Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration by LOCAL CONNECTIONS HALIFAX

     I looked forward to the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration for quite sometime. I was so happy when it arrived. After wading through the line to enter, hang up my coat and grab my mug and beads I made my way up to the cask room. As a beer nerd this had to be my first stop. The room was full of one-off casks made by some of Nova Scotia's top brewmasters including Bridge Brewing, Garrison Brewing and Big Spruce Brewing. Their offerings were a Belgian Brown Coffee Ale from Bridge, Mint Wheat and a Black IPA from Garrison and Ready Yer Knot Red and Tim's Dirty IPA. There was some others I didn't get to try as I visited other rooms. An interesting note that Big Spruce's Tim's Dirty IPA, which was the contest winner of their home brew-off, was launched at this event. The food for this room was from the recently opened Agricola Street Brasserie and was salmon, pate, pastrami and pickled vegetables, all of which were delicious.

     Once I left the Cask Room I descended the stairs to the Halifax Room to indulge in some seafood. This room contained the Halifax Club's Chef Nelson Francis cooking scallops and Phillip Dockers shucking ShanDaph Oysters. The oysters were served raw on the half shell and many went into my belly and the scallops were fried in a pan. Both offerings well very good and serving beer was Sea Level Brewing. Sea Level had a bit of a mis-step but recovered quickly and I tried the High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale which was delicious.

     Next stop was across the hall in the Orchard Room was pork and cider. Here I tried the Stutz, Shipbuilder's and Bulwark ciders. The ciders excellently complemented the pork sliders Stubborn Goat Gastropub and Meadowbrook Meat Market were offering. Let me say at this point I was a pork jerky virgin but WOW I will be adding this to my camping trips from now on.

     My next room had to be the Craft Brewer's room or as I call it heaven. In this room was all of Halifax's craft brewers including Granite Brewing, Bridge Brewing, Garrison Brewing, Hart & Thistle Gatropub, Propeller Brewing, Rockbottom Brewpub and Rogues Roost. I sampled something from all the brewers, a little more heavy on my favorites. As good as the beer was, and it was very good, two of my favorite food offerings sat at at the end of this room. I "sampled" several of the Tuna Tartar from Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House and it was delicious although I would like a little spice in it. Next to them and my bead recipient was Durty Nelly's serving up Pulled Lamb Sliders. Craft beer and lamb sliders, I told you this was heaven.

     By this point you can imagine I am getting a little drunk and full but my next stop was a whole lot of steps to get to the Plan B Karoke Experience. I was not drunk enough to sing so I stuck to visiting the two brewers in this room. Boxing Rock was offering three beers but I stuck with my favorite double IPA, Vicars Cross and a great Oatmeal Stout from Hell Bay Brewing.

     This level also contained the two other rooms so it was a matter of scooting across the landing to the Sausage Fest area, and I seemed to always wind up in sausage fests for some reason. Any way Pete's had their own store made sausages which I had never tried before. Again this was delicious, I never knew they made sausages but I know where I will be getting them in the future. And what goes with sausage? How about a nice Red Ale from Uncle Leo's and a Dirty IPA from Big Spruce, yes please.

     The Sweet room was a little depleted by this time I got there but there was loads of beer ice cream from Dee Dee's Ice Cream. I tried the Boxing Rock and Propeller infused ice creams, I found the beer flavors didn't come through but it was still a delicious sweet ending to a wonderful evening.

     I this was a perfect event to beat the January blues and enjoy some cheer. Some pro tips if you attend next time:
   - Make a list of what you really want and try to go there early
   - If a room is busy try another one and come back, standing in line is no fun
   - Enjoy the tasting, let the people know you enjoy it
   - Have fun :)

     Great time, great event and I will be back next year