Cold Garden. Photo: Christopher Amat, Courtesy Travel Alberta

Brewery Taprooms Have Lots on Offer – Besides Beer

In the long list of “two kinds of people…” lists, one of my favourite entries is that there are those who love visiting breweries and taprooms and those who do not yet realize that they love visiting breweries and taprooms. 

I am positive that most people could have fun at a brewery, even if they don’t like beer. 

A big reason for this is because there is so much more to experience at most breweries than just the beer and the brewery itself. Most breweries are active participants in the community and host a variety of groups and things to do. 

Here is a short selection of the best non-beer-related things to enjoy at breweries in Calgary.

As a father of two young children, I don’t get out as much as I used to, but when I do, I often enjoy bringing the kids along with me. Fortunately, most breweries allow children during the day and early evening. Watching dad enjoy a flight of beer understandably may not be a ton of fun for my kids, so luckily, many have games and activities to keep kids (and adults) occupied. 

Zero Issue Brewing (4210 12 Street NE), boasts an impressive board game collection, and my kids think the comic book/sci-fi theme of the space is pretty cool, too. They also have foosball and shuffleboard, and you can even join in on some D&D on the last Sunday of each month as well. 

If classic card games are more your style, several breweries have you covered. Best of Kin (1059 14 St. S.W.) hosts a regular Euchre tournament and Banded Peak Brewing (119, 519 34 Ave SE) throws a Couple’s Crib Tournament — if you’re quick you might be able to join in on the upcoming March 5th event.

If trivia is more your jam, then you don’t have to look too far, either. At least half a dozen taprooms feature regular trivia events, often hosted by Craig McFarlane (better known as Trivia Daddy). Craig hosts “Name That Tune” trivia at Cabin Brewing Company (505 36 Ave SE) on March 4 and March 18, as well as semi-regular Bingo events at Born Brewing (3, 414 35 Ave SE) and 33 Acres (224 12 Avenue SW). 

Wild Rose Brewery (4580 Quesnay Wood Dr. S.W.) also hosts a weekly themed trivia night starting at 7 p.m. It’s free to play and the winners get beer as a prize. Pints are on for $5 at the same time, so even if you don’t win, you kind of win.

Games and beer are a natural pairing, but not the only one taking place at local breweries. The folks over at host painting events at several bars and pubs around the city, including regular stints at Citizen Brewing Company (227 35 Ave NE) and Two Rivers Distillery (453 42 Ave SE). Ol’ Beautiful (1103 12 St. S.E.)  has hosted several beer stein making workshops with Mud Urban Potters and these sell out fast, so watch their website for the next opportunity. But Cold Garden (1100 11 St. S.E.) probably takes the crown for brewery crafting events. Most Mondays, the Inglewood brewery hosts its popular “Crafty Mondays” events. A ticket gets you all the materials for the night’s craft, plus a pint of beer. Past Crafty Mondays have included tapestry weaving, tote bag painting, clay nights and more.

If you’re looking to learn a new skill, head over to Establishment on the second Wednesday of the month for Sip and Sign where you can start to learn sign language.

Some brewery events are more of a stretch — yoga, for example (see what I did there?). Surely you can’t say you have tried it all until you have experienced brewery yoga (would that be Brew-ga, or maybe Yo-Brew?). This occurs from time to time at various breweries in and around Calgary, but the folks at Your Date Night YYC and Two House Brewing Company (1901 10 Ave SW) offer a semi-regular session in the taproom. And beer is even more delicious after a good yoga session, believe me.

There is no shortage of fun to be had in brewery taprooms these days, and the variety is simply incredible. Go check out what your favourite breweries have going on – there’s truly something for everyone, and this goes far beyond just drinking beer.