Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beer Gut

All Photos by me - Seaport Brewing Co., Portland ME
Don't let the above photo fool you.

This never used to be me - I was never much of a beer person - at least until I met my boyfriend. I would have one here and there when out with friends at a pub but would never buy it for myself to drink at home, didn't really understand the differences between different kinds and always kind of thought of it as a drink better suited to males of considerable size and not so considerable manners.

However, my boyfriend is a beer connoisseur - he understands how it is made, is knowledgeable about different brands and loves to try different brews from different places. I have to say he has opened my mind considerably about beer and I find myself enjoying sampling different kinds as well, and appreciating them more also.

Do you know how much work goes into making one batch of beer? There are like a million steps! So, it takes a lot of care and patience. And there are endless flavours that can be concocted from different brewing methods, which I really never realized before. I am kind of in awe of the amount of love and devotion that brewers put into their craft.

We recently went on a road trip to New England and I discovered that there is a huge contingent of microbreweries in this area. We visited the Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine and sampled all of their bestselling brews (and perhaps picked up a few drink-related items in the gift shop). Their Pumpkinhead Ale is delicious and is now one of my favourites!

We ate out at one of Portland's most acclaimed restaurants and drank a couple other great local beers (Allagash White and Narragansett Summer Ale). We even came home with a variety case of various beer, many of them from New England (thank you, lax USA liquor laws) so we can keep up the tasting long after the trip. They really brew with love down there. You can practically feel the warmth of pride radiating through your body when you pick up the bottle and tip the liquid down your throat.

Some of our haul
Just a couple weekends ago, the Seaport Beerfest was held here in Halifax and we got to sample even more! I tried 9 or 10 to be exact, which is actually less than last year (I think I topped out at 15). This time we got to try beer from all over the world and across Canada. I tried concoctions brewed with everything from coffee and cocoa to spruce leaves and pears (another new discovery: I am also a big fan of cider now - and hey, there are some great ones made in Nova Scotia!). 

Always a lover of silly, random facts I was greatly amused by a marketing project employed by Northampton Brewing out of Fredericton - their Melonhead brew (a watermelon flavoured beer) features a photo of a crazy-looking cat wearing a watermelon helmet, which is funny enough by itself, but they actually hold a contest wherein people submit photos of their cat and each year the company chooses a new one to grace the label! We bought a bottle of this last year in Quebec with a grey striped Tabby on it, and the posters at Beerfest had a black cat with its tongue sticking out. I think I'm going to enter this photo for consideration next year, what do you think?:

I am so short I could barely get my head in that hole. For reals.

I smell best-seller.

Don't like beer? I understand, I used to be with you, but I would encourage you to give it a chance. There is so much more out there than Bud Light (lets be honest, you might as well have water as that).

Are you a beer-drinker? What is your favourite summer patio refresher? Have you ever written off a specific type of drink only to discover a newfound appreciation for it?


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