Pedal Pub’s core tour is through Inglewood, Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood
When Calgary’s multi-person party bike brewery tour Pedal Pub first launched this spring, many beer lovers were a little disappointed that while the communal bike took them from brewery to brewery, they couldn’t actually drink aboard the bike itself. It was fun to join in the spectacle of tooling around Calgary’s beer-rich neighbourhoods on a giant blue and yellow pedal contraption, but the bike seemed like little more than a glorified taxi that required customers to provide their own pedal power.That all changed this June when Pedal Pub was given the go-ahead to serve alcohol on board the bike — the first such license granted in the entire country. Riders can now order a cooler of beer and cider to drink while they pedal from stop to stop to drink… more beer.A Pedal Patio?
The Pedal Pub bike makes a stop at Ol’ Beautiful in Calgary
The 15-seat Pedal Pub might look familiar to anyone who has been to Nashville — it’s the same kind of Dutch-made vehicle used by the Nashville Pedal Tavern. I took a ride on the maiden licensed voyage (yes, I was one of the first people in Canada to legally drink a beer on a bike tour and I surely won’t be among the last) and the experience is quite formidable — at 5’4” I needed a hand hoisting myself onto my seat and once I was up there I had to hold on fairly tight, only drinking from my Tool Shed beer when the bike came to a full stop, in fear of becoming the first person in Canada to fall to her death from a licensed beer bike tour.That said, the bike is fairly easy to pedal (the steering is left to a professional), though you are actually pedalling the whole time and are forced to go at a pretty decent clip since the bike rolls alongside regular traffic. If you’re looking like you’ve consumed enough beer to lose your sense of balance, staff will cut you off and sit you on the more stable bench at the back of the bike or in the center of the “patio” where there’s no risk of tumbling onto the street.Once everyone was onboard and ready to pedal, the bike’s “pilot” gave our instructions on how to stay safe on the bike and then we set off. The music was blasting (Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”) and there was plenty of whopping, fist pumping, and high-fiving of random pedestrians that we passed on the sidewalk. Make no mistake — this is a slightly obnoxious affair. Passersby may shake their heads and write you off as an uncouth hoser as you holler and wildly wave from the bike, but once you get over that and just lean into it, the journey actually is a lot of fun.The Tour
Cold Garden is a popular brewery thanks to its relaxed vibe.
In spite of the novelty, Pedal Pub is a legitimate beer tour. Over the last few years Calgary’s craft brewery scene has exploded: both the quantity and the quality of the city’s many brews are astonishingly high. Pedal Pub offers a couple of different tours, with visit to breweries in either Inglewood or the Beltline, both located in Calgary’s core. Inglewood would be my first pick — as Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood it makes for an interesting tour even without the beer and it’s also home to some of the city’s very best breweries.Pedal Pub works with several different brewery partners and doesn’t guarantee any specific stops, but you can expect to hit places like Cold Garden, Ol’ Beautiful and Eighty-Eight in Inglewood or Last Best and Inner City Brewing in the Beltline. The tours take two hours to complete and while beer is not included at any of the stops, participants do get discounted pricing at all of the breweries.Seats on the bike can either be booked by the group (you need a gang of at least eight people to book a private trip for $599) or you can grab an individual seat for $50 per person. The Inglewood tour starts at Pedal Pub’s headquarters at 1417 9 Avenue SE and the Beltline tours meet at Village Ice Cream in Victoria Park (absolutely do budget in some time to get a cone before or after your tour). Pedal Pub recommends that all riders arrange for a pick-up at the meeting point at the end of the tour. If you’re visiting from out of town and don’t have a designated driver, Calgary is well-stocked with Ubers — it may be legal to drink and ride a communal bike, but after two hours of beer drinking, getting behind the wheel of a car is not a good idea.Related