1988 was a very good year. The Olympics were in Calgary. I had an awesome 80s proto-pompadour hairdo, and was swaddled in the day-glo fabrics of that were the height of teenage fashion in that neon decade. Fortunately, it was an era before smartphones, so the sins of my squandered youth are not living in perpetuity on the interwebs.
I am not alone in my rosy view of that decade of decadence, as a new craft brewery is paying homage to the year 1988. Located in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood, which was historically known as Brewery Flats, the ’88 Brewing Company is in good company, with several other craft breweries only a short walk away.
My little red-haired drinking companion of long acquaintance picked up a beerslinging gig at the ‘88 Brewing Company, so I was able to make it onto the shortlist for an early peek before the doors were thrown open to the general public.
Located in a former light industrial space, ’88 Brewing boasts not one, but two tap rooms in their split-level space in the front portion of the brewery. Head upstairs for a setting right out of Miami Vice, or stay in the main floor taproom for epic amounts of 80s music and 1988-themed memorabilia to go with your craft beer.
An onsite kitchen serves up noshables like pizza and other grub that hearkens back to simpler times. Pop in for lunch or dinner to enjoy locally sourced vittles to go with your local beer.
With four flagship beers and a rotating assortment of seasonals and one-offs, you are sure to find a style to whet your whistle.
My favourite was the Night Gallery, made in the style of a New England Pale Ale, and a shout-out to one of Calgary’s best live music venues, where many nights of my squandered youth were spent in the tiny and crowded space.
A hazy and unfiltered pale ale with grapefruit notes from the Citra hops, the Night Gallery NEPA is unabashed pandering to legions of appreciative craft beer fans, and was flying off the shelves in the taproom during my last visit.
The Cassette Table Beer is a perfect gateway beer for the macrobrew drinkers in your social circle. It starts as a clean and crisp Pilsner for broad market appeal, then draws you in with a complex Belgian yeast for an enigmatic bouquet that will keep you coming back for more. An entirely crushable beer for those hot days on the patio, I made sure to take home a 6-pack for later enjoyment.
The Hologram White Ale is perhaps the most exotic, a dry-hopped Belgian White Ale with additions of orange peel and coriander. Faithful readers will recall my previous ramblings about Belgium, that magical land of beer, so I am delighted to see Belgian-styled offerings at ’88 Brewing.
There are several more brews in the pipeline, and are scheduled to be available for the grand opening on August 22, so drop everything and rush over for a red ale named for 80s songstress Tiffany, a Belgian concoction named for the iconic dive bar in the Cecil Hotel, and many more.
While 1988 is three decades behind us, its legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of all Albertans, from little kids learning ski at Canada Olympic Park, to residents riding the LRT that was extended that year specifically for the Olympics, and to all the craft beer fans like me who remember that crazy decade of the 80s with fondness.
Located kitty-corner to the Crossroads Farmers Market, ’88 Brewing is the perfect spot for some farm-to-table liquid barley. I like to pop in for a 6-pack whenever I am in the neighbourhood. While my preference is to enjoy the different brews directly from the brass teats in the taproom, their wares are also available on tap at various other locations where beer fans tend to congregate, as well as takeaway in bottles, bombers, and growlers.
The doors will be open by the time you read this, so relive the spirit of 1988 with a visit to the ’88 Brewing Company today!