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Tool Shed Brewing Company in partnership with SAIT Students’ Association (SAITSA) has created a commemorative craft beer to celebrate SAIT’s centennial.
SAIT Centenni-Ale is aptly named not only for SAIT’s 100th birthday, but also because it is made with centennial hops – an American-born hop that boasts flower and citrus notes with a medium aroma and high bitter value.
“We wanted to make a beer with a bit of an edge to it,” says Jeff Orr, co-owner of Tool Shed and graduate of SAIT’s Broadcast Technology program. “This beer speaks to a broad section of people and it’s made with a lot of Alberta heart – like SAIT!”
Despite living blocks from each other in Calgary, Orr and his partner Graham Sherman met while working for an IT and satellite company in Afghanistan.
“The only reason Graham and I met is because of 9-11,” says Orr. “Had that not happened, we would never have gone to Afghanistan and he would have lived down the street from me and we would have never met.”
The two did meet and it quickly became apparent that they shared some pretty unique interests and hobbies – a love for beer being the one that stands out.
When they returned to Calgary, they began brewing in Graham’s backyard tool shed but quickly realized they had something special and looked for opportunities to grow. They incorporated and began brewing first out of B.C. before opening their local brewery in N.E. Calgary in 2014.
“When we set it in motion, there was no going back,” says Orr. “We figured if we were going to be working 24 hours a day, it might as well be doing something we love.”
When Orr and Sherman decided they were going to make the beer, they texted SAITSA to see if they would be on board and, “that was it,” says Orr, “we were in business.”
SAIT Centenni-Ale is currently being brewed and is expected to be ready in time for Centennial Weekend on October 15 and 16.
“We’re super excited to be involved in such a huge event,” says Orr. “SAIT has been a cornerstone of Calgary for so long. To have any part of that is pretty humbling for us and as someone who went to SAIT, it’s amazing to even be the tiniest bit involved.”
SAIT Centenni-Ale will be sold out of SAITSA’s Gateway Restaurant and Bar beginning Saturday, Oct. 15 and Calgary-wide in mid-fall.
Written by Alison O'Connor | Photo by Ashley Kascak