Seaport Beerfest

All posts tagged Seaport Beerfest

Happy Friday, Beer Fans! The weather is finally improving around our parts, and we’ve got lots of hoppy news to go with it; let’s dive right in!

• Unfiltered Brewing opened earlier this week at 6041 North Street in Halifax. They currently have three beers pouring in their retail location, Hoppy Fingers APA (4.8% ABV and 25 IBUs), Exile on North Street IPA (6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs), and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA (8.0% ABV, 100+ IBUs). For those with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities, their Exile on North Street was treated to reduce the gluten present in the final beer, and has been tested to be less than 5ppm. Their retail location is open 12-8pm Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6pm Sunday. And for those who are getting anxious to enjoy some pints of Unfiltered AT Unfiltered, fear not, work continues on their tap room adjacent to the brewery. Congratulations on the opening, to the entire Unfiltered Family!

• To celebrate next week’s upcoming annual International IPA Day (Thursday, August 6th), Upstreet will be releasing their first IPA. White Noize is being dubbed a “Wheat IPA” (think hoppy American Wheat Ale), as half of its grist is Wheat malt. Hopped with plenty of ‘C’ hops (including Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus) to 70 IBUs, this 7% ABV ale should feature plenty of citrus and dank notes. Look for it to be released next Thursday at the brewery’s taproom for growler fills and pints; they’ll also have it on cask, along with their regular-release APA, Do-Gooder.

Pump House Brewery in Moncton has released a new seasonal beer, Rose Hip Ale. This 4.5% ABV beer was brewed with rose hips, local to the region, with a distinct floral and citrus aroma, and full of vitamin C. Orange peel was also used in the brew to complement the hips. The colour is a golden copper tone, stemming from specialty malts and the orange colour of the rose hips – no artificial colourings were used. The beer will be available at both the the ANBL and NSLC shortly.

• Also new from Pump House this week, is Strawberry Wheat Ale. This is a limited-supply, “German-style, unfiltered wheat beer” that features “banana-like” esters, similar to your typical Hefeweizen. However, the beer also had an addition of over 40 kg of real strawberries, giving it a “lingering, strawberry-tart finish”, according to the brewery. Coming in at 5.2% ABV, it has a very low bitterness at 9 IBUs. You can find it on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, select beer bars and restaurants across NB and NS, and at the Dieppe ANBL growler station this weekend.

• There’s a new beer on tap from Picaroons at the Brewtique in Fredericton, which was just released yesterday. ESB-231 was brewed to celebrate the New Brunswick Day long weekend (starting… today!), and features all NB malts and hops. This Extra Special Bitter is “moderately-malty, and moderately-hopped” with both Cascade and Centennial. Recipe-wise, it’s actually quite similar to their regular-release Best Bitter, but aside from all-local ingredients, this batch was also dry-hopped in the fermentor. This quite-limited 6.2% ABV British-style ale will also be pouring at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend.

• While on the topic of the NB Day long weekend, let’s review what’s going on, beer-wise, in the province over the next few days! The James Joyce “18 Lines, 18 NB Breweries” event starts today at 3 pm, and it has actually been increased to 19 taps, as newcomer Half Cut released their first beer last Friday! No tickets for entry required, just be sure to show up over the weekend to try a plethora of NB-brewed beers! Keep in mind they’re also open on Sunday for this weekend. There’s still some tickets left for the 3rd annual Fredericton Beer Run; with 18 breweries pouring around 40 beers, cider, and mead after the running portion of the event, it’s the perfect way to exercise and indulge at the same time! Check out our previous post for more details. And to top it off, all four ANBL growler stations will feature NB-brewed beers, including Hammond River Covered Bridge ESB at the KV location, Railcar Grapefruit Pale Ale in Fredericton, and Fils du Roy Caraquet Flyer in Sackville, to name a few. Check the full list here.

