Behind the Name: Calgary’s Dandy Brewing Company

How one of Canada's best breweries got its name

As one of the first to introduce Calgarians to the concept of nano-brewing, the Dandy Brewing Company has long been a standout within Alberta's robust brewing community. 

Although the concept for Dandy Brewing Company began with a couple of buddies brewing at home for fun, since opening the doors to their original location in 2014 co-founders Ben Leon, Dylan Nosal, Matt Gaetz, and Derek Waghray have helped set the standard when it comes to a quality brewery experience in Canada. In addition to an ever-growing list of acclaimed libations, brewery chef Merritt Gordon provides diners with award-winning farm-to-table fare in the adjacent Dandy Tasting Room using seasonal ingredients sourced from throughout the province.

“When Dylan and I were just homebrewing, years before a brewery was in the cards, we would name all our homebrews after interesting characters from books. We then began calling our homebrewery ‘Dandy Brewing’,” Leon explains. “Dandy became a placeholder until we could settle on something."

He continues, "Weeks into the naming process, and through a laundry list a mile long of mediocre choices, one of them (Derek or Matt, I don’t remember) asked what Dandy really meant. When I explained that a Dandy is someone not driven by trends or fashion but by their own indulgences and interests, it clicked; Dandy is the perfect name.”

According to Leon, that laundry list of names included options such as Jackrabbit Brewing and Tall and Small (two owners are over 6-feet while the other two are visibly shorter), but no name was able to convey their vision as perfectly as Dandy.

“Dandy also has a kiss of levity, and fancy free to it that also really captures the way we approach what we do in the restaurant and brewery,” Leon continues. “We’re always learning, and evolving, and playing with ingredients and recipes in really fun ways, producing dishes and beers that are designed to enjoy over all instead of being forced into a mould.”

The Dandy Brewing Company reopens for beer tastings and dine-in service on February 10 at 2 p.m.