The beer landscape in our region has grown extensively over the past few years, with breweries and brewpubs opening in all four Atlantic provinces. From nano brewers in the owners’ basement or garage, to larger craft breweries undergoing massive expansion, many different paths to great breweries are found in Atlantic Canada. To highlight and celebrate the high quality, diverse flavours and styles of beer from our region, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are being held October 4th and 5th in Halifax.
The brainchild of the Atlantic Chapter of Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS-AC), this BJCP-sanctioned event will see the best beers in our region rewarded for quality, consistency and experimentation. Beers will be judged in 15 main categories, ranging from light lagers to imperial stouts, with many sub-categories encompassing all styles in between. More important than being overly critical of beer flaws, or strictly defining which narrow style a beer must a part of, the judges at the Awards are featuring the diversity and quality of beers brewed in Atlantic Canada. Our region already has several Awards for homebrewers (including the Garrison Brewing Home Brew-Off and Big Spruce Brewing Home Brew Competition), however no local competitions open to commercial brewers. The Canadian Brewing Awards saw over 1000 beers entered in 2014, and highlighted that it was time to hold a competition locally.
In addition to the 15 style category winners, outstanding brews can be nominated by judges to take home Beer of the Year honours. Breweries and Brewpubs with several excellent beers are also in the running Brewery of the Year and Brewpub of the Year, based on the performance of four previously-nominated beers.
The judging will be undertaken Saturday afternoon by BJCP-certified judges and industry members from across the region, as well as special guest Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato. For more information on Amato and the Cicerone® program, please see our previous post. While in town, Amato will also be holding a Beerology seminar Sunday for CAPS-AC members and industry guests.
The Awards weekend isn’t fun for only the judges, however! Once the list of submitted beer is available, Bar Stillwell will be holding a People’s Choice Award poll, where the public can choose their favourite beers from those entered. It will be tallied online, and at the bar, so stay tuned for those details Friday.
What are Beer Awards, without a fun evening of celebrating and enjoying the winning beers? Sunday, October 5th, will see Amato hosting a Gala Dinner at the Stubborn Goat preceded by the awards reception held from 6-7pm. The event is open to participating breweries, as well as those members of the public who will be staying for the Beer Dinner held immediately following, also hosted by Amato, with local beers paired with some great local food from Stubborn Goat’s kitchen. The beer and food menu has been released, and we are looking forward to seeing several exciting beers on the menu that evening: Bad Apple Brewhouse Cucumber Mint paired with a Noggins Farm salad (root vegetables, feta, and gremolata), North Brewing North End Winter Saison Ale paired with scallops and apple butter, Big Spruce Bitter Get’er India Black IPA paired with duck breast and duck confit on spelt risotto, and Garrison Brewing Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale paired with a dessert of Ginger Spice Cake. Tickets for the dinner are $80 (including HST and gratuity), and can be reserved via email.
If you are not able to attend the beer dinner, but would still like to meet and chat with Mirella Amato, the Ladies Beer League is hosting a Book Launch for her book at Lion & Bright Monday, October 6th, from 6-8pm. Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer…Even More, is a multi-faceted approach to beer appreciation, from ideas on improving your tasting techniques, food and beer pairing ideas, and how to hold your own beer-tasting parties. Grab the book, and a pint, and talk beer with Mirella and local beer fans.
For breweries looking to take part, registration for the Awards is open now, and closes this Friday, Sept 26. Beer must be received between Sept 25 and Oct 2. For the latest news and results, stay tuned to the ACBA Twitter and Facebook pages.
The Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are sponsored by The Stubborn Goat, Bar Stillwell, The Pub Magazine, Chronicle Herald and Jym Line Glassware. Presented in partnership with Tracy Phillippi (Craft Beer Experiences), Mark DeWolf (By The Glass Tours), The Brewnosers & Atlantic Canada Beer Blog.