This challenge stems from an annual competition to find the best home brewers in the Maritimes. We’re taking it a step further and we want to find the best home brewer with the best home brew in Atlantic Canada!


Best Bitter & Spice, Herb, and Vegetable. A portion of every brew needs to be partially mashed or steeped.


Overall Impression: A flavorful, yet refreshing, session beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a low to medium-low caramel quality. Bready, biscuit, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Pale amber to medium copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.

Comments: More evident malt flavor than in an ordinary bitter; this is a stronger, session-strength ale. History: See comments in category introduction.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, or crystal malts. Most contain sugar. May use a touch of caramel or dark malt for color adjustment. May use corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.040 –1.048
IBUs: 25 – 40
FG: 1.008 – 1.012
SRM: 8 – 16
ABV: 3.8 – 4.6%


Overall Impression: An appealing fusion of spices, herbs, or vegetables (SHVs) and beer, but still recognizable as beer. The SHV character should be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Aroma: Varies by base style. The SHV character should be noticeable in the aroma; however, some SHVs (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, rosemary) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., most vegetables) – allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. Hop aroma may be lower than in the base style to better show the SHV character. The SHVs should add an extra complexity, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.

Appearance: Varies by base style and special ingredients. Lighter-colored beer may show distinctive ingredient colors, including in the head. Variable clarity, although haze is generally undesirable. Some ingredients may impact head retention.

Flavor: Varies by base style. As with aroma, distinctive SHV flavors should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. Some SHVs are inherently bitter and may result in a beer more bitter than the declared base style. Bitterness, hop and malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation byproducts, such as esters, should be appropriate for the base style, but be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive SHV flavors present.

Mouthfeel: Varies by base style. SHVs may increase or decrease body. Some SHVs may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw” spice character is undesirable.

Comments: Balance, drinkability, and execution of the theme are the most important. The SHVs should complement the original style and not overwhelm it. Base style attributes will be different after the addition of SHVs; do not expect the beer to taste identical to the unadulterated base style.

Entry Instructions: The entrant must specify the type of spices, herbs, or vegetables used, but individual ingredients do not need to be specified if a well-known spice blend is used (e.g., apple pie spice, curry powder, chili powder). Entrant must specify a description of the beer, identifying either a Base Style or the ingredients, specs, or target character of the beer. A general description of the special nature of the beer can cover all the required items.

Vital Statistics:
OG, FG, IBUs, SRM, and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer.



Herr Durstig
Al McLeod


Hazy McHazeface
Trevor McLean


Tingles Sichuan Stout
Lady Scotia Brewing (Chelsea Meisner)


D Rock’s Dunkel
Derek Wood


Where is my local Gahan House?

We have Gahan House locations in Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, and St. John’s.

How do I submit my beer?

To submit a brew you must drop it off by March 2, 2024 to your local Gahan House with a completed submission form. There is also a $30 submission fee to enter a beer into this challenge that must be paid via Showpass upon drop off.

How do I pay my submission fee?

You need to register and pay online through this Showpass. Once this is paid and your beer dropped off, you will receive a complimentary Atlantic Home Brew Challenge t-shirt from that Gahan House location (not bad, eh?!).

Should I label my entries?

Yes – please put your name, your beer name, your order confirmation and beer style on each beer bottle you drop off. You must drop off at least 3 x 355mL or larger bottles (max 650ml package)

Is there a limit to the amount of entries I can submit?

Yes – you can submit one entry per style

Are there any beer recipe rules?

Only two. Your beer must qualify as one of two styles: Best Bitter or Spice, Herb, and Vegetable, and a portion of every brew need to be partially mashed or steeped.

Can anyone submit a beer?

Yes! As long as you are not a certified brewer or brew for your career (and you are over the age of 19).

Can multiple people submit a beer together?

Absolutely! We’re all about partnerships. The person/ team listed on the submission form claims the prize.

What are the prizes?

The Grand Champion (best overall beer) will receive $500 cash and a limited edition can release in partnership with The Gahan House.

The top 5 in each style will receive the following:

1st – $300 cash
2nd – $150 cash
3rd – $100 cash
4th – $100 Murphy Hospitality Group gift card
5th – $50 Murphy Hospitality Group gift card

When will the prizes be rewarded?

Prizes will be mailed following the winners announcement on Friday, March 29, 2024 at 12pm online through

Additional questions?



Please note this challenge is only
open to residents of Atlantic Canada.