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SUMMER SUDS SERIES: Your guide to craft beer in the Annapolis Valley

Krystal Tanner loves supporting local businesses. This is her main reason for drinking craft beer, she says. “It’s nice to know you’re supporting businesses in your town,” she says.
Krystal Tanner loves supporting local businesses. This is her main reason for drinking craft beer, she says. “It’s nice to know you’re supporting businesses in your town,” she says. - Sara Ericsson

What pairs better than summer sunshine and a frosty stein of beer? Craft beer, that is.

Craft brewing is a booming industry and is growing significantly here in the Valley. Last year, according to the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, sales increased almost 50 per cent and it’s now a $13 million industry in the province. 

With a large proportion of Nova Scotia’s craft breweries located right here in the Annapolis Valley, we took a look at the state of the industry - and where to sip a cold one - in the Valley. 



Source your Annapolis Valley craft beer

KENTVILLE, N.S. - Check the list and plan your beer journey.


High hopes for hops: Hamiltons Hop Yard growing the flavours that make craft beers interesting

TUPPERVILLE, NS - If Joel Riley has anything to do with it, Nova Scotia craft beer is going to have great flavour. Riley manages Hamiltons Hop Yard in Tupperville, a riverside farm that promises a dozen varieties of hops - a key beer ingredient going back more than a thousand years.


Brewing it up in the Annapolis Valley: Four ingredients, limitless kinds of craft beers

LAWRENCETOWN, NS - Barley, water, hops, and yeast. Change up the ingredients even slightly and you’ve got a different beer. The combinations of those ingredients, length of boil times, when you add the hops, and even the type of yeast you use makes for – literally – an infinite variety of beers to brew.


Not just taste: Unique label art, logos a big part of the Annapolis Valley craft beer industry

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS - Craft beer labels have become the new canvas for artists these days as they conjure up images to go with the names, taste and colour of the latest brews or the old favourites.


From pinching pennies to tossing the PhD: Paddy’s brewmaster Kirsten MacDonald talks about her love for craft beer

WOLFVILLE, NS - The career Kirsten MacDonald stumbled across by accident has turned into a fruitful endeavour for the young craft beer brewer.


‘Be a little adventurous’: Man behind Lawrencetown brewery gave up career out west to follow his dreams

LAWRENCETOWN, NS - It's no real surprise that the brewmaster at Lunn's Mill Beer Company in Lawrencetown loves craft beer. Whether it's drinking it or making it, Sean Ebert is a big fan. In fact, that's what prompted him to abandon a career out west, where he worked in the oil and gas industry and did geological and geophysical work as a technician, in favour of following his passion.


Crafting a new future for beer in the Annapolis Valley

KENTVILLE, NS - Total beer sales in Nova Scotia increased from around 599,000 hectolitres in 1993 to around 622,000 in 2016, and during that same time span, craft beer sales grew from nearly zero to nearly 33,000 hectolitres. There’s no doubt craft beer is having an impact in Nova Scotia – including right here in the Annapolis Valley.


‘It’s a labour of love’: Pioneering brewer reflects on success at Sea Level in Port Williams

PORT WILLIAMS, NS - “You have to have a passion to do this kind of job. It’s a labour of love.” Meet the brewmaster behind Sea Level Brewery in Port Williams. On opening day in 2007, it was the first and only microbrewery in the Annapolis Valley.


Head of the class: Ellershouse man passionate about creating the beer behind Windsor's Schoolhouse Brewery

WINDSOR, N.S. - I feel like proud and responsible at the same time for the product that we provide our customers. It gives you something to be proud of at the end of the day." Meet the brewmaster behind Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery. Walking into a liquor store and seeing a product on the shelves that he's nurtured from Day 1 fills Leigh Davison's chest with pride.


‘From grain to glass’: Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Company adding local flavour to the craft beer business

HORTONVILLE, NS - Horton Ridge's own malt is used exclusively in brewing the house beer sold in the tap room, a process brewer Connor Stewart refers to as “from grain to glass.” The Kings County company is currently the only producers of malt in Atlantic Canada.


From farm to bottle: Sourcing local hops a challenge for Annapolis Valley brewers

WINDSOR, NS - In an agriculture community like the Annapolis Valley, you would think finding local ingredients wouldn’t be a problem. But sourcing local hops is - “There just isn’t enough hops grown in Nova Scotia to sustain any brewery all year-round.” Meander River owners talk about their experiencing growing hops, and learn more about the growing Kings County business Fundy Hops, which hopes to change that.


‘A disadvantage in our own market’: Craft beer brewer association president says Nova Scotia brewers hit with unfair tax

WINDSOR, NS - The president of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia and co-founder of Boxing Rock Brewing Co. says the current retail sales mark-up allocation is a black mark for craft brewery operators in Nova Scotia – a challenge brewers in NB and PEI don’t have to face. “This accord wasn’t written for us – I get that. I also understand provincial trade is not easy to solve. But the NSLC, at the very least, could say, ‘sure, we will charge this tax from everyone,’” she says.


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