• If you hadn’t pre-ordered tickets for the Sunset Heights Meadery Autumn Mead Release Party (being held Saturday, October 24th from 5-9 pm at the Crowne Plaza), good news! They will be releasing the few remaining tickets online this Sunday, starting at 9 am. The event features special-release meads, a “Local Harvest Meal”, a collectible glass, and the right to purchase up to 24 bottles of mead. Tickets are extremely limited (only seven remaining), so be sure to grab yours while you can!

• Over on the Rock, YellowBelly has a new beer on tap – Robert the Spruce is a Pale Ale that has been brewed with spruce tips. Golden-amber in color, it clocks in at 5.5% ABV. While having a calculated bitterness of only 28 IBUs, the perceived bitterness is actually much higher due to the use of the spruce tips, according to the brewery. Look for bottles of this one to be available at the brewery and select NLC stores by the end of next week.

Garrison Brewing has a pair of new brews on at their Marginal Rd location these days. The first is Trop Yard Radler, a blend of their Hop Yard Pale Ale and with fresh lime and orange juice. Despite the low ABV (3.4%), the blend packs a punch of tropical fruit character and solid bitterness. It is available at the brewery for growler fills and on-site sampling. The second beer is called Fluffernutter. It is a special batch of their Nut Brown Ale, infused with marshmallows, which lend a slight sweetness to the beer, as well as their distinctive aroma and taste. The Fluffernutter is 5% ABV, and due to its limited availability, is only available for onsite consumption at the brewery. Get down there today for a taste before its all gone!

The Nook and Cranny in Truro has brewed up a new beer. NovelTea Passionfruit Ale is based on their Wheat Ale, with some special additions. After fermentation, 22 litres of steeped Satya Tea blend Berry Bliss was added to the beer. It is a blend of dried chamomile, chicory root, hibiscus flowers, rose hips, and strawberries. In addition to the tea, puréed passion fruit is added to the beer for additional tart, bitter, and citrus characteristics. Look for the beer to be on tap shortly, for pints in the pub, and growlers to go.

• The brewery and beer list for next weekend’s Seaport Beerfest (Aug 7-8) was released this morning. They will be featuring plenty of Maritime, Quebec, Ontario, and Maine breweries, as well as several Irish breweries again this year. The extremely popular Cask Beer Pavillion will be making a return, with an expanded lineup. The Ladies Beer League will be operating that Pavillion, and the Fest and LBL will be donating to Adsum House. This year’s special guest is Gráinne Walsh of Metalman Brewing in Waterford, Ireland. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, you are not too late! Tickets for all sessions are still available, including the Friday night VIP session, which includes a limited edition sampling glass and opener, participation in a Q&A session with a brewer’s panel, guided tasting of a few brews, and early access to the Fest. For those of you who like to travel in packs, tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the group discount option, for groups of 15 or more. Email Joanne for more information.

• The Moncton Beer League is holding another beer and food pairing that features Nova Scotia beer, on Friday, August 28th from 7-10 pm. Early-bird tickets are on sale now until August 4th, and are $39 + fee. They also have some other events planned for the future, including an Oktoberfest event in the fall, and a group cruise next May. More on those events, soon!

Enjoy your weekend! And be sure to stock up on some locally-brewed IPAs for next Thursday!


This coming Friday and Saturday, August 9th-10th, the 7th Annual Halifax Seaport Beer Festival take place at the Cunard Centre on the Halifax waterfront. Featuring lots of beer, food, and live music, it’s a popular event for beer-lovers in Atlantic Canada every summer. We recently exchanged emails with Brian Titus, President of Garrison Brewing, to get a little more information on the festival.

ACBB: This year, the Fest will be held in the Cunard Centre. Can you tell me about this change in venue?

Brian Titus: The change was necessitated by progress, as the Port was doing construction that meant the street site wasn’t available. Loved that street! That said, Cunard Centre has more room, provides sun and rain shelter for the breweries/attendees, has more bathrooms (no more Porta-Potties!), a food truck/boardwalk patio, and 375 feet of waterfront patio with a lifeguard!

With craft beer exploding in the Atlantic region and around the world, can you tell me about the local breweries that attendees will be able to try, as well as some special breweries from further away?

