Prize-win­ning pints

A re-cap of this year’s At­lantic Cana­dian Beer Awards from your buds, 902 BrewCast.

The Coast - - FOOD + DRINK - BY KYLE ANDRUS, PHILIP CHURCH AND AN­THONY WIGHT

The

fourth an­nual At­lantic Cana­dian Beer Awards were pre­sented this past week­end at the Stub­born Goat in down­town Hal­i­fax. The awards show­cased the best in beer and cider from around the At­lantic re­gion, with a whop­ping 321 en­tries sub­mit­ted from New Brunswick, New­found­land, Nova Sco­tia and PEI (which is up from 257 to­tal en­tries in 2016).

Or­ga­niz­ers Mark DeWolfe and Becky Grant from the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Som­me­liers were charged with get­ting all of the en­tries into one place, then or­ga­niz­ing them by cat­e­gory and sub­cat­e­gory. In the end, there were 296 beers sub­mit­ted from 43 brew­eries and brew­pubs, as well as 25 ciders from seven dif­fer­ent cider houses. Over the course of 18 hours, and with the help of eight stew­ards, 20 judges tasted and scored the en­tries based on a tai­lored ver­sion of the Beer Judge Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram guide­lines.

Top per­form­ers from the ini­tial tast­ing rounds of the var­i­ous cat­e­gories and sub­cat­e­gories then went to a mini Best of Show to de­ter­mine the awards for gold, sil­ver and bronze across the 14 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. The high­est scor­ing en­tries, brew­eries, brew­pubs and cider houses were then se­lected for Beer of the Year, Brew­ery of the Year, Brew­pub of the Year, Cider of the Year and Cider House of the Year awards.

Amongst all the buzz dur­ing the reception be­fore the awards was a sense that win or lose, the ACBAs were a chance for the brew­eries, their staff and their fam­i­lies to cel­e­brate the ac­com­plish­ments of the last year, the work that goes into craft­ing great beer and cider, and the ca­ma­raderie that comes with be­ing a part of the ever-im­prov­ing At­lantic craft beer and cider scene.

Through the course of the awards there were cheers and laughs as win­ners were read out, and you could feel the sup­port of the com­mu­nity for each of the win­ners as con­grat­u­la­tions were shared.

As far as the no­table awards go, Big Spruce Brew­ing of Nyanza was awarded Brew­ery of the Year while also win­ning gold for Bel­gian Spe­cialty Ale and sil­ver in three other cat­e­gories. Hal­i­fax new­com­ers Chain-Yard Ur­ban Cidery won Cider House of the Year, along with gold in the Stan­dard Cider Cat­e­gory and bronze in Spe­cialty Cider. The beer and cider that scored the high­est in­di­vid­ual scores were then awarded ACBAs for Beer and Cider of the Year, with the Ster­ling He­feweizen from Bre­ton Brew­ing of Syd­ney win­ning the top hon­our for beer and the Fall Cider from Fred­er­ic­ton’s Red Rover win­ning for cider.

The pub­lic weighed in and voted Go Devil from Up­street Brew­ing in Char­lot­te­town as Peo­ple’s Choice Beer and the Orig­i­nal Cider from Long Reach, NB’s Yip Cider as Peo­ple’s Choice Cider.

Af­ter the awards por­tion of the evening, there was a four-course din­ner pre­pared by the Stub­born Goat with each course paired with a beer. Brew­eries high­lighted in the pair­ings were Gar­ri­son, Spin­drift, Big Spruce and Bre­ton. The event quickly sold out this year with seats go­ing to brew­ery staff, judges and any craft beer fan that wanted to at­tend. Now that the ACBAs are over, the next big awards event for beer is the Cana­dian Beer Awards, which will be tak­ing place in Hal­i­fax in May of 2018.

You can lis­ten to in­ter­views with some of the win­ners, as well as a fea­ture on the ACBAs, at 902brew­cast.com on Oc­to­ber 31 and to read the full list of win­ners visit the­coast.ca

AN­THONY WIGHT

Philip Church, Kyle Andrus and Jeremy White of the ACBAs Best Brew­ery, Big Spruce Brew­ing.

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