Skiing and beer go together like a horse and carriage; one is inevitably followed by the other. However, not all après scenes are created equal. Luckily, with a variety of options available, whether you’re looking for a quiet, cozy fireside glass of wine or tunes so loud you feel them through the floor and through the fingers grasping your pint, Banff has it figured out. Banff has an après scene so robust that IntheSnow.com voted us the 4th Best Après Ski Resort in the world. But quite possibly the best kept secret about Banff’s après selections is that those craving more than your standard big brand beer can find a world of local, craft brews to quench that slope-side thirst with some true Canadiana.
The Banff Craft Beer Festival
The upcoming Banff Craft Beer Festival, running November 27th to 28th, is celebrating the best of Alberta’s brews. The first event of its kind is bringing together twenty of Alberta’s breweries and distilleries for a smorgasborg of beer sampling along with some tasty nibbles from local Banff and Lake Louise restaurants. The event is being held at the Cave and Basin, known as the birthplace of Canada’s national parks since it is houses the natural hot springs that spurred the parks creation, and may arguably be the world’s most beautiful beer festival thanks to the location’s epic mountain views. Breweries from as closes as 2km away and as far as 575km away are participating, many bringing in special cask beers for the event. The festival will give visitors great insight into the local brew scene. For ticket and event details, click here.
Local Brews & Booze
If you miss the beer festival, not to worry – there are three local establishments that have tastings built into their menus: The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co., The Park Distillery and The Banff Ave. Brewing Co.
The Grizzly Paw, established in 1996, is a Canmore-based brewery whose beers can be seen on any number of menus around Canmore and Banff. With fun names like the Powder Hound Pilsner, the Rutting Elk Red and Beaver Tail Raspberry Ale, these brews are worth a taste. Grab one slope-side at either Mad Trapper’s at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort or at the Whitehorn Bistro at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
The Park Distillery is the latest addition to the Banff dining scene. A recent change in Alberta liquor laws allowed this distillery-meets-restaurant concept to fly and now flavored vodkas, a local gin and infused whiskeys are all rolling out. The first batches of spirits was bottled in October of this year so new flavors are making their debuts regularly.
The Banff Ave. Brewing Co. located right on the main drag has a variety of beer flights on the menu for those who are eager to try a few different beers. The brewery has even partnered with Mt Norquay to create a brew in honour of the ski hill’s 90th anniversary. Look forward to a frothy glass of the Norquay 90 Krolsch to enjoy either slope-side at the Lone Pine Pub or in town at the brew source.