4 Reasons why you shouldn’t miss the Seaport BEERFEST

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It’s not surprising that beer is so popular in a town known for its pubs! And August is a great time to be a beer lover in Halifax because that is when the Seaport Beerfest takes place (August 8th and 9th this year). Beerfest is Atlantic Canada’s largest gathering of local craft beer, imports and cider. I was lucky enough to attend this year’s event on Saturday, where more than 110 different producers and 275 unique products were on offer. The size of the event is not the only thing that makes it great. Here are 4 reasons why you should check out Seaport Beerfest:

1. You can support local brewers!
The craft beer scene has exploded here in the past few years, so there are lots of choices for those beer drinkers who want to support local. 9 Nova Scotia breweries were in attendance this year, from the large Garrison Brewing to the small Big Spruce. The Stillwell Cask Pavilion, set up by the popular Stillwell Beer Bar and the Ladies Beer League, featured a rotation of 15 casks (5 per session), some “one-off’s” such as the Honey Lavender Ale I tried, and some tried-and-true favourites. It is great to meet the people who are working hard to build this community, and taste the creative ideas that they come up with. I was particularly excited to see one of my personal Maritime favourite – Picaroon’s Melonhead – was there!

2. You can sample delicious food!
With a beer in one hand to wash it down, the other hand needs a snack. Bramoso, The Stubborn Goat and Waterfront Warehouse were on hand with salty, greasy eats to cut all the hops and herbs. I had the smoked chicken taco from Stubborn Goat and my companion had BBQ chicken pizza from Bramoso – both were really flavourful, easy to eat on the go, and lined the stomach nicely for further samples. Bonus: Ordering some snacks is yet another great way to support local businesses.

3. The setting rocks!
There is nothing like a cool beer by the water on a hot summer day, and the Cunard Centre is about as close to the water as you can get. Inside the space is large and open, the vibe casual, but you can also get some air on the long deck overlooking the harbour, complete with palm trees and Adirondack chairs. Feel the breeze on your face, smell the salt air and be transported to the beach or cottage. And considering some of the crazy beer names – including “Princess Wears Girl Pants”, and “Rustbucket Rye”, it is obvious many of these brewers don’t take themselves too seriously. At this festival, the relaxed seaport setting and refreshing drinks were a perfect pairing.

4. You can travel the world without leaving home!
Why get on a plane when you can visit several countries in one room! We sampled beer from breweries around the world, including the USA, Ireland, Germany, India, Singapore, Spain and Scotland. It was interesting to taste and compare each country’s interpretation of a style and see what is popular overseas. For someone like me, with diverse tastes, it was great to have so many different choices, including ciders from Denmark and England. My personal International favourite of the day was Dark Arts from Trouble Brewing in Ireland – rich, chocolatey and smooth.

Whatever your reason for attending Beerfest, it is definitely a must-do event in Halifax. I was impressed with how smoothly everything ran on Saturday, so I’d like to give props to the organizers – they clearly worked really hard to put on a fun event with something for everyone. I am really excited that the beer scene is growing here in Halifax, and I can’t wait to see what next year’s event brings.