If you follow me on Twitter, wading through a lot of nonsense, you’ve probably figured out that I like to discuss the Oilers and sports in general, beer, and transportation. Usually in that order, and rarely do they overlap.
Theoretically sports and beer go together quite well, but have you had a beer at a sporting event in Edmonton lately? It’s hardly worth getting excited about; hopefully that changes when the Oilers new downtown arena, Rogers Place, opens. And I guess that sports and transportation overlap if you’re into events like the Tour of Alberta and Tour de France, but I’m not interested in those at all. And, as a rule, transportation and beer are best kept apart. In fact there are laws to that effect.
But sometimes beer and transportation can overlap in a way that’s both safe and fantastic. And if you’re been to one of the On A Rail events hosted by Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t allow me to explain this very simple and great concept. You board a street car on the north side of the Strathcona Farmers Market building, travel to the middle of the High Level Bridge, and then you enjoy a couple of beers from a cask prepared by a local brewery before heading back.
If you think the High Level Bridge is great (I do), or that street cars are interesting (I do), or just like local craft beer (I do), then this is for you. In fact, I’ve gone on four of these trips, the most recent of which was this past Wednesday. The weather wasn’t especially cooperative that night, but the beer was a very nice Hefeweizen from Alley Kat, a beer style that they don’t normally brew, that came it at just over 6%. After three I was feeling it a little.
But of course this isn’t just about the beer, there is local street car/train history to take in as well and the conductors are there to give you a brief history lesson as well. You learn about the C&E Railway which would get you to Calgary is about five hours at a cost of $10 (remember this is the early 1900s); that the tunnel under 109 Street is the only tunnel Canadian Pacific built in Alberta; and that the street cars used to operate on tracks on the outside of the tracks used by CP Rail which are now used by the street cars. Just imagine basically hanging over the edge of the High Level in a street car, or maybe don’t imagine that.
I don’t know what gave the guys at Edmonton Beer Geek Anonymous the idea to do something like this but I’m glad they thought it up. I’ve been on four of these trips over the last two summers and I have a ticket for the last event of the summer a few weeks from now as well. If you think this sounds like a great idea well, unfortunately, that event is already sold out, but I suggest signing up for the EBGA newsletter so you can catch one of next year. Unless you’re not a beer/transportation nerd, and if that’s the case I have to wonder why you’re still reading this.