“It’s still a new thing to Medicine Hat. The whole province was exploding with craft beers,” says Brennan Vancuren, who is part of the MH Brew Co team along with his brother and his parents. “Our brewmaster [Mitch Dalrymple] has close to 20 years of craft brewing experience and 11 of that was as a head brewmaster. So I think that kind of sets us apart, he’s just really good at making smooth, clean beers that people enjoy.”
Many of MH Brew Co’s beers are named after places and people with historical significance. That Medicine Hat pride has also made its mark on the city’s other craft brewery, Hell’s Basement, named for Rudyard Kipling’s famous quote about Medicine Hat's natural gas reserves. Founded by six beer-loving friends, Hell’s Basement’s brewmaster is a self-described “hop freak” from the world’s craft beer capital, Oregon, so unsurprisingly, the IPA reigns supreme at Hell’s Basement. That said, the brewery’s pilsners, lagers, and other ales all hold their own, as do seasonals like the Ryes Against the Machine rye ale and the juicy Fruit Bat Blueberry.
Part of the charm of visiting a working brewery is peeking into the brew house and learning how the beer is made. Both MH Brew Co and Hell’s Basement offer brewery tours, but for those who want to make a day out of exploring the breweries, Tourism Medicine Hat also offers a Medicine Hat Brewery Tour, which includes beer flights and tours of both breweries. Visitors can learn how grains are magically transformed into tasty beer, get a look at professional brewing equipment, and ask brewmasters how variations in the process change the flavour of the beer. You might even get a peek at some of the seasonal brews that are in the works.