July 2, 2019
What's a dandy, exactly? If you looked it up in the dictionary, you'd see this:
a man unduly devoted to style, neatness, and fashion in dress and appearance.
synonyms: beau, man about town, bright young thing
an excellent thing of its kind.
"this umbrella is a dandy"
But for the founders of Calgary's Dandy Brewing, a Dandy has an additional definition.
"To us, a dandy is someone who's not bound by trends or styles," says Ben Leon, co-founder and managing director of Dandy Brewing. "That's partly why we named the brewery Dandy and what drove most of our decisions for choosing styles and recipes for brewing beers. We wanted to make beer that we wanted to drink and that we thought were exciting."
Dandy Brewing opened its doors about five years ago, not long after Alberta changed its liquor laws to make opening a small craft brewery easier. After getting into home brewing, Ben and his three partners at the time, chef Dylan Nosal, liquor industry vet Matt Gaetz, and chemist Derek Waghray, decided their dream of opening a brewery might finally be able to become a reality.
"We all sort of realized that we were in places in our career that either we were going to be in these careers for life, or we were going to take a chance on the entrepreneur thing," recalls Leon. "So we sort of pulled together our savings and put together a plan for the brewery. We thought if we're going to do it, let's do it."
Ben was working as a a high school teacher, imparting English and social studies on teenagers at the time, and though he says he misses some aspects of his old career, he's finding plenty of parallels with the classroom.
"I think with the rapid rise of craft beer over the last four or five years, there's definitely an educational component to craft beer. Just being able to present a new idea and educate people about new styles and ingredients, and of course you need to do it in a way the general public or the beer-buying public can easily understand. And I think that my teaching skills have definitely helped with that. Being able to realize that if we're going to make sort of a weird nerdy beer, that we can present it in a way that is enticing and understandable."
One of those weird, nerdy beers, says Leon, is Dandy's Wild Sour, which, along with Dandy Lager, Dandy in the Underworld Oyster Stout, T2G IPA, and the seasonal Van Tassel Cherry Sour, are all available at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
Leon says the brewery has been grateful for the support of retailers like Co-op Wine Spirits Beer
"From day one when we approached Co-op with our beers, the company has been unbelievably supportive and really open. Being so small there have been some times we couldn't make enough beer to get on every shelf in every store in the chain, but they are really supportive and understanding of what we were doing. That's really allowed us to grow and it's been great."
Find Dandy Brewing beer at your neighbourhood Co-op Wine Spirits Beer store.
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