Southern Alberta wheat beer crowned one of the best in the world
The brewery has been open for three years, but has already won multiple titles for its craft beer
Alberta has some pretty impressive craft breweries, but now one can proudly proclaim that they make some of the best beer in the world.
Among the various wheat beer award winners at the 2020 World Beer Awards, the Turner Valley-based brewery Brauerei Fahr won the title of World's Best Bavarian Style Hefeweiss.
"I'm just awestruck," Jochen Fahr, owner of the brewery, told the Homestretch.
The beer was ranked best in the category in Canada and moved on to compete with the rest of the world, where it was crowned victorious.
Fahr said he credits the three-year-old brewery's success to their attention to detail.
"We take our recipe making in our brewing parts very serious and adhere to a bunch of traditional brewing techniques, and I think that's what ultimately really made a bit of a difference," Fahr said.
For example, Fahr said the unique part about the winning beer is its aroma. At first you taste banana, some wheatgrass and then it ends a little spicy.
"It's just about how we brew in the selection of yeast, using all the techniques that lead to those flavours," he said.
"And that's how you judge that style of beer. Judges look for that kind of flavour and aroma profile."
Fahr's traditional brewing skills come from Germany, where he grew up in a small village.
"I grew up around beer all my life, but my dad worked at a couple of German breweries for over 40 years," he said.
Considering Fahr's knowledge comes from the Germans, he said he's surprised he beat out their beer.
"We beat out [breweries] from Germany that have done nothing but those styles for 1,000 years," he said.
But Fahr does have something under his sleeve that makes his experience more unique — he completed his PhD at the University of Calgary in biomedical engineering.
"I was doing stem cell research before I did that, so the other running joke that I have is I went from regenerative medicine to degenerative medicine," Fahr said.
Fahr said brewing beer is all about biochemical engineering. During his schooling, Fahr said he started by brewing beer at home.
"The logical progression was to brew on a contract basis out of Tool Shed [Brewing Company] and I did a couple of batches out of Alley Kat [Brewing]," he said.
In 2016, Fahr partnered with head brewer Nathan Ingram-cotton to create their own brewery, with the goal of providing Canadians with "authentic" German beer made in Alberta.
"We started our own brick-and-mortar brewing operations in Turner Valley and we've gotten a bunch of awards. I mean, this one is like the pinnacle of awards for me," he said.
He said he picked Turner Valley to start his business because it felt nostalgic, since he too grew up in a small community.
"I didn't want to open a brewery in Calgary because I felt that it's a bit of a crowded spot and I didn't want to be lumped into breweries," he said.
"I mean, the town is hungry for business … and they were welcoming me with open arms."
With files from the Calgary Homestretch