An Incredibly Timely Beerfest Recap

Beerfest

When I arrived on for the “beer on the pier” at the Seaport Beerfest—a month ago, I shamefully admit—it was bright and warm, and tents were still being set up, food and drink vendors running around getting their product sorted. The band was soundchecking. There were only a handful of people milling around the Garrison Brewery building, press passes swinging around some necks, while other necks craned to look through fridges at the gleaming bottles of beer, waiting for the ladies’ VIP tour through the festival courtesy of Beerology.com’s Mirealla Amato.

Our guides through the festival grounds were Christine from Taste of Nova Scotia—the organization that had arranged for some of their member restaurants to showcase some delicious foods to pair with some of the equally delicious brews being offered throughout the course of the festival—and Daniel Girard, the Garrison Brewmaster. I started with a tiny mug full of Garrison’s raspberry wheat, and we were soon off.

We stopped by a number of booths, my favourite perhaps being the Mill Street Brewery booth where we tried their surprisingly excellent and incredibly refreshing Lemon Tea Beer. It wasn’t my favourite of the night—that wasn’t on the tour—but it was really tasty and I confess to going back later for another tiny mug full. The rest of the tour is a bit of a blur of beer and food. The most notable, at least to me, was a stop by the Ayinger Brauerei booth where I had the Ayinger Bräu-Weisse, which was fresh and peppy, with a strong scent of candied banana on the nose.  Another memorable beer was the Neustadt 10W30 Brown from Neustadt Springs Brewery. I jumped onto the end of Mirella Amato’s ladies’ VIP beer tour just in time to try this brew, and paired it with the awesome little fruit and merengue “hamburgers” that Mix Fresh Kitchen had cooked up. This sweet little treat, along with Saege’s incredible sausages were my favourite of the foods. I had the spicy, mustardy sausage from Saege with the McNabs Nut Brown from Rockbottom, and it was great!

Now here’s where I’m going to be totally honest. I kind of hate Beerfest. I kind of love it, too, but the hatred is always there like a cool breath blowing against the back of my neck, making hair stand on end and fists clench just a little bit. Part of why I hate it is this:

This is basically my view of Beerfest for 98% of the event. Elbows and the backsides of popped collars. It’s line-up after line-up after line-up with bro after bro after bro. It’s tedious. The only thing that makes it worthwhile is delicious beer. And sometimes the beer just isn’t worth it—I’m looking at you, creepy watermelon beer!—so I end up cranky.

Thank god for Microbrasserie Charlevoix, who were camped out in the Quebec tent. It was thieir La Dominus Vobiscum Blanche, Double, and Triple that saved the night for me. Those beers are FANTASTIC. The last two, especially. They are like crème brûlée and champagne. Right up my alley. I was also really surprised to like Sangri-bière from La Barberie—a sangria and beer hybrid, malty and sweetly fruity. I figured I’d hate it, but I guess it just comes down to this: Quebec wins at beers.

After enjoying a few more tiny mugs of beer, I left early. At some point in the boozy weekend, my friend Jim tweeted “Beerfest turned into Barffest.” I guess I got out in the nick of time.

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