While Cody Fitzsimmon was going to culinary school in Vancouver, he enjoyed visiting different breweries and tasting craft beer. After learning a microbrewery was for sale on one of the islands, the idea stuck.
“We saw that and we kind of daydreamed like, ‘hey wouldn’t that be cool if we could move it to Alberta,’” Fitzsimmon said.
Fitzsimmon Brewing Co., Airdrie’s first microbrewery, will be open and ready to start quenching thirsts Nov. 25.
“Why would you want to go all the way to Calgary on a Sunday afternoon just to get some craft beer?” he said. “I definitely want to provide that for the people of Airdrie.”
Allen Douglas, head brewer, spent six years working for Big Rock Brewery, mastering his skills and improving his knowledge before stumbling upon Fitzsimmon Brewing Co. Becoming the first employee of the company, he said he doesn’t really feel like a employee.
“It’s very much a family atmosphere and we’re here to make a great product,” he said. “And to make everybody feel welcome.”
The brewery’s taproom will feature various experimental beers as well as two main beers. The first is a blonde beer, Fitzsimmon described as light, refreshing and a little bit citrusy on the end.
Then there’s the East Lake Amber, fitting considering the brewery is located on East Lake Boulevard, a darker beer with hints of caramel and red rye. Both beers will be available in restaurants, bars and liquor stores.
“But we’ve said right from the start what’s the point of opening a brewery if you can’t mess around a little bit, so we’re continuously going to be working on new recipes,” Fitzsimmon said.
Both Fitzsimmon and Douglas agree the young age and energy of the community is what made Airdrie so appealing.
“We still think all the time that it’s silly we’re the only brewery in Airdrie,” Fitzsimmon said.
“The people of Airdrie are amazing and the reception has been phenomenal.”
The brewery is scattered with personal touches. Fitzsimmon and his father finished most of the plumbing in the building. Douglas crafted the tables out of scrap metal. Fitzsimmon said he still can’t believe what they have created.
“Everyday I still get here and look up and I’m just in complete amazement of what we’ve done here,” he said.
“This place was built by family and friends, essentially.”
Fitzsimmon Brewing Co. partnered with Your Local Ranch, a cattle ranch just north of Airdrie, to utilize the grain and supply the brewery with quality pepperoni and beef jerky.
“I think beer goes with anything. If you’ve had a bad day, it’s nice to have a beer. If you’ve had a good day, it’s nice to have a beer.”
Opening the doors at 12 p.m. on Nov. 25, Fitzsimmons and his crew will offer free tours throughout the day. For more information, visit fitzsimmonsbrewing.com