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If you’re like me and you love craft beer and liquor, then one of the first things you’re going to do when you get to Banff is to visit the best craft breweries and distilleries. Checking out Banff’s breweries and distilleries is one of the best activities in Banff – perfect all year round!
But for first-time visitors to the area, you may not know exactly where to look. In fact, other blogs I read online suggest breweries in Jasper which is over 3 hours away!? Even with my love for craft beer, that’s a long drive and something I doubt a visitor to Banff would want to do!
That’s why I decided to shed some light on the best breweries and distilleries in Banff and Canmore as well as include a few from Cochrane. Canmore is only 20 minutes from Banff. Then Cochrane is only another 45 minutes from Canmore making it also convenient to visit.
There are a total of 11 breweries, distilleries, and one beer festival in Banff and Canmore, and in this blog, I share them all with you!
Best Distilleries & Breweries in Banff
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
- Location: Right in the heart of Banff, 110 Banff Ave
- Price for a pint: $9.75 CAD, daily specials available
- Serves food?: Yes. An extensive menu or typical Canadian pub food.
First up is, of course, the Banff Ave Brewing Company! This was the first brewery in Banff and the craft beer here is delicious! The brewery is conveniently located on Banff Ave but it can be a little tricky to find as it’s on the second floor.
Luckily though, Banff Ave Brewing has a small shop below selling merchandise and take-home packs where the employees will point you in the right direction to the bar and restaurant upstairs. Once in the brewery, the world is your oyster…
One thing I really, really love about Banff Brewing Co. is its huge range of beers. To be exact there are 12 delicious beers to choose from and the variety is so vast there really is a beer for everyone. Personally, I love the Head Smashed IPA, Pond Hockey Pale Ale, and the Strawberry Pint’a Colada (a golden ale brewed with strawberries that actually tastes like a strawberry Pina Colada)! Although the Pint’a Colada is seasonal, you’ll find lots of other great seasonal beers to try when you visit.
The brewery also serves really good food consisting of many Canadian pub classics such as nachos, burgers, and poutine (if you’re not Canadian you may need to Google that last one).
Regardless of what beer you love, you’re bound to find it at Banff Ave Brewing Company. Don’t get stuck there too long though, you need to move on as there are many more craft breweries to try around Banff!
Three Bears Brewing
- Location: In the heart of Banff town, 205 Bear Street
- Price for a pint: $8.75-$9.50 CAD
- Serves food?: Yes. Their menu includes a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, bowls, salads, and appetizers.
Three Bears Brewing is Banff’s newest brewery and is actually owned by the Park Distillery in town. When I first heard about Three Bears Brewing opening for business I was super excited to try it out. I mean, why did Banff only have one brewery up until now!?
The indoor area is trendy (perfect for a rainy day in Banff) and they also have a nice patio area outside. The entire brewery is gorgeous with high sealings, beautiful decor, and great beer. This overall creates a really fun atmosphere and it didn’t take me long to get the beers flowing.
My favorite beer? It has to be their tea-infused rotating beer. This might not be available when you visit but luckily they have 4 full-time beers on tap of which I loved the Happy Trails Pale Ale and Wishing Tree IPA. I’m just patiently waiting for them to brew a sour!
If you want a variety of tastes I’d recommend ordering their beer flight that comes with 6 5oz pours for $25 CAD.
The food at Three Bear Brewing is also a highlight and the Cheesy Waffle Fries pairs perfectly with your beer. I also recommend sharing some of the Lamb Ribs!
Currently, they have a daily happy hour from 3 to 5 pm where you can get a pint for just $6.50! There are also select food and cocktail specials that will temp you too!
Three Bears Brewing is located on one of Banff’s newest pedestrian priority streets Bear Street making it very convenient. This is a must-visit on your trip to Banff in winter or summer!
- Location: Right in Banff town, 219 Banff Ave
- Price for a pint: $10.50-$18 CAD for a craft cocktail, $9.25-$10 CAD for a pint of beer
- Serves food?: Yes, and everything is sooooo good! They have a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
Park Distillery is the only distillery in Banff and one of my favorite places to enjoy lunch! But first, let’s start with what they’re famous for…cocktails and craft liquor!
