Follow This Shark To Good Beer #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / November 16th, 2017 / 5

I’m generally not much for gimmickry, although I will support it when it’s done well. That is the case with Nova Scotia brewery Big Spruce’s recent offering: an IPA entitled Tag You’re It! As the back label explains, “It’s the brainchild of Big Spruce and Halifax-based Ocean Tracking Network to boost ocean conservation – including tagging and tracking Nova Scotia’s iconic sharks.” A share of the profits from the beer goes to the network. 

Big Spruce is a 100% organic producer which grows some of its own hops and basically leads by example, brewing a full range of beers from their small operation just outside Baddeck in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (for those of you not from down east, Cape Breton feels essentially like another province – I can say that being half Cape Bretoner).

If you are not familiar with the fact that sharks explore the confines of Atlantic Canada, well, you need to get educated. I, for one, was quite distressed when I first came to the realization that great whites are approaching the shores of my homeland, both here in New Brunswick via the Bay of Fundy, but also where I grew up on the south shore of Nova Scotia.  The Ocean Tracking Network keeps track of these large beasts as well as other sharks. You can read about it here:

I had already been watching the progress of specific sharks before I heard about this beer from my brother Jeff, a Halifax beer lover and BJCP judge (although he is National level and I’m just a mere Certified judge). I noted in the news that they had named a great white shark Pumpkin – I immediately suggested Eatkin would be a better name – that had been found exploring the Minas Basin. Hilton, another innocently named shark (I picture him wearing an ascot and drinking a Martini) was found cruising right up into the active harbour of beautiful Mahone Bay in August, where I happened to be this week visiting another new brewery which I will report on in future.  You can track Hilton and other sharks here as well:

Hmm, it seems that George, another friendly great white, is near me right now, in the harbour of Saint John…he even has his own Twitter handle, @GWSharkGeorge. Isn’t that special?

Well, I shouldn’t let my fear of sharks (yes, it’s Jaws’s fault) get in the way of enjoying a good beer, and Tag You’re It! is a proper, American style IPA. My brother insists it’s the best beer Big Spruce has ever brewed.  While I disagree – I’m not an IPA enthusiast as I prefer drinking in moderation, so I’d rather drink their Kitchen Party Pale Ale or Cereal Killer stout – it is a very well made example. I’m sure most folks would enjoy it.

Perhaps I should throw one into the harbour for George?




Craig Pinhey discovered good drink circa 1985 at Ginger’s Tavern/Granite Brewery in Halifax and has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 25 years. A Certified Sommelier and BJCP judge, Craig lives in New Brunswick where he runs his own writing and consulting business and is the beverage columnist for Brunswick News. He is the only person to have judged all of the national wine, spirits and beer awards of Canada.

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