Boarders and oceans may separate us. Contrasting beliefs, ideas, and languages may divide us. But regardless of our cultural, geographical or societal differences, most of us will always be able to agree on one thing: After a long week, there's almost nothing better than some cold drinks and good food with the right people.
Drink your way around the world this spring at Calgary's International Beer Festival. The world-renowned event brings in over seven hundred beers, ciders, and spirits from over two hundred breweries and distilleries, and an insane food selection from 30 of the absolute best local restaurants and pubs.
This event basically takes the 10-hour plane ride, passive-aggressively fighting with the guy next to you for your rightful place on the armrest, ocean water in your eyes and the rent crippling expense out of a dream vacation. First, pub-crawl through Scotland. Tour the breweries in Japan, the meaderies in New York and distilleries hidden throughout the Rocky Mountains and then hit up Oktoberfest in Germany.
Tickle all of your taste buds under one roof and then avoid throwing up in your Uber on your way home where you can sleep in your very own bed.
A festival of this magnitude is only possible thanks to the incredible Alberta Beer Festival Organization. They've been responsible for some of the craziest events in Western Canada, every one bigger than the last. Not only do they celebrate the beer and spirit community, but they also support charities. This event in particular aims to raise funds for AAFS (Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary) and Kids Up Front.
I'll level with you: This festival is two days for a very good reason. It's best experienced responsibly. Make sure you take advantage of the cheese pairings and everything they wrap in bacon. Eat a heavier meal during the day, and show up well before nine.
Visually, I can promise you it'll be very season six: Episode nine of The Walking Dead. You'll take your ticket and your fresh lipstick and get completely lost walking against the stumbling groaning crowd. Where's Amanda?! Gone. She's gone. and she has your purse. Good luck.
Don't let this scare you off. I promise you, it's an incredible time and unlike anything you've ever tasted! While you enjoy some of the best that the planet has to offer, chill out at the SLED Island stage and lounge, Brightside #bethebrewer lounge or the Barley Belt a Beerfest destination exclusively featuring the Breweries from southeast of Calgary and listen to local live bands.
Calling all connoisseurs! Beer geeks can attend Brew Master Seminars hosted by the brew baddies of Alberta's impressive craft beer and distillery scene, the cooking with beer seminars or check out the Distillery District and explore the emerging craft spirit industry or witness a show like no other, The Canadian International Beer Awards.
Certified judges lead a group of celebrity beer fans in picking a winner in over 20 different category - The Final Table, but make it tipsy.
The Festival will run Friday, May 3 from 3 PM until 10 PM and Saturday, May 4 from 2 PM until 10 PM at the BMO Centre. Pricing packages range from $19 dollars for general admission tickets to $49 dollars for the VIP Experience which includes a private VIP lounge, VIP Washrooms (totally worth the price on its own) and free entry into your choice of seminar.
Tickets can be purchased at any Sobeys or Safeway location or on the Alberta Beer Festivals official festival website.