New micro and nano breweries are popping up everywhere since Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission regulations removed minimum production requirements back in 2013.
Two of the city’s newest additions are blocks away from each other in Inglewood, taking over unused back alley spaces slightly off the beaten path.
On the edge of Ramsay, just five metres from the train tracks, Cold Garden opened just a month ago, in a warehouse space behind the Smithbilt Hats factory that was once a Mr. Goodbar shop.
It has been nearly a two-year process for owners Kris Fiorentino, Blake Belding and Dan Allard, partly due to lack of structural information on the old building itself, but also because they did everything to build the brewery and tasting room themselves.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” says Fiorentino, who still holds down her day job doing marketing for a hotel chain.
“It gave us time to watch other breweries open and take notes. We wanted our personal touch on everything in here. The tasting room culture is so new, we really wanted to do it right, to showcase what it can be and help grow the scene in Alberta.”
The room is open and inviting, with a corner full of games and couches, two long communal tables and the tanks themselves brightened up with colourful pool noodles to insulate the glycol lines.
“Nothing could describe what we’re all about better than that,” Fiorentino says, of their noodle decor.
“It’s bright, eclectic, fun and conversational, and that’s what beer is about — fun and socializing.”
Neighbours have contributed to the vibe by…