From Wine To Beer #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / November 23rd, 2017 / 8

I first met Dan Tanner around 2005, when he was taking the Sommelier program in Halifax, and was working in hospitality at White Point Beach Resort; he still works there today, as F&B Manager. I got to know him better when he was President of the CAPS Atlantic Chapter, and will probably get to know him even more now that he has started a small microbrewery: Tanner & Co. Brewing, from his home in Chester Basin on the South Shore of NS, not far from where I grew up.

His journey is interesting to me, perhaps because it is opposite to mine (which was from beer to wine), and yet it’s the same. Good drink is good drink. Up until very recently Tanner had been brewing on what is essentially a homebrewer’s system, the standard 5 gallon/20 litre system similar to what I used to use. He has made a range of beers, including some curious concoctions that were wine/beer hybrids, and has been selling them only from his brewery. Word spread, and he was quickly selling out of everything when he announced beer sales were available each Saturday. If there’s any left, he is open Sunday afternoon too.

Tanner just set up a new 5 barrel system in his converted garage and brewed his first batch on it last week. It’s all very exciting, and a lot of work for someone with another full time job. I admire his enthusiasm and work ethic. He has been getting help from other brewers; he mentioned Jeff Saunders from Bad Apple.

Although no beer from the new system is available yet, I did sample some of his beers from what is now his pilot system:
Pale Ale – The flagship product. I really like it. It’s a straightforward English style pale ale using Maris Otter malt, and is moderately hopped. It is understated and well balanced, meaning it’s very easy to drink a few pints, although a bit high alcohol at 5.8%.
Hefeweizen – He brewed this using an Escarpment Labs yeast. It’s very hazy, and has subtle banana notes, but is light on the spice.
APA – A hoppy brew with the citrus notes expected from west coast aroma/flavour hops. It is 7.2%, though, which really puts it in IPA territory, although the bitterness doesn’t. Maybe an American version of an English Strong Ale?
Lemon Lavender – I generally don’t like gimmicky beer, but this is quite nice. The lavender is subtle but there, and the freshness of the lemon really comes through.
Dampfbier – I had never had this style before. It is a German steam beer, basically a German wheat beer but not brewed with weizen yeast, instead using a more straightforward ale yeast. Hazy ale with mild bitterness and a clean finish.

From beer to wine or wine to beer, it’s all good. Visit Tanner & Co. at


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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