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Banded Peak’s Summit Seeker awarded one of the top beers in the world

Calgarians who love beer already know that the city brews some of the finest in the world, but that assertion was acclaimed by the World Beer Awards this year.

Banded Peak Brewing’s Summit Seeker English Style IPA was awarded as the top English Style IPA in the world at the 2023 awards.

The honour followed a gold medal win for Canada by the beer in 2022, which qualified it to compete against the top beers worldwide.

“It means a lot. Obviously, we worked super hard on our beer and to get some recognition for that is very exciting. That’s exciting for the whole team, and for the whole company,” said Alex Horner, Director of Brewery Operations and co-founder of Banded Peak Brewing.

Summit Seeker was one of the first beers that Banded Peak brewed when they opened in Calgary’s Barley Belt seven years ago.

He said that the beer reflected a distinctly Albertan taste and take on an English Style IPA, which typically is a stronger version of a pale ale, with increased flavours from English hops and English yeast.

“It’s a bit of a modern take on the classic style English IPA, and given that we’re from Alberta because some of the best barley in the world we really wanted to showcase that,” Horner said.

“It’s got some dark roasted malts in it that are growing and malted here in Alberta that give it that really cool amber colour and quite a bit of flavour. This also provides a big backbone for us to layer hops into it.”

He said that they use some classic IPA hops like Cascade and Chinook, along with some new world hops like Simcoe.

Winning gold at the 2022 World Beer Awards was a source of pride for Banded Peak, but getting top beer in the world award was something that Horner said was a bit of a shock.

“You always have it in the back of your mind that oh, there’s maybe a chance could it be. We’ve never won it, so we kind of thought that that was a little bit out of reach for us. And so to win it this year is just super exciting.”

Top awards for other beers, and a top brewery in Canada

Banded Peak took home some other top awards in the Canadian category for 2023, including a gold medal for their Microburst Hazy IPA.

“That’s one of my favorite beers and one of our best sellers. So get some recognition on that one was very exciting,” said Horner.

He said that it would be great to be able to pick up a world’s top beer award next year for Microburst, but that they were also excited about the five other beers in their current lineup that could be competing for top spots as well.

Another one of the brewery’s beers that picked up an increased medal ranking for 2023 was Mount Crushmore, which took home silver this year after receiving a bronze in 2022.

“That is our top selling SKU and it’s you know, it’s just such a fun, easy-drinking beer… light lager is something that’s actually quite difficult to brew because there’s nowhere to hide any imperfections to your process. Everything kind of has to be perfect. So to get some recognition for that beer is very exciting.”

Southern Aspect IPA and Plainsbreaker Pale Ale also took silver medals in the Canadian category.

Awards set new beers apart, remind customers about old favourites

The brewery’s non-alcoholic beer, Dry Camp Pale Ale, took home a bronze in that increasingly competitive category. Something that Horner said was a hard-fought win.

“As a brewer, that one is one of the more challenging things to do. Alcohol provides a lot of flavor and a lot of body into a beer, and so when you remove that it becomes a much more delicate balance,” he said.

“So, the fact that we’ve made one that not only sells well but won an award is really exciting and a testament to how hard the team works.”

Anyone who has stepped into a beer cooler recently can attest to the number of craft beers on the market.

The awards won by Banded Peak this year, said Horner, help to differentiate their beers from others when customers are making their choices.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to market and tell the story behind this beer, and to breathe some new life into them. Because Summit Seeker is the beer that we actually opened with,” he said.

“Sometimes as consumer tastes change and evolve, it’s super exciting for us to have this legacy brand that we can breathe new life into by driving it home that ‘hey, not only do we think this beer is great, but the world does.'”

For more information on Banded Peak Brewing see www.bandedpeakbrewing.com.