>> Friday, September 30, 2011
For those who are not aware, it is currently Oktoberfest right now in Deustchland and I figured in honor of all the beer that’s going to be drank during that amazing festival, I needed to do a review of a beer market here in town (aside from the German beerhall that I’m sure most are familiar with which I reviewed earlier and can be found here). Since I can’t go back to Germany for the Oktoberfest experience why not try to live it out here in Calgary through a blog.
Atmosphere: Laid back pub environment with a large bar area showcasing an expansive number of pipes carrying draft beer from barrels to tap.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food and Beer: We happened to head to Craft on a Sunday where they had certain beers on special and half price appetizers. This allowed us to sample all of the appies they had on the menu (before you think start to think that we’re gluttons, which we sort of are, there were 13 of us after all so there were lots of appies to be had).
So I’ll just go down the list…starting with the Hawaiian Ahi Poke with cucumber chunks, fresh garlic and ginger in a semi sweet soy glaze. It wasn’t a bad poke but definitely not the same as the ones found in Hawaii. The dish was light, if you’re looking for something to tone down the heaviness of the fried dishes. This would be the way to go. Speaking of dense appies, nothing quite compares to a Poutine, with gravy, cheese and fries. However, Craft has managed to keep it’s very fairly light tasting (as much as a poutine could be “light”). I believe the fresh cheese curds has a hand in that.
The Baja Fish Tacos were one of my favourites, you can get them as an appie or an entrée. If there are more people in your group, there is an option to order additional tacos at $3.25 a piece. The fish was nicely juicy and nicely seasoned served with a nice spicy hot sauce in a soft tortilla shell. My friends really enjoyed the Fast Food Sushi. Essentially a deconstructed and reconstructed burger, beef and cheesy goodness all wrapped up in bacon sushi style. They even serve them with chopsticks. Fun!
I almost always order the flatbread and hummus appies when I see them on the menu and this was no exception. The flatbread was chewy and freshly baked, which is a great accompaniment to the hummus. Although I did think the hummus could have used a bit more salt. The veggies were nothing special, carrots and celery but it did help cut through some of the greasier food items that night including the Wings. Many many wings, which came is a plethora of different flavours, I suggest you just pick your own and roll with it..trying as many different flavours along the way. I thought the wasabi honey was interesting and unique.
There were also Dry Rubbed St.Louis Ribs, Crab Cake Sliders and Crispy Onion Petals, which all tasted like the way you’d imagine dry ribs, crab cakes and onion rings to taste. So you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. If you’re in a smaller group, they also have a Crafty Platter (which doesn’t go on special) that you could order to sample a bunch of different appies and not order the whole menu!
As for beers, the servers will be glad to help you pick since Craft has quite the array of beers from all over the world. They also have a beer club, enough said. There are certain beers that are on special, so don’t forget to ask before your order! Although patience is key here, there were times we had to wait quite a while in order to get our drinks, seems the bartenders were a bit slow as well.
My Picks: Baja Fish Tacos
Overall: Although we’re not close to Germany there are places in Calgary where you could try to find that little piece of beer heaven. With so many different selections of beer, plus on certain days Craft will tap new barrels, you can definitely try to find your little beer niche in this crazy world.
Craft Beer Market
345 10th Avenue SW