Craft beer meets great music at Calgary's first Big Winter Classic

'It's like a really, really fun party... in the middle of winter,' their website reads.

The point is to get out in winter — stop hiding away and watching Netflix

Some of the brewing equipment used at Last Best Brewing and Distillery in Calgary. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Whoever said good fences make good neighbours, clearly wasn't thinking of the pairing of Broken City and Last Best Brewing and Distillery.

The neighbouring social club and craft brewery respectively, on 11 Ave. S.W., are coming together this week to debut a new Calgary event, the Big Winter Classic. 

"It's kind of our first kick at the can of starting a landmark piece for Calgary that's going to be something to talk about for years to come," Adrian Urlacher told CBC's The Calgary Eyeopener

Urlacher is one of the co-founders of the event and credits its promise to the team of people that came together to create it. 

The event will showcase 55 bands in three days, Jan. 28 to 30, on two outdoor and two indoor stages. Meanwhile beer from 17 craft breweries will be on tap, including the seven establishments currently pouring in Calgary. 

One of the things that makes this event unique, Urlacher said, is that specific breweries paired with bands and made special brews to match the bands' personas. 

For example, Brewsters has been hiding away in the back rooms, crafting a new recipe for the Calgary band Savk. 

"In their conversations, they realized that frontman Stephen van Kampen from Savk loves tea. So they implemented tea into this blond, and he's a blond man," Urlacher said.

"I'm really excited about trying some of these beers." 

Especially the secret beers. The brew crafted in honour of Calgary band Napalmpom has been kept under wraps, Urlacher said.

Other bands playing at the festival include Mounties, Edmonton's Wet Secrets and local favourites like 36 and Windigo.

The festival shows that Calgary is "just on the cusp" of exploring the possibilities of craft breweries, Urlacher said.

For more information about the festival, you can visit their website. Weekend passes were still available at the time of publishing, while single day passes were sold out. 


  • An earlier version of this story stated that the band Napalmpom's home town was Golden, B.C. The band's home town is Calgary.
    Jan 29, 2016 12:31 PM MT