth is round, and is no longer burning those heretical geographers at the stake.

    Moving forward a few hundred years, we end up with the so-called Alberta Township System, which divides up our fair province into a grid of squares of approximately 100km2 each. I say approximately because the metric system was considered a tool of the devil back by puritanical Albertan land surveyors back in 1910, and because the measurement tools available over a hundred years ago were not entirely accurate.

    Despite the odd shortcoming and inaccuracy, the Alberta Township System is what we have, and these measurements are still used for legal definitions of subdivisions, and as unique identifiers for the oil wells our province is so well known for.

    Chestermere lies in the heart of Township 24, which is coincidentally the name of the craft brewery that has just opened on Rainbow Road on the west side of Lake Chestermere.

    My philosophy has always been to think globally and drink locally, but for the last 25 years, the only locally produced hooch was from my own private still hidden down in the reeds at the end of the lake.

    Fortunately, the provincial government abolished a bunch of red tape a few years back, which has made possible the explosive growth of small craft breweries throughout the province, which means Chestermere finally has a local brewery with onsite taproom to call its own!

    Growing up as a humble farm boy near Chestermere, Township 24 owner Mike Gron was lured away after university into the worlds of finance and IT, but always longed to return to the family business of agriculture and farming.

    Those same waving fields of world-class malting barley that the family farm used for cattle feed during the days of his towheaded youth are now being spun into liquid gold at the Township 24 brewery, located in the shopping plaza at 100 Rainbow Road, making this the most local beer you will ever drink.

    The brewery has a taproom storefront, where you can pop in for takeaway bottles, or sit down and enjoy a fresh pint directly from the brass teats at the bar, tasting the locally grown barley and clean Rocky Mountain water that has made Alberta beer the envy of the rest of Canada.

    And if it is a little too early in the day for a beer, pop into the taproom for a Kombucha or freshly roasted coffee, and take home a growler fill for enjoying later at home.

    There will be three core brews available on tap and in bottles, with a rotating selection of one-offs and seasonals. Macrobrew drinkers will be drawn to the Kölsch, a light Pilsener beer that is warm-fermented like an ale, but then cold-conditioned like a lager, for a crisp and refreshing taste.

    Vienna Blonde Ale makes up the second brew in the regular rotation, which is a malt-forward spin on the classical Blonde Ale, with Vienna malts adding a complex backbone that nicely balances a moderate hop bitterness.

    Saving the best for last, Township 24 also produces a Schwarzbier, sometimes referred to as a Black Lager for the benefit of non-German speakers.

    Schwarzbier is a fairly uncommon beer style in Canada, but has long been a favourite of mine, and is on the must-try list of any beer snob. Schwarzbier is a dark beer for those who claim to not like dark beers, as the lager yeasts and cold conditioning make it a clean-tasting beer with plenty of dark malt backbone, but relatively low residual sweetness and only low to moderate hop bitterness.

    The finishing touches are being put on the taproom now, and Township 24 is expected to be open to the public by the time you read this. Show your civic pride by supporting local business, and stop in for a beer on your way home!