Thursday, August 13, 2009

3rd Annual Seaport Beerfest

This past Saturday was a hot sunny day- the ideal day in fact, to spend drinking copious amounts of beer- and so I did, at the 3rd Annual Halifax Seaport Beerfest. This was my first experience at Beerfest, and I was quite pleased to have the excuse to sample over 100 varieties of beer and cider...for research purposes, of course.

I started off the day with a media tour, and was then joined by to take it all in on camera. There were over 140 beers and ciders to sample from nearly 65 producers worldwide. Almost every microbrewery in the Maritimes was in attendance, and there were several newcomers such as Halifax's Rockbottom Brewery and Sea Level Brewery from Port Williams. I didn't get all the booths in my own shots, but we visited almost all of the booths on-camera. You can watch all the excitement here!

Now, I must remind you that I merely drink beer, and don't often write about it, so please don't hold my amateur descriptors against me!

At Garrison Brewery, I tried a couple favorites, their IPA and Nut Brown, along with their new Jalapeno brew. This stuff is potent. I took a swig as like any beer and waited...and then, slowly, my mouth heated up! This is a great BBQ beer. I can't help but wonder how a batch of beer battered fish & chips would turn out if this were the libation of choice??

Rudders Brewpub offered their "famous" Fishcakes and Chow. These fresh haddock fishcakes are a best seller on Rudder's menu. I washed one of these baby's down with some Rudders' Red.

Though well known for their delectable wines, representatives from Grand Pre Winery were in attendance with their Stutz Cider. I love this stuff; so crisp and clean and the perfect alternative to beer on a hot sunny day. Would also love to try this w/ a BBQ'd pork chop and coleslaw!

Sweet treats at the The Sweet Spot Chocolate Shop

Chocolate covered potato chips- yup, they're as good as you think!

Tideview Cider presented their Premium Draught Cider. A limited edition, this vintage is crafted from 100% Golden Russet apples . This was a nice discovery as a bottle retails at $11-$13, and has a definite celebratory appeal.

At the Granite Brewery, I tried both of their products; the Green Man Organic Ale and their Peculiar Strong Ale. I loved both of these, but the Green Man had a rather distinctive flavor.

I realised, as I approached Sea Level Brewery, I got a little nostalgic; I realized I wrote my very first blog post for With Bite last summer on The Port Gastropub. I knew those beers tasted familiar. I sampled them all anyway; the Blue Heron Extra Special Bitter, the Planter's Pale ale, and the Port in the Storm Porter, my favorite with hints of coffee and chocolate.

The Port Pub from Port Williams had some tasty pulled pork sammys!

Bud Light Lime. Ah-the controversy! I seem to be in attendance whenever the matter of a pre-limed beer is at play. Some people love the ease and convenience, while others prefer the authenticity to slicing up a lime. Well, here's what I have to say: If you're at a party, and you want to have lime in your beer, and you don't want to seek out the host and go rummaging around in their cabinets for a cutting board and a knife, this is the beer for you! Myself? We'll, I'd buy the beer and the lime...separately.

The seafood sausage from Scanway Catering was a great alternative from a pork or beef option, and would have paired nicely with a variety of light beers offered at the event. The sausage married a mixture of haddock, scallops, salmon and coldwater shrimp, and was served with beet sauerkraut. They also served delicate, yet decadent blueberry tarts with a thick, creamy custard and gigantic blueberries. Might have gotten a little carried away with the tart photos, but they were just so amazing!

Atlantic Spirits & Wines brought in some great stuff from Alberta's Big Rock Brewery and Toronto's Mill St. Brewery. I tried Big Rock's Grasshopper, a pale ale with a bite of citrus. The rep urged me to try it with a slice of lemon and it was pretty tasty! From Mill St., I tried their Coffee Porter- and realised I'm a sucker for a good porter!

I was really impressed with Moncton's Pumphouse Brewery. I was immediately attracted to their Blueberry Beer. I'll be honest, I thought it would be gross, but I really quite liked it! A light, berry flavor was a nice change and subtle enough that I could have a few of these without getting sick of them. I also tried their SOB- couldn't resist! This stuff would be great with some good spicy food. By the time I got to Sleeman's Brewery, I was in need of a familiar beer. If I'm looking for a Cream Ale, I really like Sleeman's version. Their Honey Brown is pretty tasty as well!

Ah, McAuslan! This brewery is near and dear to my heart. I've always loved to treat myself to their unique Apricot Wheat Ale, yet I thrilled to discover their Mystique Cider this weekend. This bevy embodies the characteristic of refreshing. I also sampled their St-Ambrose Oatmeal Stout. This intense beer gave me some serious cravings, and I'd love to pair it with something rich and sweet like an espresso brownie or a good quality Brie.

Again, another lime in beer offering in the form of Moosehead's Light Lime. I stated my opinion on the matter above, but this would be my choice over the Bud Light Lime. Moosehead's version has a subtler lime flavor, and I could see myself being able to drink a few of these, while with Bud's offering I would settle for just the one.

As I mentioned, I didn't manage to get photos of everything, and some of those omissions are certainly worth mentioning:

Propeller Brewery, hands down, makes my favorite IPA in the city! After realizing my love of porter on Saturday, Propeller's London Style Porter was delish as well.

Premier Wine & Spirits had several offerings from Dieu du Ciel: their Aphrodisiaque, a blend of coffee, chocolate & vanilla and their Route des Épices, a lovely, spicy beer brewed with black peppercorns!

Not gonna lie, I may have gone back for a couple samples of Diaego Canada Inc.'s Strongbow and Newcastle Brown!

This was such a great time. People were laughing and singing and standing up straight, surprisingly enough. Seaport Beerfest was a great opportunity to explore not only new beers from around the world, but new ones down the street!

1 comment:

Brewnoser said...

Nice to see you had fun with the beer. One minor point, Garrison has been making Jalapeno beer for a long time now. Even before they moved to the current location.