Strange Brews: 6 Remarkable Beers to Try This Weekend

Get out of your comfort zone and into the world of daring pours.


If you’re not getting out of town for the Labour Day weekend, you can at least give your senses a vacation from everyday beers. We’ve rounded up five unusual pours ranging from little known classics that pay tribute to tradition all the way over to brazen trailblazers that dream of a stranger tomorrow. Most list items are available only for a limited time: try one — or several — while you still can.


Angry Orchard — Rosé Cider

Ironically, this first entry is not a beer. However, we just couldn’t leave out this hybrid of two summer favourites when the hot weather is coming to an end. Angry Orchard’s hard Rosé Cider packs a wallop of tangy floral flavour that blends the dryness of French red apples with an airy bloom of hibiscus. This juicy treat is gluten-free and perfect for those who avoid beer due to allergies or simple preference. 

The Rosé Cider is available as a rotating tap (limited quantities available) at Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington (which now has a dog-friendly patio) and for retail purchase through Willow Park Wine & Spirits. You can also purchase it online via for pick-up at Liquor Barn and Liquor Depot locations.

Oak Tree Tavern, 124 10 St. N.W., 403-270-3347,; Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 10801 Bonaventure Dr. S.E., 403-296-1640 and 262, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., 403-262-9463,


Big Rock — Oak Aged Flemish Red Beer

Big Rock’s homage to ancient brewing tradition paid off handsomely this year at the Alberta Beer Awards. The Oak Aged Flemish Red took home first prize for the sour beer category and placed third in best of show. Unlike newfangled kettle sours, this Flemish Red (“Fred” if you’re feeling cheeky) is aged in an oaken barrel for one year before bottling. The result is a strong beer (7.8 percent ABV) with a balanced flavour profile. It runs the gamut of spicy, sweet and sour, offering an even-keeled, medium body. When served in a wide-mouthed glass, you’ll observe an off-white head and dark fruit flavours such as cherry, plum, prune and raisin.

Big Rock is stocked nearly everywhere beer is sold in Alberta, but these specialty suds are most easily found at their brewery. The Flemish Red is sold in 500mL bottles and is a great addition to a beer sampling among friends. Keep an eye out for Fred’s saucy cousin, Midnight Rhapsody, coming to Big Rock's brewery storefront on September 14. Though similarly inspired by fruit, that beer will be a dark ale with a raspberry jam flair.

5555 76 Ave. S.E., 403-720-3239,


Cold Garden and Ol' Beautiful Brewing Co. — Cold Beautiful

photograph by alana willerton

Ol' Beautiful Brewing Co.'s new brewing facility and taproom.

​Stop, collaborate and drink up: Inglewood hot spot Cold Garden has a new neighbour. Well, kind of. Ol’ Beautiful previously brewed on the Cold Garden premises for a time, and now, it has opened its own brewing facility and taproom beside Cold Garden. Fittingly, the two have teamed up on a new brew to celebrate the launch. The Cold Beautiful is a Nordic ale brewed with traditional Norwegian yeast and Swedish lingonberries, creating a brightly malty beer with a tart edge. This beer celebrates the recent opening of Ol’ Beautiful and toasts to beer makers working together. 

Cold Beautiful will be available on tap at both Cold Garden and Ol’ Beautiful starting over the Labour Day long weekend. Cold Garden co-owner Dan Allard says it will be ready by Saturday, if not earlier. 

Cold Garden, 1100 11 St. S.E., 403-764-2653,; Ol’ Beautiful,1103 12 St. S.E., 403-978-4721,


Cold Garden — Taste the Rainbow

If you’re heading to Cold Garden anyway, check the beer board to see if the limited edition Taste the Rainbow “Skittle Ale” is in stock. This passionfruit and guava-flavoured concoction is raising money for the Skipping Stone Foundation, a group that works with trans youth. Enjoy its tropical panache while supporting a good cause.

The first batch at Cold Garden is already sold out and the second batch is still in production (completion date TBD), but Taste the Rainbow is currently available at both Leopold’s Tavern locations in the Beltline and Bowness.

Leopold’s Tavern, 1201 1 St. S.W., 587-350-5367 and 6512 Bowness Rd. N.W., 403-475-5367,


Dandy Brewing Company — Daydream Believer Pineapple Sour

photograph by colin gallant

Dandy Brewing Company is known for its inventive sour brews like the signature Junglebird, but for a limited time only you can sample the Daydream Believer Pineapple Sour, which is a kettle sour made with lactose and pure pineapple. “It's juicy and tart and very tropical. It's not too lip-puckering as the lactose sugar really balances out the acidity with its creamy mouthfeel and sweetness,” says brewery co-founder Benjamin Leon. 

The Daydream Believer is currently on tap at Dandy’s Ramsay taproom. The offbeat kettle sour will also be sold at Calgary Co-op Wine and Spirits locations beginning Labour Day weekend.

Dandy Brewing Company, 2003 11 St. S.E., 403-769-9399,; Find your closest Co-op Wine and Spirits here.


Het Anker — Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van Keizer Whisky Infused

If you have an occasion that calls for celebration or just want to find out what a $35 beer tastes like, head over to Beer Revolution’s downtown location for the Gouden Carolus Cuvee van Keizer Whisky Infused. Its name is a mouthful for good reason — this strong Belgian beer boasts an ABV of 11.7 percent and comes from the Het Anker brewery in north-central Belgium. Het Anker’s origins trace back to the 1400s and today it’s an institution comprised of a brewery, brasserie, hotel and distillery where the single malt whisky of this beer’s namesake is made. 

​750mL bottles are stocked at Beer Revolution (downtown location only) and retailed at Kensington Wine & Spirits. Gouden Carolus supply is limited, so call ahead if you have your heart set on one.

Beer Revolution, 1080 8 St. S.W., 403-264-2739,; Kensington Wine & Spirits, 1257 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-8000,

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