If it takes a village to raise a child, you can also be sure that it takes a community (or four) to make an ale, specifically Village Gardener Ale. This year’s community involved ale release was a joined effort with Killarney/Glengarry, Bridgeland/Riverside, Inglewood, and Parkdale Community gardeners taking part. Their combination of home grown hops were sweetened with honey from Apiaries and Bees for Communities. All communities and apiaries were funded by a generous donation from ATB Financial and each community received kegs of Village Gardener to serve at community events and gatherings.
The ale had a lovely burnished golden honey colour and tiny amount of effervescence with little to no head. The final and overall flavour profile was distinctly lavender with a bit of spice. I like my beers with a bit of an herbal overtone so I really enjoyed this mildly bitter beer. I had the chance to try it before the actual release date when I attended the Fresh dinner at Market Calgary in support of Grow Calgary. I found that the flavours were fresher and more prevalent than the beer that was being poured through the tap at Village Brewery. I had a chance to speak with the brewer responsible for Village Garderner, Andrew Bullied about what flavours next year’s community ale might have. He swore up and down that he would never try a pumpkin beer, however seasonally appropriate it may be. So you heard it here first…I’m rooting for carrot and thyme next year.
There is a Village tradition during a beer release that involves the signing of a canvas. On one wall you can see pithy and/or profound quotes left behind on the canvases for each beer. Here are two Inglewood community members (also featured on the Village Gardener poster) signing the board for Gardener, an ale that is partly their own.
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