Local has come on strong this year, with all four new Nova Scotia breweries represented: Big Spruce, Bridge Brewing, Boxing Rock & Uncle Leo’s! Sea Level is back (Harvest Wines booth) and the newly expanded Hell Bay will be in for both Saturday sessions. Add in some cask offerings from Garrison and a barrel-aged Rockbottom monster, and WOW! The Irish Craft Beer Village is also big news. Seven Irish micros and cideries shipped a pallet of what’s exciting in Ireland today. Along for the ride is VIP guest Seamus O’Hara (Carlow Brewery) & Daniel Emerson (Stonewell Cider). Ontario came on strong as well with 40% more brands (!) including Denison’s Weissbier, three Spearhead brands and four from new brewery Sawdust City. Quebec is big again with more Trou du Diable, Brasseurs du Temps, Charlevoix & (new) Micro du Lac Saint-Jean. Maine returns for the 7th year with lots of favorites, plus tasty new micro Rising Tide. Finally, check out three Bruery (from California) beers, one for each session, at Premier’s booth.

I see a few ciders will also be available, can you comment on those drinks? Any other beverage styles to be highlighted (craft sodas, etc)?

Gluten-free beers and cider grow every year as their markets expand. Cider has fully doubled this year with 17 great offerings, including those brought directly from Ireland. Beyond that there’s really no interest in expanding to new categories. Whiskeys, coolers, ready-to-drinks… just not what this event is about.

What food options will be available at the fest?

Always strong on local and good-value food that is beer-friendly and no more than $5. We’ll have our first food truck with Food Wolf on the boardwalk, plus Q Smokehouse, Bramoso Pizza and Saege/Stubborn Goat inside. Hell, Stubborn Goat isn’t even open and we’ve got them!

It looks like a great line-up of entertainers for the sessions; will they be playing throughout, or one group per sessions?

One per session as in the past, providing three very different backgrounds but never overtaking the beer. DJ Stilldrunk (I didn’t name him!) Friday, Thom Swift band (think Hot Toddy fame) Saturday afternoon, and Petty Larceny returning to close us out Saturday night.

I see that you have some charitable partners this year, can you comment on that?

Prostate Cancer Canada is our main charity partner and we’re increasing our contribution once again this year. We’ve also been pretty taken aback by the Lac Mégantic tragedy and are working with the Quebec micros to raise several thousand for a targeted Red Cross Relief Fund. We’re hoping people can spare a couple bucks at the fest to throw into the a donation box onsite and top that up. Lastly, the Ladies Beer League is gathering before the Saturday afternoon session and plan to raise a few hundred dollars towards the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre.

How many sessions and what are the ticket prices for these? One more popular than the others, or are they all equally well-attended?

As in the past, there will be 3 sessions: Friday evening (7-9:30), Saturday afternoon (2-4:30) and evening (7-9:30). Tickets unchanged at $45/$40/$45 (+hst) respectively. Go Ticket Atlantic for online convenience and NSLC stores for no surcharges. Saturday evening sells out, period. The afternoon is my favorite though as all breweries are there and the vibe is just more relaxed. Can’t beat havin’ a beer on the pier in the sun, too!

Are there any options for Designated Drivers?

Yup, $10 gets you a vitamin water and access to the good times with your “non-designated” friends. No pre-purchase necessary, and you won’t be turned away even if the session is sold out.

Are you looking for volunteers? If so, how can someone apply?

All spots were filled a month in advance with over 150 signed up and lots of returning folks. For anyone interested next year it’s a pretty good gig – free T-shirt, food ticket, no crappy jobs and a half-price ticket for another session (free ticket if you volunteer twice).

Are there any events planned surrounding the fest (Brewers breakfast, VIP tastings, etc)?

One that’s open to the public: the Irish Rare Beer Dinner at Brussels Brasserie. Hosted by Seamus O’Hara (Carlow Brewery); amazing meal paired with four Irish craft beers/cider and ending with a barrel-aged O’Hara’s Leann Folláin Whiskey-Aged Irish Stout – Yum! The other is a closed event – The Brewers Brunch at Old Triangle. It’s really a chance for brewers and owners to network and shoot the sh#t while fueling up for a long day of sampling.

