Visitors as well as locals are flocking to the newest brewery near Jasper National Park. Located a stone’s throw east of the park gates on Highway 16, or ten minutes from Hinton, Folding Mountain Brewing opened on July 10. Since then, it has taken the area by storm.
People can sit down and have a meal and enjoy our beer while taking in the amazing view of the mountainsArik Johnson
Business partners Jason Griffiths and Aric Johnson, Hinton locals who have been friends since childhood, have always been fans of craft beer. After many discussions that started with “What if we started our own brewery?” the pair decided to take the plunge and build an entire building dedicated to their craft beer passion. In addition to their brewery, Folding Mountain also has a large taproom with a full kitchen and 12 different beers on tap.
The restaurant has a variety of tasty offerings, from three different types of street-style tacos to a grilled halloumi bruschetta. Patrons can also enjoy indoor s’mores for two, a fun dessert with chocolate and marshmallows toasted in a cast iron skillet. They’re topped with pink Himalayan salt and include graham crackers for dipping.
Griffiths and Johnson hit the ground running. After only being open for a few months, the brewery and taproom took home the Innovation Award and Business of the Year (11-29 Employees) Award from the Hinton Chamber of Commerce in October.
The assortment of beers that Folding Mountain offers is enough to keep any beer connoisseur happy. They focus on local ingredients, such as the southern Alberta honey in the Three Seasons Honey Wheat Ale. The most popular beer – and the owners’ favourite – is the Parkway Porter. It’s aptly named for the road outside the brewery leading from Hinton to Jasper. It combines four different types of malt to produce a medium bodied beer with hints of chocolate and coffee.
Making the short 30 minute drive from the Jasper town site to the brewery is worthwhile. Community involvement is a top priority for Griffiths and Johnson. They host events at the taproom almost every weekend. From live music performances to participating in Alberta craft beer events, the social calendar at Folding Mountain Brewing provides entertainment alongside great beer and food.
Alberta’s craft beer scene has exploded since the 2013 legislation that made it easier to open microbreweries in the province. Griffiths says the craft beer boom has resulted in dozens of breweries striving to set themselves apart from the rest. They offer many types of beer, making it an exciting time to be in the brewing business. He expresses that Albertan brewers are very supportive of each other. They often help each other out, contributing to the strong sense of community in the province.
“We all push each other to the next level,” adds Arik Johnson. “While we’re competitors, we’re also comrades all trying to accomplish the same thing.”
This friendly competition continues to spur on Folding Mountain Brewery to keep ahead of the curve. They’re expanding their line of beers to complement the core options. Seasonal offerings keep the line exciting. Griffiths anticipates the next trend in Alberta craft beer will be sours and beers incused with different flavours.
If you fall in love with beer from Folding Mountain Brewing while on a trip through Jasper, you’re in luck. Griffiths and Johnson are increasing their distribution, and their offerings can be found in cities all across Alberta, including Calgary and Edmonton.