A year ago today I started this blog based on a New Year’s resolution.  Now, due to a perfect storm of personal (I’d like to focus on my new hobby) and professional reasons, I don’t have much free time on my hands.  As as a result, I don’t have time to run this blog anymore.  I am pleased to say that the blog will go on and will no doubt be better than ever.

Introducing “acbbchris” and “atlanticbeernick”, who will be managing the blog going forward.  As a general rule Chris will be writing about the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland scenes and Nick will be writing about New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.  To introduce each of them to readers I asked them to answer a couple of questions, here are their answers:


ACBB:  How did you develop your love of beer?
Chris:  I did not drink beer until being exposed to well-crafted beer while on a work trip to Germany. I was staying in a small town in the Southwestern part of Germany (Ettlingen), and visited the town’s brewpub, Der Vogel. The amazing flavours and aroma from these great beer really struck a chord with me, something that North American macro beer had never done. After returning to Halifax, I sought out the local beer scene, enjoying the offerings from Garrison, Propeller, Granite as well as the Rogue’s Roost Brewpub. 

Around that time, I stumbled across the Brewnosers Club, the local homebrew and beer advocacy group, and have been an active participant ever since. Despite the NS-centric name, we have members all across the Atlantic provinces, and beyond (members in Western Canada, the US, and even Europe!). Discussions on homebrewing beer, mead and wine, food and good commercial beer and restaurants happen every day.

Since then, I’ve returned to Europe a couple of times, with stops in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland and Czech Republic. The latest highlight was a trip to Ebenezer’s Pub in Lovell, ME for their 8th Annual Belgian Beer Fest in August.

ACBB: Why are you interested in blogging about the local beer scene and beer in general and what are your plans for the blog?
Chris:  I am interested in spreading news on up-and-coming as well as established craft beer and breweries, as well as profile local homebrewers. I hope to make weekly posts to the blog.


ACBB:  How did you develop your love of beer?
Nick: I spent many of my earlier beer drinking years wishing I could be a beer snob but never really pulling it off. I wanted to order a Garrison Imperial IPA, but Keith’s was still my “IPA” of choice. I would order a Picaroons Irish Red, and wish it was as good as a Rickards. Then it all changed on a trip to England with my girlfriend, who is now my wife and primary beer drinking companion. 

In an effort to see parts of London we had never seen before, we decided to do somewhat of a pub crawl, and found a guide to the oldest and most unique pubs. Once we were in the second or third pub, it became painfully obvious that we couldn’t just go in and order a Heineken or a Carlsberg at every bar, that would just be disrespectful. Thus began our discovery of cask-conditioned ales. Upon returning to New Brunswick, we immediately sought out anything resembling a bitter or ale, which soon led to the discovery of the craft brewing scene in Atlantic Canada, a scene that still fascinates, surprises, and occasionally baffles me. 
ACBB: Why are you interested in blogging about the local beer scene and beer in general and what are your plans for the blog?
Nick: I hope to be able to make posts to the blog every couple of weeks. I love pubs, so some profiles of the Atlantic Canadian pubs that serve exceptional microbrews is to be expected. I also travel frequently to the New England states, so I will likely profile some craft beer road trips easily doable from Atlantic Canada. I love to look off the beaten path, so I hope to share some of the gems I unearth via the blog.

I am really looking forward to reading their posts and seeing where they take this blog.

The contact email address for this blog remains the same.  The existing Twitter account ( @ACBeerBlogger ) will continue to be used to update new posts from the blog.

Before signing off, I’d like to acknowledge the many people who have taken time to contribute to making the blog what it has been.  A full list of people who have contributed time to content that has appeared in this blog can be seen here.  Additionally, I’d like to thank PEI native Greg Clow from Canadian Beer News for tips to a rookie blogger and for several links to the blog.  I’d also like to thank Troy Burtch from the Great Canadian Beer Blog for doing up a post about the blog when it was in its infancy.  Chris Schryer from the Toronto Beer Blog was also kind enough to put a plug in for the blog in its very early days as did Texan / honorary Atlantic Canadian Chuck Gillis.  Obviously I really want to thank Chris and Nick for taking on this blog and not letting something I’ve put a lot of time and effort into die.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning a great deal about the local beer scene and have met many very knowledgeable, and much more importantly, great people along the way.

I am really impressed with how the local beer scene has improved over the last several years and have really noticed great strides this past year while following it more closely than ever.  There are multiple nanobreweries popping up in all corners of Atlantic Canada and many more rumored to be on their way.  It’s also great to see how beer festivals have grown in the region.  In 2006, the inaugural Atlantic Beer Festival took place in Moncton.  Since then, festivals are now taking place as well in Halifax, St. John’s, Saint John, two on the Island and a new one planned for Fredericton.  I’m very excited about the prospects of the local beer scene and only see it improving in the coming years.  There’s never been a better time to be a beer geek in Atlantic Canada.

