Aleberta Online

Aleberta Online

Last night we screened in at the historic Yellowhead Brewery to a sold out crowd. It was amazing. I couldn't have ask for a better or more enthusiastic audience. Great to see some many beer geeks and industry people out. 

This is the end of my historical journey through Alberta's amazing beer history! Thanks to everyone that help me with this project. From brewers to historians I met some great people and learned some amazing stories. Now, I'm happy to share them with you. 

Aleberta is also on Telus Optik Local VOD.

History is happening right now. I can't believe the explosion of brewers and the excitement of drinkers that exists in Alberta right now.

I can 't wait to find out what happens next... and maybe start the sequel ;)


Alberta's First Beer

Alberta's First Beer


We travelled to Medicine Hat today to meet up with Barry O'Neill Today, and boy was that worth the trip. 

We spent the afternoon pouring over his beer relics and his outstanding collection of memorabilia. Everything from Alberta's first brewer, an NWMP officer name Thomas Ireland to the some amazing stories about the "Maverick of Alberta Brewing" Uncle Ben.

I don't know what was better; the stories, or his wifes home made turkey soup. They are an amazing and generous couple and I feel lucky to get to know them.

Stay tuned! There's more stories and interviews tomorrow. 


Day 4 - Calgary, NWT?!?

Day 4 - Calgary, NWT?!?


Had some fun today! Did you know they were making beer in Alberta before Alberta was Alberta? Before Alberta entered confederation in 1905 it was part of the North West territories. The more you know, right? This barrel was part of Jim McIndoe outstanding collection of Calgary beer artifacts. The most impressive one in the world, and the most bad ass man cave I've ever been in.

This is a proper directors chair

This is a proper directors chair

We also had an amazing chat with David Nuttal from Epicurean Calgary. We met him at my favourite watering hole, the Pig And Duke, as they were nice enough to let us come in and shoot in the morning before they opened.

Tomorrow, we're off to Medicine Hat to chat about Sicks brewing, Lethbridge and the Southern Beer Scene.

Red Deer's Haunted Brewery

Red Deer's Haunted Brewery

Happy Halloween Everybody!

We did an interview with a long time family friend and local historian Michael Dawe and he told a terrifying story. With halloween just a few days away it was  a bit of a rush to get it out in time, but here it its... the story of Red Deer's Haunted Brewery and the first glimpse of Aleberta.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to hear more about Alberta rich beer history...

Last Day on the Road

Last Day on the Road

We started our morning at Yellowhead Brewing with three interviews and a ride in Edmonotons oldest Elevator. Talk about amazing.

Our next stop was Alley Kat for an in depth conversation with their Hop Father Neil Herbst. We even got to have a taste of their latest beer, their Coffee Porter. Amazing, beautiful, and fresh.

We did have to wait our turn. Primetime had come down to do an interview with him at the same time. I'm watching it right now haven't seen the interview yet though. CBC contacted me this morning about being a guest on their radio show. Seems like this is the right time to be talking about beer and its future.


Well, today was the last day on our mini tour of Edmonton's beer history. Sadly we did not get our fill, Edmonton is scattered with buildings that still retain their history. We met some new friends and learned some new things. Don't worry we'll be back for more soon. You can hear about my adventures tomorrow morning on CBC at 7:30 AM. 

Day 2 - In the Edmonton Brewing and Malting

Day 2 - In the Edmonton Brewing and Malting

Lots of memories coming back to Edmonton. I finished my degree in Film Studies at UofA. Big thanks to Travis at Yellowhead Brewing who arranged for us to shoot our interviews at the Edmonton Brewing and Malting building on Rosedale St. Built in 1905 it has amazing character. 

First up was Mel Priestley who informed us about early prohibition and Alberta's strange laws on liqour. Next up Jason Foster, beer educator and boy did we get to cover some ground. Most amazing thing I learned was about the new rules that came down from the NDP that favour local beer! Check out Jason's article on it here. Can't believe it, and because it happened yesterday, it still qualifies as beer history ;) 

 The revolution is about to begin, and this documentary just got more interesting. 


We ended our day with a trip down memory lane. Jason had a beer tasting at The sugar bowl. I can't believe I've been gone this long. I remember you as a coffee shop and great place for a date. Now, you boast the largest selection of bottled beer in the city. Amazing. This little place has been open since 1964 and is still open because it changes with the times. 

Aleberta - Day 1 - Red Deer

Aleberta - Day 1 - Red Deer

We're starting the documentary off in my home town of Red Deer. It's been a while since I drove the streets here. So much has changed, especially in brewing. We met Charley Bredo with Troubled Monk brewing and nice little sampling before the interview. I'm particularly fond of their Pesky Pig Pale Ale. Charley was a great interview. Troubled Monk has only been open a couple of months, but his passion fro craft brewing and supporting the local community ring true.

Next up was one of the most incredible sources of knowledge that I have ever met. I barely had time to ask a question before Michael Dawe launched into his plethora stories about Alberta's fascinating history. He's a local historian working at the Red Deer Archives. So much content I can't wait to share with you. One story in particular inspired me to edit one of our 10 mini documentaries on Thursday night; just in time for Halloween. This is a beer doc, but there are spirit stories! Be warned....

We're off to Edmonton tomorrow. Don't worry Red Deer. We'll be back, we can't finish this doc without talking to Drummond.

Who am I? - The Story

I'd like to take the time and tell you a bit about myself. My name is Spencer Estabrooks and I'm a writer and director of quirky short films. You can check out some of my stuff on my website.  

For me Aleberta is a long time in the making.

My most recent beer related work is the Big Rock Copper Kettle series profiling chefs. I've directed a total of 12 different videos as part of the series. They were produced by the Kelly Brothers and we won an AMPIA award for the series this year. I loved working on this series because it allowed me to talk to people that are passionate about food and beer and share their stories with others.

My passion for beer goes back even further. I went to film school on the east coast and fell in love with craft brewing at the Great Canadian Beer Festival. For me this is where making a documentary about beer really began.

When I pitched the idea to broadcasters and funders, I was surprised that they weren't as excited as I was. They all told me the idea was serving a niche audience and had too small a market to fund. I moved on with my film career, making zombie westerns, and other strange genre films.

Beer stuck with me though, as it always has.

I became a beer activist. I'd have mini beer festivals at my house to promote craft beer. At house parties I'd leave extra strange beers in peoples fridges just in case they be thirsty enough to try something new.

I would find any way to get the word of beers out. Between my full time job and making my short films, I'd take a break and make Big Rock Eddies commercials.... I'm VERY embarrassed by these. Please don't judge me too harshly. This was eight years ago.

The last one actually made it to the finals not because it was good, but because I think they were scared of me.

So where are we today? I've never given up on my beer documentary but it, like myself, has changed. The world doesn't need an activist anymore, it needs a storyteller. That's who I am. and that's what I'm going to do with Aleberta.

In the beginning...

In the beginning...

This is the first of many posts to come. My name is Spencer Estabrooks and I'm directing Aleberta: Our Beer History. This is where I'll keep you updated on my progress, successes and failures. 

Please join me on this adventure.