Halifax Seaport Beerfest

This weekend, the 7th annual Halifax Seaport BeerFest, Atlantic Canada’s largest beer festival, will offer 250 craft beers and ciders from over 100 participating breweries representing 16 different countries along with fantastic live music and beer-friendly food at The Cunard Centre in Halifax. Recently, AE spoke with co-founder Brian Titus about the festivities.

Brian Titus,
Co-founder of Halifax Seaport BeerFest
What inspired you to start this event?
My Partner, Bruce, and I started the BeerFest somewhat out of frustration since there was no gathering/celebration around beer in NS. I'm the beer guy and he's the event guy, so it just seemed the logical thing to do. BeerFests are fun to attend for both the patrons and the brewers, and it's an opportunity to get direct feedback

What is the event's mandate?
The goal was to have an outdoor summer celebration around beer (now including ciders) where people could explore the different brands and styles available today. Match these great beers with tasty local food and live music and we hope to create something really special.

What are the challenges of putting it together?
The challenges are many. With construction in the Halifax Seaport, we lost our six-year street venue. We've had to rethink every aspect to make the concept work inside at the Cunard Centre and I think people will be impressed. There's also an army of volunteers (160) to gather and coordinate, without whom we couldn't possibly do this. The biggest challenge though is working with over 110 breweries and agents to coordinate the beers plus shipping, cold storage, marketing, etc. It's especially challenging during the summer when producers simply don't have beer!

What are the rewards?
There's a great deal of satisfaction when the beer list is set, details are falling into place and all that's left is to enjoy the event you've worked so hard on. It's also great to see so many brewers and owners come together and talk about the challenges and opportunities we all face. There are always guest brewers attending and this year is no different with Seamus O'Hara (Carlow Brewery) and Daniel Emerson (Stonewell Cider), both direct from Ireland

Who attends? 
An incredible range, from 19 straight up, and almost evenly split men and women…self-described "beer nerds" (myself included) and those just starting to venture away from light lagers—everyone is welcome.

What can they expect to experience this year? 
Where to start? 267 individual beers (including 7 gluten-free) and ciders (17 in total!), entire pavilions dedicated to beers from Maine, Quebec and Ontario plus the new Irish Craft Beer Village…Our strongest ever representation of local beers with all four newly launched NS brewers (Big Spruce, Bridge, Boxing Rock & Uncle Leo's) attending! There are also loads of great national & international beers on offer as well. To pair with all this we'll have great beer-friendly food for sale from four local restaurants and live music each session. For the first time you'll actually be able to have a "Beer on the Pier", relaxing on our 375' waterfront patio!

Why is it an important event for the community? 
For the beer community, it's a chance to show what makes craft beer so exciting today. For beer enthusiasts it's a chance to try an incredible range of beers, over half are not carried in NSLC stores. For Halifax, it helps put this market on the map as a superb beer destination and a genuine craft beer hotspot.

What are your future plans for the event? 
After I sleep in for a couple days? I think we'll continue to profile interesting breweries or areas, bringing something unique and surprising to the table each year. Cheers to that!

Halifax Seaport Beerfest
August 9 & 10