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Town Square Is Inviting the Townsfolk to Visit

Town Square’s rustic main floor.

Edmonton’s newest brewery is finally up and running. Town Square opened their doors officially a few weeks ago and have been introducing south Edmonton to their line-up of beer.

Because the are so far south (at least for me) – they are just north of Ellerslie Road near Parsons Road – I haven’t had a chance to stop by yet, but made a point the other day of swinging by and saying hello. And I am glad I did. It was nice to see their set up.

The location and thus exterior presence is very suburban. They are in a strip mall complex with a gym and a sushi restaurant as neighbours, giving the initial approach a very sterile feel. But the inside makes up for the lack of character outside. The main floor is rustic and inviting. Most of the seating is up on a mezzanine with a fireplace, a brick wall, windows overlooking the brewhouse and even a couple comfy chairs to relax in. They make the most of the space.

From the beginning the Town Square project has been about community. They want to create a space for area residents to feel comfortable, bring their kids, have a beer and relax. The kitchen is small and simple, offering pizza, sandwiches and a charcuterie board.

The brewery is similarly cramped. They have crammed in a 15-hl brewhouse, four fermenters and two conditioning tanks into a very small space. Definitely no room for expansion. Four 5-hl serving tanks sit in the cooler offering the impression of something bigger. While they tell me West Coast Canning is coming in a couple weeks to package some of their product, they see the restaurant as the core of their business. They figure on-site sales and growler fills will sell most of their beer.

My sense is that given their location in Edmonton’s deep south they have a distinct advantage. Geographically they have an entire sector of the city to themselves. Anyone within a short driving distance (no one walks to places in the suburbs) and who loves beer will go to Town Square. They also offer a distinct non-chain drinking/dining experience. They tell me they are attracting many couples with young kids looking for a quick night out. Good thing that in addition to the beer they also make sodas from scratch on site.

I spent a fair bit of time chatting beer with their two brewers, Drew Sinden, formerly of Lighthouse Brewing in BC, and recent Olds grad Logan Dommett. They are still dialing in the beer – which is totally fair – but having tried the eight currently on tap I think there are tonnes of potential here. Both men seem to be having a great deal of fun experimenting with new recipes and generally feeling the freedom of starting a brewery from scratch.

And the cozy mezzanine.

I have a policy of not formally reviewing beer from a new brewery for the first few months to give them time to work out the kinks in the system and dial in the beer (don’t get me wrong, flawed beer doesn’t get a free pass – it is more about working out the fine points of flavour). But I will say that my favourites so far were the Forged Rye Amber Ale, which offers a really nice balance of spicy rye and rounded malt base (it reminded me of the original Big Rock Magpie Rye Ale from years ago), and the Prairie Fire Rauchbier which, while not perfect, reflects a more traditional Bamberg approach to smoked beer, of which I am rather fond. The aroma in the Cornerstone IPA was also memorable.

Even though it was a snowy Tuesday afternoon, the place had a constant flow of customers, giving one the sense that people have already started to find the place. I left with a good feeling about where Town Square is going. It is early days, of course, but first signs are positive.

Too bad (for me) it is such a trek to get there, otherwise I would pop by on a regular basis.


1 comment to Town Square Is Inviting the Townsfolk to Visit

  • Brady

    As a (near) south-sider, I have had nothing but good impressions from this brewery every time I have popped by there for growler fills. I don’t share your policy of ‘let them get the kinks out on our dime’, so, yeah, I’ve reviewed them all, and yep, the beers are pretty solid so far, especially that Rauchbier and the recent milkshake IPA.

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