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Take A Journey on Alberta’s Ale Trails

If you are a beer lover and are looking for travel, exploration, and adventure this year, then the Alberta Small Brewers Association and partners have something for you. Last spring, they created Alberta Ale Trails, a collection of “curated itineraries” that lead visitors through selected parts of the province, showcasing breweries along the way. 


The trails have been divided up into six regions, with Calgary, Edmonton, The Rockies, and Central, Northern, and Southern Alberta represented. Four of the regions have multiple trails within, making 15 trails total.  


Each trail defines an area, with the breweries as the featured landmarks. While the trail maps give pertinent info for each location (address, phone number, website, descriptors, etc), they also include select restaurants, drinking establishments, places of interest, parks, beaches, places to stay and more. Visitors can follow the one-to-five-day itineraries laid out on the maps, which is extremely beneficial for people unfamiliar with a region, as the trails are much more than just a guidebook to the breweries. Of course, one can also simply cherry-pick the breweries or sites they want to visit instead. 


Here is a quick list of the current regions and Ale Trails as of December 2023. 



Not surprisingly, the city with the most breweries has the most trails. With 55 breweries in the city and surrounding area, it would take several days to visit them all. Three of the trails cover breweries located in what could be called older Calgary. The Brewery Flats Ale Trail concentrates on Inglewood/Ramsey, the Manchester Ale Trail highlights the industrial area southeast of downtown (colloquially called the Barley Belt), and the Central Calgary Ale Trail covers those breweries that are close to Crowchild Trail, MacLeod Trail, or downtown.   


The fourth trail, the Foothills Ale Trail, includes the breweries of south Calgary and also ventures out to the towns west, south, and east of the city including Vulcan, High River, Okotoks, Diamond Valley, Chestermere, Cochrane and others. The North Calgary Ale Trail includes most of the area north of the Bow River up to and including Airdrie, which also has its own ale trail on the City of Airdrie website (  



There are 29 breweries in and around Alberta’s capital city, and there are four trails to follow here. Happy Beer Street Ale Trail runs mostly along 99th Street and heads west down Whyte Avenue. The Hop Pocket Ale Trail is one of the newer trails, launched in June 2023, and includes downtown and the northeast quadrant. The Southeast Edmonton Ale Trail takes you out of the city into the towns of Leduc, Nisku, and Beaumont to the south, and Sherwood Park to the east. The West Edmonton Ale Trail takes one through the western edge of the city and continues on to Spruce Grove. It also includes those places northwest of Edmonton such as St. Albert and Morinville. 


Central Alberta 

This region is home of much of Alberta’s grain production, especially barley and wheat. It also has several malt houses and most of the province’s hop farms, making this area a true field to glass brewery experience. The two ale trails here cover 24 different breweries, the most outside of the two major cities. 


Naturally, the zones covered are larger areas than the cities, so more travelling is involved. The Central Prairies Ale Trail ranges from the Camrose/Wetaskiwin/Pigeon Lake region in the north down Highway 2 to Ponoka and Lacombe, then west to Rocky Mountain House, and south to Olds and Didsbury. It specifically excludes Red Deer and area, because that is part of the other trail located in this region; the Red Deer County Ale Trail which also covers Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, and Bowden. 


Northern Alberta 

This is by far the largest region, covering more than half of Alberta’s area. Representing 11 breweries, this region actually starts a bit southeast of Edmonton in Wainwright. From there, the Lakelands Ale Trail heads north to Lloydminster, then northwest to Cold Lake, St Paul, Lac la Biche, and Slave Lake; all small towns with great breweries. 


The Northwest Ale Trail takes you to the breweries of the Peace Region, from Whitecourt to Grande Prairie, then to Fairview and Peace River, passing through forests and wetlands. 


Southern Alberta 

There are also 11 breweries in this region too, most of which are highlighted on The Highway 3 Ale Trail, that runs along its namesake highway from the BC border almost to Saskatchewan. Along this route visitors can find breweries in the cities of Medicine Hat and Lethbridge as well as the towns of the Crowsnest Pass, Lundbreck, and Fort MacLeod. Many of these locations were some of the first craft breweries in Alberta and they were one of the first to establish an ale trail to promote brewery tourism along this route.  


The Rockies 

The region begins at the Canada-US border and follows the Rocky Mountains to the northern edge of Jasper National Park. The nine breweries of this region are located on the Canadian Rockies Ale Trail which begins at Canmore, goes into the park to Banff, north to Jasper and then east to Hinton. As home to some of Canada’s most famous tourist attractions, this area certainly gets the most international tourists.   


Certainly there will be more trails planned, and additions to existing ones. If you would like much more information, The Alberta Ale Trails website is You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive updates or download the app. Now get out there and explore some of Alberta’s finest breweries in 2024. 


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