Central Alberta proved it was a hops hotbed at the Alberta Beer Awards.
Several businesses from the area came home with awards after Wednesday’s ceremony, presented by Alberta Small Brewers Association and Avenue magazine, in Edmonton.
Lacombe’s Cilantro and Chive was named the Restaurant of the Year for the second straight year.
“We didn’t expect to win,” said Rieley Kay, who co-owns Cilantro and Chive with his wife Kim. “It’s pretty humbling to be reviewed by your peers and awarded by people we look up to.”
Several central Alberta breweries were recognized during the awards as well.
“We’ve known for a long time that central Alberta is pumping out some awesome beers. Now it’s official,” said Kay.
Jason Burns, restaurant general manager, said the craft beer industry has been “very supportive” of Cilantro and Chive.
“We love supporting local and community. That’s the reason Riley and Kim started Cilantro and Chive,” he said. “The craft beer scene is just a part of that. We get a lot of our menu from local farms … so craft beer is just a natural evolution for us.”
Burns said they aren’t too focused on trying to win the award again next year.
“We’re just going to keep growing, evolving and trying to get better. There are so many great bars and restaurants out there in Alberta. Just to be mentioned along those guys is huge,” he said.
Blindman Brewing in Lacombe was named the Community Builder of the Year among Alberta breweries. The award was given to the brewery that contributed most to the development of the industry in 2018, while exhibiting collaboration, generosity and enthusiasm.
In addition to winning the Community Builder of the Year award, Blindman Brewing won a silver medal in the Belgian Ales category and a bronze in the All Alberta Malt Beer.
Red Deer County’s Red Shed Malting was named the Community Builder of the Year winner among Alberta partners.
Red Deer’s Sawback Brewery Co. won a gold medal in the New Brewery of the Year category, a gold in Best Patio Beers and a silver in Other Strong Hoppy Beer.
The Troubled Monk, located in Red Deer, won a silver in Trendy Beer of the Year and a bronze in the Wheat Beer category.
Sylvan Lake’s Snake Lake Brewing Company won a gold in New Brewery of the Year, another gold for Other Strong Hoppy Beer and a silver for IPA.
Seventy-six breweries from across the province entered the second annual Alberta Beer Awards.