It has been a crazy 2 months. Livelihoods and loved ones have been lost. Mother Nature had a brief respite from humanity, and we saw political leaders of all stripes across our fair country struggle with the global pandemic with varied levels of competence. We have not quite figured out what our post-pandemic world will look like, and are just starting to take baby steps back towards normalcy, or whatever the new normal will be.
I was already working out of a home-based office prior to the world falling apart, so I had a much easier time making the transition than many, particularly our heroic first responders who put their own lives on the line, every day, but also the less-appreciated front line workers who kept the supply lines running, from the long-haul truckers, the grocery store and gas station attendants, the drivers delivering food and booze directly to your door, and everyone in between.
My first tentative step back towards normalcy after venturing out of the house was a jaunt down the highway for a delicious burger and a frosty pint on the patio at the Origin taproom in Strathmore, who reopened on May 14. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the grateful patrons were meticulously following all the safety guidelines to maintain social distancing on the patio that spilled out onto the parking lot to help maintain distance between customers and staff. Kudos to Origin Malting & Brewing for doing such a great job!
Chestermere’s own beloved Township 24 Brewing has not yet reopened their taproom, but is expected to imminently, and I will be there to show my support, as well as to return my ever-growing pile of empty growlers that the hardworking staff delivered right to my door every week during lockdown.
Long-time Chestermere residents will recall the bleak and beerless desert that was Chestermere in decades past, with nothing but tasteless macrobrews on tap at a few pubs. I cannot suffer a return to those days, so I implore all readers to support your local small businesses, including our local breweries, or they might not be there for you to enjoy in the future.
To help kick things off, I will be giving a $24 Township 24 gift card to the first community spirited reader to donate $24 (or more!) to the Chestermere Food Bank. Send your donation receipt to email@example.com, and the first one I receive will enjoy $24 worth of the delicious wares at the glorious reopening of the Township 24 taproom!
The Last Cabin Stout from Township 24 got me through the coldest days of the quarantine, with its rich creamy head leaving me with a milk mustache as I drank it, savouring the dark roast malts to the last drop. Made in the Dry Irish Stout style, the Last Cabin Stout has replaced Guinness for many a dark beer lover in Alberta.
The Stolen Canoe Pale Ale is perhaps the most crisp and refreshing of the core brews, with a sturdy backbone balanced by only light bitterness, making it approachable for recovering microbrew drinkers, and flavourful enough for the beer snobs of the world.
My all-time favourite is the Township 24 Meridian Black Lager, made in the German Schwarzbier style, which is not only delicious, but very challenging to say after a few pints! Schwarzbier is often referred to as Black Lager for the benefit for non-German speakers, and is rarely seen outside of Germany, making it an extra special experience to have available right here in Chestermere.
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.
Apparently, the Meridian Black Lager was so popular that Township 24 could not keep up with demand on the canning line during the pandemic, as a few of my weekly deliveries were in growlers instead of cans. Fortunately, the growing pile of empty growlers gives me the perfect reason to visit the taproom, where they can be expertly sanitized for further use.
Stay safe out there, and if you are not yet ready to leave the house, you can still support your favourite craft brewers by ordering home delivery!