By Shari Fenn, Content Contributor
Half Hitch Brewing Company is all about being local.
They’re a made in Calgary Region success story. The first and only brewing company in Cochrane.
And they have just begun distributing in the Calgary Region.
A majority of their barley is grown and malted here in Alberta.
Supporting local producers and suppliers in the Calgary Region is an important value to the family-owned business.
The microbrewery is owned and operated by a local Cochrane family.
But they’re not locals to the art of craft beer.
The family has spent the past couple of years learning the craft of microbrewing from some of the best in the world.
Craft beer is not your everyday run-of-the-mill beer. You could say that craft beer is the fine wine of beer.
What is a microbrewery?
A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer.
The amount is typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries and is independently owned.
Such breweries are generally known for their emphasis on quality, flavor and brewing technique.
Backed by the local community
When discussing the first official pour on July 14, co-owner, Brittany Kozloski, vice-president of marketing and sales for Half Hitch Brewery, said
“Today is extremely exciting, it has been a long time coming – we are really looking forward to being here with the community and getting the feedback and encouragement from the community.”
Types of beer
The brewery is offering three drafts:
- Farmer’s Daughter Pale Ale,
- Fire N’ Fury Red Ale, and
- Shotgun Wedding Brown Ale.
The future restaurant
The business has future plans for a restaurant in Cochrane with space to sit more than 100 people.
There will be a large patio with a spectacular view of the Bow Valley.
An upstairs loft will be used for meetings, special events and serve as potential overflow seating.
The Half Hitch Brewery building is designed with a restaurant in mind.
When complete, it will be a little rough and rustic.
The idea is to embody a Western style feel into the facilities.
The beer fermenters are custom-built to poke up from the basement through a cutout in the floor.
The fermenters will be visible on the floor or the restaurant.
Where did the idea start?
The idea to start a local business happened after discussions around the table at family dinners.
According to Chris Heier, President, Half Hitch Brewing Company, “My brother Kyle introduced the idea of starting a brewery. It was the one idea of many that everyone could agree on.”
Heier’s mother and sister wanted to start a bakery. Meanwhile, Dad showed interest in a cheese factory.
“It literally did start with someone throwing the idea out,” Heier said. “We just started running with it and doing the research.”
Heier had absolutely no idea how beer was made when he started researching the idea.
Between then and now, there has been a lot of hard work as the family learned all the in and outs of micro-brewing and how to craft the finest.
Family business from Cochrane
The Heier/Kozloski family has made Cochrane their home base since 2002.
Sunday dinners at the family acreage in Cochrane bring all the kids back weekly. The family loves the locals in Cochrane, explains Heier.
The brewery and future tap house/restaurant is located near the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.
Heier is optimistic that the future tap house/restaurant will serve to invigorate the spirit of community through encouraging conversation, connection and community.
Heier is proud to share how the brewery is their family’s second home and will be treated as such.
“Those who enter our doors will discover a warm and friendly environment, personalized service, home cooked meals, and endless amounts of laughter,” he explains.
Just as we gather as a family in the kitchen, our goal is to see our patrons unite around our numerous wooden tables,” says Heier.
Where to find the product?
Cans are coming soon.
Shari Fenn is a Canadian storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications Inc.