Overall my goal with this blog was to raise awareness of the great beers offered by the Atlantic Canadian breweries big and small and hope I’ve done that.  I hope that the next time you pick up beer it is Atlantic Canadian craft beer.


Before going into full blown holiday mode, I wanted to do up a post looking back at the profiles that I’ve done over the year. Here’s the list of everyone I want to thank for taking the time to contribute to content on this blog (for anyone I may have missed, I apologize, I will no doubt think of you 30 seconds after I click “Publish”):

  • Derek Leslie from Shiretown brewery for being the guinea pig for my first profile of a brewery.
  • The PEI Beer Guy for passing along tips for a new blogger and for taking the time for a Q & A with me.
  • The Garrison Brewing crew for answering questions over email for a profile from early in the year and specifically for Brian Titus for taking the time to meet with me in June for an interview.  Garrison has been great in keeping me in the loop for press releases related to Garrison and the Seaport Beerfest (thanks Katie!).  While I’ve been fortunate to have the cooperation of many breweries in Atlantic Canada, Garrison Brewing wins the award for “Most Atlantic Canada Beer Blog Friendly Brewery”.
  • Taylor McAuslan for taking the time for a brewery tour and interview for a profile of McAuslan Brewery.  No, they’re not Atlantic Canadian but they are a great brewery!
  • Chris McDonald to taking the time to answer questions for a profile of the Brewnosers,  for letting me join the Brewnosers for one of their meetings in June at his place and for letting me sample some of his home brew.  Chris and his brewing partner Brian make a wicked Wit and Creme Brule Stout and are a big inspiration as to why I’ve started all grain brewing myself.  Chris has also answered many home brewing related questions for me “offline”.
  • The Living Legend of the Atlantic Canada Beer scene, Greg Nash, for taking the time to complete a Q & A with me over email.  Also for treating me to a few of his outstanding beers in June at Rockbottom when he shared some of his war stories.  The man could write a book about his experiences brewing just about everywhere in the Maritimes.
  • Patrice Godin from Acadie-Broue for taking the time to do a profile for the blog and for sharing some of his vast beer knowledge over a beer on a few occasions.  In my mind, he, Nash and Daniel Girard from Garrison Brewing Company are the three most creative brewers in Atlantic Canada.
  • “Raven and Sierra” for taking the time to do a guest post for the blog and much more importantly, bringing an amazing selection of craft beer for an unforgettable beer tasting in June.  Between “Raven” and Patrice who joined us for most of that fateful night, I learned an unbelievable amount about beer (and an idea of how much I have yet to learn).
  • Tico and Jaf, a couple of guys from Montreal who met with me for a few beers and the chance to discuss the Montreal beer scene.  Thanks again to “Raven” for introducing me to Tico.
  • The guys from Darkside Brewing for taking the time to do a Q & A over email.
  • Shawn Meek for taking the time to answer questions over email to do a Q & A with him.  On a personal note, Shawn has answered a ton of questions over email to regarding home brewing.  My first batch brewed was a personal recommendation for me and am going with recommendations from him for my 2nd and 3rd batches.  I’ve been fortunate enough to sample a few of his brews and they are excellent.
  • Dennis Goodwin from Picaroons for answering a series of questions over email including information for a profile of Picaroons.  I also wanted to mention that I have heard many stories from multiple breweries first hand (I’m sure there are others) about how helpful Picaroons has been in helping new breweries start up and on-going support (Stephen Dixon is actually brewing at their site).  Sean and the folks at Picaroons take the “brotherhood of craft brewing” to the next level.
  • Andrew Cooper from Propeller for answering questions over email and for setting up an interview with company president John Allen for me.
  • Shaun Fraser from Pump House Brewery for taking the time for an interview for a profile for the blog and for Alina for answering questions over email about Pump House news.
  • Dave Evans, a.k.a Beer Maven, for taking the time to answer questions over email for a Q & A about his blog.
  • Peter Burbridge from the soon to be open Bridge Brewing Co. for taking the time to answer questions over email for a Q & A and then doing it again.  It’s very exciting to see a new brewery focusing on a more Belgian flavour and with a zero-emissions goal.
  • Mike Ferguson for taking the time to write the Story of Ruddy’s Brewpub.
  • Jeremy White for taking the time to do a Q & A related to his new brewery, Big Spruce Brewing.
  • Stephen Dixon for doing a Q & A for his new brewery, Grimross Brewing.
  • Mark Baillie for taking the time to do a Q & A for Hell Bay Brewing.
  • Chris Conway for doing a Q & A related to Newfoundland Beer History.
  • Richard Bennett for doing a Q & A related to the New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association.
  • Mike Buhler for doing a Q & A regarding his Newfoundland Beer Purchasing Club.

