THE LOCAL BEER SCENE HAS GROWN UP

THE LOCAL BEER SCENE HAS GROWN UP

Article: Alexander Henden
Illustration: Scott K. MacDonald

In 2010 we packed our bags and moved out east to Halifax, the place we now call home. Like so many who uproot themselves and move somewhere new, we brought our baggage with us. We brought our preconceived notions, our aspirations, our desires, our ideas and a whole lot more. One thing in particular that I brought along with me was my affinity for craft beer. I had been a steady craft beer drinker since 2008, and it's pretty clear to me today that this was a good thing to bring to Halifax.

When I first moved to the city in August 2010, I fondly remember getting excited when I found new beers from breweries I'd never heard of. Those breweries were Propeller and Garrison. I was so impressed that Nova Scotia had more to offer than Alexander Keith's and that somehow, through good fortune, we had two really good breweries with brewmasters who knew how to make beer. Imagine that!Let's imagine for a minute that we didn't pack our bags and move to Halifax in 2010, instead choosing to move here this year, in 2016. Today there are, I believe, just over 30 craft breweries producing somewhere in the neighbourhood of 250 to 300 individual beers. That's a pretty big jump. To get to this point, it's taken a lot of hard work from our local industry founders, who we are celebrating on this issue's cover. Of course there are all the new players in the game as well who dropped everything and invested their time, money and love into making craft beer. But there's another aspect to this proliferation which doesn't get talked about all that much: the local craft beer culture.

Today the city has a healthy craft beer scene. There is still a lot of room on the education side of things, but it's hard not to recognize that many local beer drinkers have gone from simply "watchin' the game, havin' a Bud," as it were, to actively exploring the province for new and exciting flavours. The beer drinker today is keenly interested in knowing how beer is made and the stories behind each brew, and this is a very significant evolution which has taken place in a very short period of time.

As we look to the future, this journey will very likely continue along its current path. Beer drinkers will continue to explore, discover and in some cases rediscover beers of their liking. They will also try beers that they dislike, and that's just part of the journey. New breweries will continue to open. Some will make it and others won't, which is to be expected as our local industry matures and becomes more competitive. The benefactor of all this, as always, will be folks like you and me who are just along for the ride. Cheers to Nova Scotia craft beer!

THE CASK BEER THROWDOWN IS ALMOST HERE! Got your tickets?

THE CASK BEER THROWDOWN IS ALMOST HERE! Got your tickets?

SALT SHAKER DELI

SALT SHAKER DELI