Park Distillery has 5 whiskeys and 11 spirits all of which are crowd favorites. In fact, they’re often completely sold out of their craft whiskeys! Whiskey lovers will really enjoy tasting them all which range from 36 to 47 months. I myself am not a whiskey fan so I stick to their spirits which include vanilla vodka (my favorite) and expresso vodka!
To be completely honest though, I’ve only tried their straight liquor once. In fact, I almost exclusively come for the cocktails, and why not, they’re delicious! Be sure to try the Sawback if you love a bit of spice or the Nitro Shaft on Draft for a pick-me-up with expresso vodka and cold brew coffee.
As for food, well you really can’t go wrong if you love hearty meals. I love the Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich and the Seared BC Salmon. Both pair perfectly with cocktails or craft beer (they serve lots of local brews!)
You’ll find Park Distillery conveniently on Banff Ave!
Best Distilleries & Breweries in Canmore
Canmore Brewing Co.
- Location: Near Safeway in Canmore, 1460 Railway Ave, Canmore
- Price for a pint: $7.65 CAD
- Serves food?: Only snacks like pies and pretzels.
Canmore Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries in all of Canada. It’s the one craft beer I drink on the regular and seek out at local liquor stores. Their brewery is located at the Railway Avenue shopping complex in Canmore. Although not the most ideal location to get amongst Canmore’s cracking atmosphere, the beer is brewed on-site which I love.
When it comes to the selection of beers theirs isn’t huge, but what they do, they do well. The Ten Peaks Pale Ale is a favorite of mine as well as the Misty Mountain Hops. There are three other choices on their regular taps but they also have seasonal taps so there’s always something new to try.
As for food, well, they do lack in that department, and for the time being, you can only get snacks such as savory pies, pretzels, and nuts. The brewery also runs tours.
Canmore… it’s technically not Banff but when it comes to trying craft beer I wouldn’t let a measly 18-minute drive hold you back. In fact, the best part is the next brewery on our Banff breweries list is also in Canmore – that’s a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of deal!
Canmore Brewing also offers tours on Saturday afternoons, so be sure to book it if that interests you.
- Location: In the industrial area of Canmore, 105 Bow Meadiows Crescent, Canmore
- Price for a pint: $7-8 CAD
- Serves food?: Only small snacks like sausage rolls, pretzels, and chips. You are welcome to bring your own food or order delivery!
Sheepdog Brewing is Canmore’s least-known brewery and if you don’t look for it, it’s likely you’ll miss it- which is such a shame. This brewery reminds me of what craft breweries should be, a small garage operation run by a bunch of friends who all share a love for craft beer.
For such a small brewery though, they craft a lot of great beers for you to try. In fact, there are 15 tap beers available to try including some really unique brews such as a coconut porter, mixed berry sour, and an ages saison. Seriously, these guys are testing the waters and the brewery is suited to those who love to try something more unique – like me!
My favorite beers would have to be the Everythings Peachy, Jammy Dodger (mixed berry sour), and The Dogfather Hazy IPA! With that said, I love most of their beers – they really are all that good!
The brewery is located on the outskirts of Canmore in the industrial area, but trust me, this place is worth the drive!
Blake Brewhouse and Distillery
- Location: In central Canmore, 810 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
- Price for a pint: $8 CAD
- Serves food?: A large “evolving creative menu” with everything from poke bowls to burgers to mussels.
This next place combines both a brewery and a distillery into one. Blakes Brewhouse and Distillery is located in Canmore and both brew their own beer and craft their own spirits onsite. On top of that, they serve a full menu and have a huge onsite restaurant with a large outdoor seating area. It’s the place to be on a warm sunny day!
I personally come here for the cocktails and food as opposed to the craft beer. Although they have 6 full-time beers on tap including a delicious IPA, it’s just not really my style of beer. With that said, I love the large selection of cocktails including the Mango Picante Margarita and the Filthy Chia.
