I was trawling the socials for news of craft brewers in our fair province last week, when I heard through the grapevine (or hopvine) that a new brewery and taproom was about to open near the old Greyhound bus terminal in Calgary.
Two House Brewing is located in the Sunalta neighbourhood, a bit southwest of the Mewata Armory, and on the same block as the Sunalta LRT station. Nerds in the audience will recognize the location as directly across the street from the Telus bunker, once the home of the computers that powered the 1988 winter Olympics, and now an Internet hosting facility.
Two House Brewing is located immediately adjacent to the CP Rail tracks, in a former welding shop that fabricated containment vessels for the oilfield industry for 50 years, and after a thorough refit, now houses brand-new stainless steel vessels full of delicious hoppy goodness instead of petrochemicals.
The brewery namesake comes from two old houses on the same lot, originally built in 1912, and moved a few blocks to their current location back in the swinging seventies to act as office space for the attached warehouse.
Imagine my surprise when I was able to finagle my way into the brewery for a sneak peek before the official opening, and came face to face with none other than Geoff Twyman, the original brewmaster from Kelowna’s Tree Brewing, who introduced me to my first IPA nigh on twenty years ago.
The genesis of Two House Brewing started much like all the great revelations of the modern age, with a few friends cracking open a few cold ones. In this case, after a long night involving pints aplenty, the idea was floated that their neighbourhood needed a brewery, and all those present were going to make it happen.
It took a few years from that fateful night for the dream to come to fruition, all the way from government licensing requirements, to renovating the decades-old and dilapidated warehouse space into a fresh and exciting brew house and taproom, but the doors were finally thrown open to the public in the last week of July.
With a huge patio out front for the summer months, as well as plenty of indoor seating for our dreary Alberta winters, the taproom has been lovingly created with upcycled materials and the cunning ingenuity of the founding families.
The sparkling stainless steel brew house still has that new-brewery smell, and was churning out the first few batches of that golden nectar during my tour. The four 10bbl fermenters allow for more than 4000 litres of beer to be conditioning at any given time, so the taproom is in no danger of running dry.
There are five core brews on tap, with a variety of one-off seasonals and experimental brews in the pipeline. I started with the Hoptimist IPA, fully intending to chasten the brewer if it was not every bit as good as the delicious Hophead IPA he made famous at Tree Brewing two decades ago.
There was no need for concern, as the Hoptimist IPA had plenty of floral and citrusy hops on the nose, and a robust hop bitterness on the palate nicely balanced by a pale malt backbone.
My drinking companion couldn’t get enough of the Prvni Pilsner, made with Czech hops and yeast for a crisp and refreshing finish that went perfect on the sunny patio.
The Fool’s Gold Ale was the crushable easy drinker, and the perfect gateway beer to bring your macrobrew swilling friends over to the crafty side.
Dark beer lovers will enjoy the Rec Room Brown, an English Brown Ale with a malt-forward flavour profile that will be on my shortlist as the summer turns to fall, and I make the annual switch from light to dark beers.
Sadly, I was unable to enjoy the Hefeweizen, as it was still conditioning in the fermenters in the days leading up to the official opening, but you can sure I will return in a week or so to whet my whistle on the wheat!
While there is no onsite kitchen, there is a small and thoughtfully curated snack menu, as well as kombucha and house-made sparkling water for the kids and non-imbibers. Check it out on your next visit to Calgary!