Last night's family activities included a brief trek into St. Albert to register Glory for this year's Irish dance lessons. Her instructor Lori just opened up her own studio (St. Albert Irish Dance Studio) just down the street in the Riel Industrial Park from where she was previously.
The Rayborn Crescent address twigged my memory, so I checked the internet to be sure; a-ha! Hogshead Brewing has their brewery and growler bar on the very same street, right next door as it turned out.
I took the opportunity to ride in, and while Audrey and Glory got situated in Scoil Rince Mahony's new digs, I took my growler (a refillable 64 oz. brown glass jug) to the unassuming garage-looking bunker with the boar's-head logo on the awning and stepped inside.
They've made the most of a cozy space, with couches, tall tables and a bar. Some friends from church were there having dinner with some flights of beers and informed me the food was excellent, and the menu certainly looked appetizing.
The server was only too happy to let me sample 3-4 beers from their lineup, which includes not only Hogshead's IPA centric line, but also Roughneck Beers (which I am not too familiar with) and Amber's Brewing, formerly of Edmonton, and crafters of my beloved Sap Vampire Maple Lager, as well as the Australian Mountain Pepper Berry.
I've tried Hogshead's Baby Back Hops and quite liked it, and will eventually get a growler of their far sharper HopSlayer IPA, but I wasn't in the mood for that much bitterness, so I ended up getting their Lemonhead, a reddish beer with fairly intense lemon and tea flavours. Not as smooth as Mill Street's Lemon Tea Beer, with the lemon adding an almost acrid bitterness, but if you like citrus, it is a good find. Next time I may try the HopSlayer, or perhaps their Oatmeal IPA.
Best of all though, a growler refill is only $10, giving you 4 x 16 oz. servings for $2.50 apiece!
The last couple of times I had tried Sap Vampire, I was a little disappointed; the first time the beer was fairly flat, with barely any carbonation, and the second time the sour overpowered the sweet of the maple to such a degree I couldn't even finish it (shocking, yes?). With some trepidation, I bought a sample size of perhaps 2-3 oz. for $1, and was delighted to find something much closer to the smooth lager with the maple finish I fell in love with originally.
If you should find yourself in St. Albert and needing a bite or a brew, I suggest heading into the industrial park and seeking out Hogshead Brewing; I'll certainly be heading back!