If you arrived hungrily then you came to the right place. The Blake serves some really interesting food. My personal suggestion is the Tandoori Chicken Naan or the Lemon Grass Mussels – perfect on a summer’s day with refreshing flavors that pair well with fruity cocktails.
Wild Life Distillery
- Location: In the industrial area of Canmore, 105 Bow Meadows Crescent
- Price for a pint: $10-14 CAD for a craft cocktail
- Serves food?: You can choose between a charcuterie board or an affogato dessert
Tucked away in the industrial area of Canmore is another pleasant surprise. Wild Life Distillery is a small craft distillery that only crafts 7 spirits. With that said though, the small tasting room is the perfect place to try a unique cocktail crafted with expert care.
I myself love their rotating cocktail menu which is usually inspired by current events. Or, if you love your classics they have a ton of favorites everyone will love.
These guys do not serve food and the tasting room is rather small, however, I have a feeling this place will grow especially with the quality of the cocktails and service!
Related Read: Heading to Canmore for the holiday season? Check out our blog about visiting Canmore in December for info on the best things to do and festive events!
Grizzly Paw Brewing Co.
- Price for a pint: $9 CAD
- Serves food?: Yes. Large pub menus are available at both locations. The burgers are so good!
Last but certainly not least in Canmore is Grizzly Paw Brewing. This small brewery was the first in Canmore and they actually have two locations. The first is the most convenient to visit and that’s on the main street (8 Street) of Canmore. Here, you can try many of their beers including one that’s still brewed in that location.
The other location is a little further out on Old Canmore Road. Funny story actually, I never knew this location existed until I stayed at the Coast Canmore Hotel across the road – talk about a handy location! Anyway, this location is much bigger than the one in town and is where most of their beer is brewed nowadays.
Both locations serve food although I’ve only eaten at the one on 8 Street. Their burgers are delicious and I’d say stopping in for a burger and a beer is definitely one of the best things to do in Canmore!
As for my favorite beer, well I really loved their Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat and the entire Summit Range (which is made up of three ales.) Honestly, the Grizzly Paw is one of my personal favorite breweries in Canmore.
Now I know we’re all here for the beers, but if you’re bringing someone along who doesn’t love beer then Grizzly Paw Brewing is a perfect choice. The reason? Well, they actually sell homemade cocktails in a can! These include a Mountain Mule and a Gin Squeeze! Although Bailey loves beer, she couldn’t resist trying the cocktails too!
Related read: Visiting the Grizzly Paw is awesome all year round! With their indoor fireplaces, it’s a cozy place to have a beer and one of the best things to do in Canmore in the winter!
Breweries and Distilleries in Cochrane
Rocky View Brewing Company
- Location: 420 1 St W, Cochrane
- Price for a pint: $7-7.75 CAD
- Serves food?: Yes. They have both a dinner and lunch menu.
Those willing to travel to see even more breweries and distilleries should make the 45-minute road trip to the small town of Cochrane. First of the breweries and distilleries here is Rocky View Brewing Company.
This local microbrewery was co-created by Lyle Thorsen who just loved brewing beer at home to share with his friends and family. However, his beer and skills became so popular he helped open Rocky View Brewing Company in 2016.
But what about the beer?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Rocky View Brewing Company brews some really tasty beers ranging from a hoppy IPA, a crisp Belgian style Witbier, and my favorite, the easy-drinking blonde ale.
Rocky View Brewing Company also serves up lunch and dinner. Expect lots of typical pub food for lunch including nachos, pizza, and a delicious IPA cheese dip! For dinner, I love the tapas-style menu. It’s perfect for groups who love to drink and eat small bites together.
Half Hitch Brewing Company
- Location: 10 Griffin Industrial Point #1, Cochrane
- Price for a pint: $7-8 CAD
- Serves food?: Yes, they have a large menu serving hearty pub food.
Another brewery located in Cochrane is Half Hitch Brewing Company. This craft brewery is a family affair and their story is really nice to read about. In fact, they almost became cheesemakers! Bailey and I both agree they make excellent brewers so we are glad about their decision to open a brewery instead!
