We’re at the bitter end of long year of eating, drinking and going. 2013 was a great year for beer both for me and for the Maritimes, with 2014 looking even more promising with up-and-comers set to pop up in Saint John, Florenceville-Bristol, Edmunston, and Nackawic here in NB while several are in the works in Nova Scotia too. 2013 saw Shiretown popping up at ANBL, as well as Grimross finally taking off in Fredericton (thanks to the generosity of Picaroons), while Celtic Knot started showing up at bars in Moncton.
Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia a huge boom in breweries set it up as a new beer destination in Canada, with Big Spruce making organic ales up in Cape Breton, Boxing Rock firing up down in Shelburne, with Bridge Brewing in between the two doing some great Belgian beer in Halifax. Uncle Leo’s also started bottling out of Pictou, and Bad Apple Brewhouse just started selling their beers this week.
In PEI, Barnone Brewing started filling growlers from their on-farm brewery, and PEI Brewing built a massive new brewery.
Some great new beer-believing restaurants opened their doors in 2013 as well, including The Stubborn Goat Gastropub and Stillwell Beer Bar, both in Halifax, while The Garrison District Ale House, after a long hard year of setbacks, finally reopened in a new location and under a new name, The King Street Ale House.
2013 was also the inaugural year of two Fredericton-based beer festivals (which promise to be even better in 2014) – The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and Picaroons’ Brewers Bash.
As for me, I was able to make pilgrimages to Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware; Wicked Weed in Asheville, North Carolina (newly declared beer city USA), The Alchemist (before it closed to the public) and Hill Farmstead in Vermont, as well as breweries in at least 6 other states. Money well drank. I drank some beer on the beach, some beer in the mountains, and some beer at bars of various other altitudes. I had some bad beers, but mostly some good beers. I indulged in Belgians, Germans, British, many Americans, and many more Canadians. I drank them out of bottles, cans, and branded glassware. I drank with some brewmasters and the occasional bum. All in all, 2013 was a year for beer, and let’s hope in 2014 it keeps on flowin’.