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Big Rock Brewery

Brew KettleThe beers from the Calgary-based Big Rock Brewery are crafted according to the Reinheitsgebott, a "purity law" established in Bavaria in 1516. This law decreed that beer could be made of four ingredients only: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Typically, in beers made according to this law, no preservatives are used.

Alberta grows some of the best malting barley in the world, and thanks to its low-protein, high-carbohydrate content is excellent for brewing beer. Ironically, despite the high-carbohydrate nature of the barley, one newcomer to the Big Rock fold is a light lager called Jack Rabbit, which was embraced by followers of the low-carbohydrate diet movement in 2004.

While some varieties have fallen by the wayside or are produced only seasonally—Bitter, Porter, Kold, and Classical Ale among them—on the current roster are eight beers, a mixed case of lagers and ales. Included are two whose history has been linked to the inception and growth of Big Rock: Traditional Ale (the first beer brewed) and McNally’s (the beer that brought international attention to the Calgary microbrewery).

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