Most of the folks that read this site will already be well aware, but the Edmonton Journal today carried a story (here) about the impending face-off of downtown craft beer pubs. The story leads with the spring opening of Craft Beer Market on Rice Howard Way, but quickly shifts to discussing how they will be going head-to-head with Underground Tap and Grill, who are already open around the corner on Jasper Avenue, for beer selection, knowledge and atmosphere. It also mentions MKT in the story as well.
I highlight it because it is another example (following a set CBC stories in the fall) that the mainstream media is finally cluing in that something is happening with beer. Craft beer, and good beer selection, is becoming a trendy story. Not that I am complaining. This is the kind of impression we want – that places like Edmonton are finally taking beer seriously. How long have we been waiting for that to happen?
I know that opinions are diverse around each of the three establishments mentioned – and stories like this ignore other good places that have been quietly supplying good beer for a while now – but I think it is good news. More profile for beer establishments is good, even if your personal views of a particular place may not be glowing. Personally I am looking forward to the competition, as I think it will make everyone in the beer pub business up their game. I can already see Underground trying to stretch their early advantage by organizing special events (such as the Mikeller tapping earlier this week – that I missed), dropping some commercial brands in favour of more craft, and increasing their rotational offerings to 24. I imagine that Craft Beer Market and MKT will adjust to match, and stalwarts like Sugar Bowl and Accent will also need to increase their offerings.
I suspect that 2013 will bring some interesting developments in the Edmonton beer scene.