1918 Tap & Table, in West Hillhurst, is Calgary’s first brewery in the northwest quadrant. Not only that, but it showcases the first brewhouse from a new brewery manufacturer based in Calgary. The 1918 brewhouse was designed by Brad LeDrew, known locally as the co-founder of the former Brew Brothers Brewing Company (where Last Best Brewing & Distilling is now). An engineer by training, LeDrew has partnered with Calgary’s Spartan Controls to create the state-of-the-art Brewduer brewing system.
“This brewhouse is designed to make the equivalent of 40 to 80 kegs a month and is designed for restaurants that have less space to work with. In the beer business, the best profit margin is for a beer sold over the bar; there is very little margin for packaged beer sold outside the pub,” explains LeDrew.
The Brewduer system is a turnkey, five-hectolitre brewhouse that costs under $100,000 (one hectolitre is approximately two kegs of beer). Not only is this less than half the price of existing brewhouses of this size (while larger brewhouses cost millions), but the whole system fits within a 20-foot shipping container and requires no specialized installation. “The shipping alone on other small brewhouses can cost $30,000,” explains LeDrew. “But our brewhouse is built on wheels in the shipping container, so it is very easy to ship and install it. They just unload it and call a plumber to hook it up.” Heat is supplied by natural gas, so no boiler is required.
Purchase of a Brewduer comes with beer recipes, or the restaurant can develop their own. Spartan adds controls and data analytic capabilities that traditional brewing systems lack. Wi-fi enabled, troubleshooting on the brewhouse can be done from anywhere in the world with internet access. Purchase of the system even includes training, and the technology makes it so that brewing can be done by anyone with basic culinary and mechanical skills. No formal brewing training is required.
“The whole system is designed for a bar or restaurant. Beer is served straight from the tanks, which are chilled, so there’s no need to put the beer into kegs. And the brewing tanks have a beautiful rose gold colour so it looks great!” says LeDrew.
To honour Brew Brothers, which closed in 2014, LeDrew met up with former Brew Brothers brewer Alan Yule to re-create two classic Brew Brothers beers on the Brewduer: the Prairie Pilsner, which will be called 1918 Golden Pilsner, and Black Pilsner, which will be 1918 Black Pilsner. 1918 Golden Pilsner is made to mimic traditional Czech pilsner, including using the same yeast as Pilsner Urquell, literally the original pilsner beer. Meanwhile, long-time Calgary beer fans will remember Black Pilsner, which won many international accolades during its time, known for its delicate body, but complex roasted malt flavours.
“It’s been a long time and I can’t wait to taste the reincarnation of my beer on my new system,” says LeDrew.
1918 Tap & Table is located at 1918 Kensington Road N.W. (1918tapandtable.com).
Don Tse has sampled almost 24,000 different beers. He is the Official Beer Taster for Craft Beer Importers Canada Inc. and Far Out Exporters Inc. which work with many of Alberta’s breweries. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.