A new brewery opening on the south side means beers all around the city
Edmonton has a new brewery. While the Alberta craft beer industry has been exploding, Edmonton has lagged a bit, seeing only a couple of new entrants in the last year or so. However, we can rejoice in the recent opening of Town Square Brewing, our city’s newest brewery.
Town Square is south—very south. So south they have a SW after their address (officially 2919 Ellwood Dr. SW). That said, they are remarkably accessible, sitting just off Gateway Boulevard and Ellerslie Road. If you are in that part of the city, they won’t be hard to find.
Situating themselves that far south was intentional. Town Square is the creation of three Millennial couples, all with young families, who had been friends for ages. Lead spokesperson Brandon Boutin says that part of town is where they come from. “We come from the south side,” notes Boutin. “We wanted to stay away from central Edmonton and all the stuff going on there. We want to offer something different, offer something to the growing communities of south Edmonton.”
That part of Edmonton is actually the fastest growing part of the city. But these are young neighbourhoods that are still forming, looking for infrastructure and amenities, and trying to build a sense of community. Town Square located where they did to be a part of that community-building. “We are community-based. We want to give back to the community that we hope will support us,” says Boutin. They plan on organizing fundraising events, helping with community clean-up days, and promise to have a beer on at all times of which a portion of the sales goes to a local charity.
Plus they hope to become a gathering spot for area residents, a place where people can come, visit and catch up, much like the old-fashioned town squares of Europe. “The town square is the centre part of town where people gather, build relationships, have debates and go back home with a sense of community unity,” says Boutin. “We want our place to be a place where people come together and leave feeling like they belong.”
While the outside (to my more central Edmonton eye) seems like a sterile strip mall, the inside is instantly inviting. The first floor is rustic with an inviting bar and the requisite growler fill station. The highlight is the mezzanine, complete with fireplace, comfy chairs and windows overlooking their very cramped 15-hl brewery.
They have a simple but complete food line-up, based on their simple kitchen set up. The anchor is artisanal pizza and calzone, complete with crusts infused with spent grain from the brewery. They also have some salads and light fare to complement. Nothing complex, just straightforward food to give you an excuse to stay for another beer.
As for the beer, it will constantly rotate, at least at first. For now they have eight house beer on tap, along with house-made non-alcoholic soda, Kombucha, and one or two guest taps. The intention is to be creative and explore a range of styles. When I was there the line-up certainly rang true to that sentiment. They had a clean and accessible blonde ale, an interesting mixed berry fruit beer and some more interesting options, including an IPA, a single-malt-single-hop (SMASH) beer, and a coffee stout made with coffee from ACE Coffee Roasters.
All the beer is well-made and I look forward to seeing how it evolves as they dial in their system. Beers that caught my eye included a Rye Amber Ale that nicely accented the spiciness that comes from the rye addition and a Rauchbier (a smoked beer) that channels some of the more traditional Bamberg takes on the style, rather than the more in-your-face American versions.
Their plan is to mostly sell their beer on-site, accented with a few friendly restaurants around town. So if you want to try out Town Square you have to make the trek to see them. If you do, I am pretty sure they will welcome with open arms, no matter which part of the city you are coming from.