Recently took a trip to Banff. Wasn't too impressive beer wise. Popped into a few liqour/beer stores around town and found the usual macro swill aimed at tourists looking for some cheap quick suds, though one did carry 2 Cooper's beers (Sparkling Ale, and Original Pale Ale). I picked up a 6 of the Original Pale Ale and 6 Sparkling Ale (even though I can get them in Edmonton) to drink at the hotel. The Original Pale Ale was a new rate, and it was decent. It has the same fruitiness as the Sparkling Ale, as well as the same creamy body and tight carbonation owing to it being bottle conditioned. It was a good session beer and might hit the spot in hot weather. Rating 3.3 Strangely I couldn't find any Grizzly Paw beers around, being so close to Canmore I thought they might show up somewhere. The hotel I was staying at was out of the Powderhound Pilsner when I tried ordering it. Oh well, I can get those locally as well, but was looking forward to trying them close to the source.
I did visit a nice pub. The St. James Gate is located in downtown Banff on Wolf Street. It's a pretty homey palce, very laid back atmosphere, dimly lit, traditional Celtic tunes playing in the backround. There's lots of seating, booths, tables, and all kinds of nooks and crannies. Food was decent pub grub, nothing too adventurous, generous portions, served quickly. The draught selection was decent, there were about 25 taps on when I was there dispensing a mix of macro and micro stuff (Big Rock, Sleeman, Shaftebury/Okanagan Spring). I had a pint of Yukon Artctic Red from the Yukon Brewing Co. It was the only one I hadn't tried. I'm happy to report that it was an excellent pint. It's an amber ale with a decent level of hopping, not one of the usual sweetish, caramel-y or bland examples you usually find branded as Amber Ale in Canada. Will be picking up more of this one, I think I found my house Amber Ale. Rating 3.6