Do you have an idea on how many breweries will be coming, and what sort of numbers of beers?

So, the final list is on the website and the numbers are… 110 breweries and 267 brands (40% more than last year)!

Thank you to Brian for all of the great information. With indoor facilities this year, breweries and attendees alike will not have to worry about the fast-changing Halifax weather! in addition to the beer list above, take note of the floor layout, so you can make an attack plan to hit your favourite breweries first. As Brian also mentioned, some beers or breweries will only be attending certain sessions, so check the list to be sure you choose wisely. Saturday afternoon looks to be our favourite, but whichever you choose, you’ll have a great time. Hope to see you there!

– Tomorrow, May 4th, Picaroons will be hosting a tap-takeover at Plan B Bar & Lounge in Moncton. For this “May the 4th Be With You” event, the six taps will include Dark & Stormy Night, Dooryard, Best Bitter, Timber Hog, Yippee IPA, and Feelsgood Imperial Pilsner; the band Gravity Strike will also be providing live music. Tickets are $10, and the event starts at 10:00 p.m.

Also on Saturday, Picaroons is releasing a special beer named JED IPA. This beer is their Yippee IPA “insanely dry-hopped with Galaxy, Comet, Aurora, Delta, Apollo, and Phoenix hops”, according to Dennis Goodwin, Marketing Director at Picaroons. JED IPA will be available exclusively at the Picaroons Brewtique in growlers only, and also on tap at Plan B Saturday night.

– The Pump House Brewery has released two more of their seasonal beers in bottles, just in time for the warm weather! The Maple Ale, at 5% ABV, is described as an amber-colored beer with an aroma that is slightly sweet, yet with a hint of Columbus hops in the background. The taste shows off the maple character, as the beer is “allowed to age upon an ample quantity of pure maple syrup, sourced from locally tapped sugar maple trees”. The second beer is their Braunschweig Wicked Wheat (Braunschweig is the German word for “Brunswick”). Also at 5% ABV, this beer sounds like it’s along the lines of a Hefeweizen, with a golden color, and aromas and flavors of banana and clove. Look for these beers at various ANBL stores across New Brunswick.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza Cape Breton is having a busy time these days, brewing often to keep up with demand in Cape Breton, Halifax, and locations in between. They are looking for a summer student to run their sales counter four days a week, to help move their growlers and merchandise. If you are over 19 and interested, email

They also have lots of certified organic hop rhizomes available (they grow and use their own hops whenever possible), email them for details. Jeremy will be happy to give you a crash course on growing hops at home!

– Hell Bay Brewing is continuing their move to a bigger and better location, and will be selling out of their Liverpool location (38 Legion St) this weekend (Fri-Sun, 12-6pm each day). They will be having a Grand Opening mid-June to celebrate their move, and we will keep you up-to-date with the details. Congratulations to Hell Bay on their continued success!

– Propeller Brewing is releasing their newest One Hit Wonder beer today. The style is an Imperial Red Ale, and unfortunately is only available in growlers at the brewery on Gottingen. Also, local drinks writer Craig Pinhey has details on Propeller’s expansion into Dartmouth in the latest edition of Taps Magazine.

Garrison Brewing is also going through a major expansion in downtown Halifax, and we hope to give you some details on this soon. In the meantime, their much-anticipated Sugar Moon Maple beer is being released today at the brewery, and at Premier Wine and Spirits and Bishop’s Cellar this weekend. It will also be available at the ANBL shortly.

– Tickets for the afternoon session of the Atlantic Beer Festival in Moncton on May 25th are still available. Breweries from all over the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and Maine will be in attendance. We hope to have the brewery and beer list for you soon.

– It’s not for several months, but the Seaport Beer Festival has put out their call for volunteers. The festival is taking place in Halifax August 9-10, and volunteer spots fill up early, so contact them for more details.