Very BIG changes are going to be taking place on this blog in the near future.   Stay tuned.


Mirella Amato recently contacted me to advise me of a press release regarding her becoming the first and only Canadian Master Cicerone.  Following the press release I’ve added her response to my questions as to her thoughts on the local scene and whether or not she has plans to return to our area in the foreseeable future.

Toronto – Dec 13, 2012 – The first Canadian Master Cicerone® is declared; Mirella Amato is now one of only six Master Cicerones in North America. It’s remarkable that a woman should be the first Canadian to earn this high distinction in a typically male dominated industry.

Becoming the best in beer

To become a Master Cicerone®, candidates must get top marks (at least 85%) in two intensive days of 10 hours of written questions, two hours of oral exams and two hours of beer testing and evaluation!

“The whole exam is gruelling. It’s an exercise in stamina, going back and forth between essay questions, oral exams and tasting exams for hours, and then waking up the next day and doing it all over again. I slept for two days after it was all over,” says Mirella of her experience.

According to the Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) program website, a Master Cicerone® must “possess encyclopedic knowledge of beer” and have “highly refined tasting ability.”

Move over wine, beer is raising the bar  

SCTV legends, Bob and Doug McKenzie, would probably be blown away by Mirella’s accomplishment. No doubt they would say “beauty.”

Experts like Mirella are reshaping the future of beer with their specialized knowledgeable and passion for the craft. With consumer demand for specialized beer expertise on the rise and the burgeoning craft-beer industry, the concept of beer experts with an elite pedigree is garnering credibility and respect.

“Because my area of specialization is so new, it’s important to me that people know they can trust my level of expertise. The Craft Beer Institute’s Cicerone program provides exactly that; it’s an independent assessment by an established and credible organization,” says Mirella Amato.

The master wine sommelier had better watch out, as the popularity, novelty, and abundance of beer is embraced by a new breed of hip gourmet foodies and drinkers.

About the award: The Cicerone® Certification Program

The Master Cicerone® title is the third and top level of the program

  • Mirella Amato is only the second Canadian to attempt the Master Cicerone® exam and she is the first to pass
  • Founded in 2007, the Cicerone® Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program
  • The first level in the program is Certified Beer Server, the second level is Certified Cicerone®
  • Through 2012, there have been 36 attempts by applicants to pass the third-level Master Cicerone® exam resulting in the current roster of six Master Cicerones
  • Mirella Amato’s certification reflects the evolution of the Canadian beer scene. She is the first person outside of the USA to earn the title of Master Cicerone®

About BeerologyTM

Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato provides high caliber consulting to pubs, restaurants and breweries. Her expertise and specialized service include: advising on beer selection, beer descriptions for menus and food pairing recommendations, directing guided beer tastings, and sensory analysis training. For more on what Mirella does, please visit her website:

To contact Mirella Amato directly, please email:


Additional information >

The knowledge required for the Master Cicerones® certification is outlined in the program’s 19-page Master Syllabus which can be viewed at The website provides information on the other levels of certification leading up to the Master Cicerone® exam.

The Cicerone® Certification Program is a service of the Craft Beer Institute, the Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization. The program is directed by brewer, author and beer educator Ray Daniels. A wide range of breweries, beer distributors and retailers participate in the program.

Master Cicerone®, Certified Cicerone® and Cicerone® Certification Program are trademarks of the Craft Beer Institute, a Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization.


After receiving the press release from Mirella, I asked her the following questions:

  • What are your thoughts on the beers coming out of Atlantic Canada?
  • Last March you hosted a Women Love Beer Too Event sponsored byPicaroons.  Do you have any plans for future events in Atlantic Canada?

Here is her response:

I had a fantastic time in Fredericton earlier this year, working with Picaroons and the Garrison District Ale House on some beer tastings. I was also brought in by Garrison Brewing last year to lead some tastings at Seaport BeerFest, which gave me a great opportunity to sample beers from all over Atlantic Canada. As of now, I don’t have any upcoming gigs in your area but I do hope to have the opportunity to work out East again soon! I’ve met so many people out there who are passionate about beer, both from the consumer side and on the brewing side of things. It’s a great energy! Out here in Toronto, we don’t have access to a lot of beers from Atlantic Canada, so I love being able to come down and discover what’s brewing. Also, I’ve become quite obsessed about getting out to The Laundromat Espresso Bar in Moncton…. I think it’s awesome that there’s a brewery so tiny that it only has one tap in one place in the whole entire world… it rouses the beer geek in me!