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SUMMER SUDS ‘A better beer-drinking experience’: Why these three women love Annapolis Valley craft beer

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

WOLFVILLE, NS - It’s no surprise to these three people that women drink craft beer, and that they enjoy it.

Now, while that may not come as a surprise to them because they themselves are women, they also think it shouldn’t be surprising to other people.

They each love it for different reasons, but one thing these three women have in common is that they came to craft beer on their own – not because it was something women did or did not drink, but because their own curiosity brought them to it.

“You get to choose your flavours, and you get a better product – it’s just all around a better beer-drinking experience,” says Jade Johnson, a bartender at Paddy’s Brewpub in Wolfville.

Loving that it’s local

Krystal Tanner is someone many people know in Wolfville. She is the curator of Wolfville’s Randall House Museum, a spot many visit to better understand the town’s origins.

As a member of the local business and heritage communities, it makes sense Tanner places a personal emphasis on supporting local.

It’s an emphasis that carries over in the food she eats, and the beverages she drinks.

“I really like craft beer because it’s local and it tastes really, really good,” says Tanner, holding a Kölsch beer – a lighter beer with a crisp, clean finish.

Tanner sips her beer as she sits and listens to live music at Paddy’s with her friend, Karla Lehmann, who is originally from Germany.

With friends like Lehmann and others also from Germany, Tanner says she loves the Kölsch beer because it is a German regional variety originating from Cologne.

“It was originally something being made locally there, and is now a local beer here in Wolfville. I just love that,” she says.

Jade Johnson has loved craft beer since long before she became a bartender. Now, she combines beers and mashes flavours – something she says she just can’t do with commercial beers. “These have so much more flavour to them – it just doesn’t compare,” she says.
Jade Johnson has loved craft beer since long before she became a bartender. Now, she combines beers and mashes flavours – something she says she just can’t do with commercial beers. “These have so much more flavour to them – it just doesn’t compare,” she says.

Consuming craft before serving it

Johnson is a bartender at Paddy’s Brewpub and says her love of craft beer began long before her days behind the bar.

When she first began drinking it, she often had to drive to Halifax to enjoy a pint.

“You used to have to travel – to Halifax, really – to get your hands on craft beer. But Paddy’s has been doing this for well over 20 years now, so we’re very lucky in this area that this has been here for so long,” she says.

While beers like Irish red ales and stouts capture her fancy, she also mixes stouts and lighter varieties to create unique flavours. Her latest combination is a blueberry ale and stout mix she’s dubbed the ‘Black and Blue’ and describes as tasting like chocolate-covered blueberries.

Johnson says these combinations would never be possible with commercial beers.

“Bottled beer is made in huge batches and lacks a lot of flavour. But craft beer is made in smaller batches, and you get a much higher quality taste,” she says.

“It’s what I love most about craft beer.”

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Jill Boudreau drinks craft because she likes the small-batch concept, and that each turns out a little differently. “They’re all unique.”
Jill Boudreau drinks craft because she likes the small-batch concept, and that each turns out a little differently. “They’re all unique.”

Each batch is unique

Jill Boudreau, a mainstay on the music scene in the Annapolis Valley, is also known for her love of craft beer.

She veers away from hoppy beers, and has always preferred Irish reds, light ales and anything with a malty finish.

Boudreau drinks craft beer because she looks forward to seeing how each pint will taste, as it’s common for the taste to vary slightly between batches.

“It’s personal – it’s original, and has its own taste,” she says.

“You sometimes don’t really know what you’re doing to get, but what you do know is that it always tastes amazing.”

Boudreau says she also appreciates the time and energy that goes into crafting the small batches of beer – “you can taste the work that goes into it,” she says – and says this is another thing that makes it worth supporting.

“It’s out of the ballpark compared to (commercial beers). It has a better taste, goes down better and feels fuller. It’s more delicious – heartier, even – and it’s something you want to savour,” she says.

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