Although Half Hitch doesn’t have a huge selection of beers, what they do, they do really well. My favorite is their pale ale called the Farmer’s Daughter. It has a really nice citrus flavor and is the perfect summer drink.
They also have different specials each day so make sure to have a look at this part of the menu before you order!
If you visit their new restaurant called The Mash, you can try their delicious brews with their famous pizza. Pizza and beer? Yes, please!
Whispering Dutchman Distillery
- Price for a pint: N/A
- Serves food?: No.
If you consider yourself more of a spirits drinker, don’t worry, Cochrane has its very own distillery too! Whispering Dutchman Distillery is a craft distillery pushing the limits with flavored spirits.
On a visit, you have to try the lemon lavender gin – it’s simply out of this world good! Another favorite is the Dutch spiced tea which tastes just as good as its sounds!
You can do a tour through the distillery and not only learn about the process but also taste some of their spirits. I guarantee you won’t leave this distillery without buying a bottle to take home with you!
Banff Craft Beer Festival
The Banff Craft Beer Festival is widely considered the most beautiful beer festival in the world. Held every year, the festival exclusively showcases Alberta-crafted beers from over 40 vendors. It’s safe to say you won’t run out of beers to taste before you run out of steam!
The festival is a really fun event and if you’re a beer lover like me then I’d add it to your Banff bucket list – especially if you live in Canada. In 2023 the festival will run between November 24-26th at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. It’s one of the most popular events in Banff in December and people come from all over the country to experience it.
Of course, every year the dates change slightly but around mid-November is when it’s usually held. I went in 2021 and it was such a great time with friends, live entertainment, and delicious brews!
Related Read: Another great destination for beer-lovers is Kelowna, BC. Read about all of the best breweries in Kelowna on my blog!
Other Things to do While You’re in Banff
Going whitewater rafting near Banff is just one of the many awesome things you can do in Alberta! If you’re staying in Banff, there’s lots to explore. To give you an idea, here are some of the other things you can do while you’re in Banff:
- Hike Johnston Canyon – There are tons of amazing hikes in and around Banff, but I especially loved hiking Johnston Canyon and seeing its spectacular waterfalls. You can drive to the trailhead on your own or book a tour. This e-bike and hiking tour is excellent for those who want to combine both activities. Or if you just want transport, take the hop-on-hop-off bus that stops here. If you visit Johnston Canyon in winter, this Icewalk tour will show you ice formations and frozen falls!
- Visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake – If you want to see stunning lakes in the area, check out these two! Parking at Lake Louise can be tricky (and impossible at Moraine Lake!), so we’d recommend this Banff National Park Tour. You’ll get to visit Lake Louise as well as Moraine Lake in one go – with enough time to walk around, learn the local history, and snap postcard-worthy photos.
- Ride on a gondola – If you want the best vantage points around, take in one of the four gondolas around Banff! You’ll climb up high above the ground with tickets for the Banff Gondola, the Banff Sunshine Gondola, Lake Louise Gondola, or the Mt Norquay Chairlift.
- Look for wildlife – Banff is home to some pretty incredible wildlife. You might just spot elk, bears, deer, foxes, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and more! The best chance you have of seeing the most critters is on a wildlife tour in Banff. We really liked this small group tour where the guides tailor the itinerary to recent wildlife spottings and you get to see highlights of the national park along the way.
- Explore Banff town – While many nature-based activities are nearby, you shouldn’t neglect Banff town itself! Start your morning by visiting one of the cute local cafes, or grab patio drinks along Banff Avenue in the afternoon. To avoid traffic, check out the pedestrian-only Bear Street, with even more restaurants, cafes, and shops. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a Farmers Market every Wednesday in the summertime.
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Although there is only one true Banff brewery, the surrounding breweries in Canmore are a great addition for those who want to try some of Canada’s finest craft beer. With three to choose from and try, you could really make a day out it (just be sure to start in Canmore if you’re staying in Banff or have a designated driver!)
Thanks so much for reading. If you enjoyed reading our guide to the best breweries in Banff then jump over and check out all our Canada blogs or the related articles from Banff below!