Mike de Jong serving his customers on the first weekend of business at the Marda Loop Brewing Company, Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Aug 12, 2018. © J. Ashley Nixon
Calgary has a new brewery on tap. The Marda Loop Brewing Company (MLBC) opened for business over the weekend in Marda Loop with a nice set of five finely crafted beers. As the sky opened up and rained hard over the annual Marda Gras street festival, I squeezed into the crowded brew-pub for a pint and a look around the smart film and jazz-influenced decor. The taste on both counts was very satisfying.
Included on the beer front is Casablanca Blonde, named not only after the iconic black & white film from 1942 starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but also the long-running video store that used to supply rental films in the community.
Red Trolley Amber, billed as the “social conductor” gets its name from the trolleybuses that used to run south as far as the Marda Loop terminus from downtown Calgary between 1950-1975. Jenkins Grapefruit Ale recognizes Mark and Mada Jenkins, who established the Marda Theatre in 1953 (sadly, demolished in 1990) and gave the community part of its name.
Passchendaele Pale Ale pays tribute, with gratitude, to the Canadian soldiers who fought and died in their thousands, in the horrific, long-drawn-out Battle of Passchendaele (1917) during the First World War. Nice respect there, MLBC.
Last on the list, and the one I tried on-site, is Marda Station, an India Pale Ale (IPA) named after the streetcar station that the old Calgary Municipal Railway ran between 1911 to around 1950. It’s a full-bodied 6.6% ABV ale with powerhouse, hoppy flavour. With limited time for beer tasting on location, I took advantage of the Fresh Beer to Go service, grabbed a growler of Passchendaele Pale Ale and took it home with me.
On the way out I caught up with the owner, Mike de Jonge who began brewing in his basement. Briefly, we traded stories about our love of beer and our early recollections of pubs-him about his upbringing in Amsterdam, sitting on his granddad’s knee and sipping the froth off his beer; me, about visiting my granddad in Frank and Jenny’s pub, the Kings Arms, Haworth, Yorkshire when I was a lad.
Marda Loop Brewing Company has a well-crafted collection of new beers for Calgary. It’s a great place where you can see the brews being made and quaff them in a nice environment, tastefully designed to bring people together.
My growler is empty. I will have to go back soon!