Calgary brewery celebrating Pride with Protest Pale Ale

Tool Shed Brewing worked with the LGBTQ community to create the beer

Owner Graham Sherman (left), brewer Kevin Learning (right). SUBMITTED BY JENNIFER FRIESEN

Pride is less than a month away and one local brewery is getting a hop on the anniversary, with a Calgary Pride beer.

Tool Shed Brewing collaborated with local LGBTQ community members to create a new Calgary Pride beer called the Protest Pale Ale. The brew was crafted in honour of the legacy of trans activist, Marsha P. Johnson. 

Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. The riots were a series of demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. They are widely considered as one of the important events leading to the gay liberation movement

The Protest Pale Ale was created in partnership with LGBT members of the brewing industry. SUBMITTED BY JENNIFER FRIESEN

“Pride ultimately started as a protest and it remains a protest for a lot of people and so I really wanted to have that first and foremost,” said Kevin Learning, a brewer at Tool Shed Brewing. 

“This isn’t just some corporate collaboration to make money. We’re really focusing on how Pride started and where it’s going from here.”

Understanding the LGBTQ community through Calgary Pride beer

The brewery said they didn’t just want to create a beer for the community and its allies, they also wanted to boost their own understanding. Tool Shed brought in The Calgary Queer Arts Society to learn all about terminology, definitions and LGBTQ history.

“If you’re just willing to tell those stories and share those stories with people over beers a lot of times these things that people may have not talked about as much can turn into something great,” said Graham Sherman, owner of Tool Shed Brewing.

“So that’s what we’re hoping to see as well.”

The brew itself is described as a “hazy” pale ale, with a juicy citrus flavour but with some bitterness. It’s full bodied and according to Learning, a lot of people describe it as “pillowy but also pretty crushable still for the summer.”

Sherman said it hasn’t been decided yet if the pale ale will become a permanent add to their lineup. It launches in Calgary on Friday.

“We’re certainly eager to see how the community engages with this beer, starting tonight,” he said.

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