The Cochrane Eagle reported last week that Half Hitch Brewery is planning to open in that town in the coming 12 months (this was also reported by Canadian Beer News last week). A family affair, they have actually been in the works for more than a year already. I have had a number of email exchanges with Half Hitch principal Chris Heir. In our conversations he has indicated they are planning to brew uncompromising craft beer. He has developed 55 recipes and currently plans the first beer to be a pale ale and a Cascadian Dark Ale.
The initial emphasis of the brewery (which will also have a restaurant) will be the local Cochrane community, which makes sense. But he does have hopes of expanding distribution across the province in the not too distant future.
I can also report that over the last few months I have had conversations with at least two other breweries planning to open in Alberta in the short future. Of course, a plan does not equal beer on shelves, but this mini-rush of new breweries has me feeling pretty heady about the Alberta beer scene in the near future. I think we are about to see a handful of new breweries in the next couple of years.
In other news, Sherbrooke Liquor and Paddock Wood have announced that, despite recent staffing changes at Sherbrooke, they are continuing with the creative Beer God Series. The next beer will be Ninkasi Imperial Pilsner, which will be what the name suggests, aged on French oak. The beer is currently sitting in/on the oak and no release date has been set. But it is good to know this series will continue, as so far the beer have been quite interesting.
I am also very aware that the Alberta breweries will soon be announcing their next releases. I haven’t gotten word yet (blame them, not me), but will let you know once I know.