Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Boxing Rock – The Next Chapter

IMG_0016Located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore in the town of Shelburne, Boxing Rock Brewing Co. has made quite a name for itself. The Next Chapter was brewed using New Brunswick grown malt and in collaborate with Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks (former head brewer with Picaroons Traditional Ales of Fredericton, NB) as their first release for the New Brunswick market. This India Pale Ale is made with a healthy dose of rye added to the malt bill.

Appearance: Dark red-orange with ruby hues. Moderate amount of off-white head.

Aroma: Bright hop aroma with lots of citrus and hints of pine and early spring grass. Some malt coming through with a nice bready note. Sight spicy aroma.

Taste: Wonderful hit of hops right up front followed by a firm, but not overwhelming, bitterness. The first taste of the hops is of citrus, but quickly becomes resin and dank, with it fading back to citrus peel (grapefruit and lime). The bitterness lingers on the palate begging for another drink. There is a bit of malt, enough to hold up the bitterness, with a subtle spicy flavour from the rye.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is moderate as expected and it has a medium body. There is a very slight oiliness, probably from the hop load or maybe the rye.

Overall: Very drinkable. Perfectly put together with a great use of hops and malt. All the flavours work together to make a great drinking experience. This is one beer (like all the others I had from this brewery) I hope to enjoy more of.

88/90

You can find Boxing Rock on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Bad Apple Brewhouse – Barrel Aged Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout

IMG_2038.JPGBad Apple Brewhouse is a new brewery on the Nova Scotian craft beer scene that’s making a big splash. Located in Somerset, N.S., it’s recently taken home some hardware from the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, including Brewery of the Year. It’s Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout is also a winner, taking a Silver and a Bronze.

From the Brewery: “Our Black and Tackle RIS is truly a flavour adventure. Very dark with a creamy head this brew has distinct tones of espresso and cocoa giving it a bold rich taste that is sure to impress.”

Appearance: Inky black, the only way I could see light through it at all is looking through it as I poured a thin stream. Slight head that is tan in colour. Some lacing, but the head fades.

Aroma: There’s a big hit of alcohol in the nose right up front, like a smack in the face. The whiskey barrel aging comes through with lots of the whiskey in the aroma. There are notes of liquorice and some of the malt does come though. These a slight fruity note as well, maybe a yeast character.

Taste: First impression is how smooth this beer is for being so big (11.6% ABV). The alcohol is there, but its not hot at all and displays the whiskey traits. There is some roast, but its rather subdued and the hop bitterness is balancing. Neither sweet nor overly bitter. Some hop flavours come though as a slight fruity/floral back-note to the beer. Malt shines as a bready/biscuit flavour holding together the other flavours. A complex beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light carbonation.

Overall: Well done, a well made beer showing off the skills of the brewmaster. In high demand for good reason; if you find it, buy it. Sip and enjoy. Smooth: pace yourself.

89/100

You can find Bad Apple on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Big Spruce – Hoppily Remarried Harvest DIPA

IMG_1992.JPGBig Spruce Brewery is a small brewery located on an organic farm located in Nyanza on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. This award-winning brewery can hardly keep up with the demand for their beers. Selling their beers in local farmer’s markets, from the brewery store, and at select tap accounts, this is one small brewery with a big future.

From the brewery: “Brewed in early September and after weeks of hard work harvesting hops from our hop yard, this is a wet hopped beer that is all about featuring the best of the hops from our hop yard.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: This beer pours with a nice, but short lived off-white, creamy head. It has a great bit of lacing and is dark red-orange.

Aroma: The aroma is hoppy with fragrances of pine and a slight citrus. The smell showcases how fresh this beer is and the wet hops used.

Taste: Upfront it’s the hops. The flavour is bitter, orange peal, resin, pine, woody, and tobacco. It really is hops right through and a nice fresh flavour. It leans a bit more towards the pine as it warms slightly and becomes better – the hops are still there, but mellow and smooth out.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with a light carbonation. There is a bit of a slickness from hops.

Overall: A very nice IPA, smooth and drinkable, even with the elevated alcohol. Each drink begs for another. Its bitter, but not a palate killer – the more I drink the better this gets. This is worth the trip to Cape Breton. Well done!

87/100

You can find Big Spruce on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Propeller – Double IPA

IMG_1656.JPGPropeller is a staple of the Halifax, NS craft beer scene. Now operating at both their original brewery at 2015 Gottingen Street in Halifax and in their new brewery at 617 Windmill road in Dartmouth, they continue to produce award-winner ales and lagers.

From the brewery:

“At Propeller we craft classically styled world-class beers using all natural ingredients. We believe that there are only two major components that go into brewing great craft beer; ingredients of the highest quality and a brewmaster’s skill. The result is a taste experience that’s both unique and special.

“Propeller Double IPA is a full bodied, American style Double India Pale Ale that is brewed with premium Pacific Northwest hops and a rich blend of 2-row Pale and Crystal malts. Following fermentation it has been heavily dry hopped (a process that enhances the aroma without imparting bitterness in beer) giving this bold brew its big west coast nose. Double IPA delivers a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavour from start to finish that is balanced by sweet malt flavours. At 8.2% alcohol by volume and 85 IBUs, Propeller Double IPA is not for everyone… It is a TRUE hop bomb, for TRUE hopheads.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: The appearance is copper with orange highlights. It has an off-white head that is long lasting and has good lacing.

Aroma: The aroma is of malt with a caramel/toffee sweetness. The hops are really only slight presenting as a light citrus, a bit flowery, and dank.

Taste: The flavour is smooth. The balance is to the hops, but they are not as much as dominate as some IPAs but firm enough to counter the slight sweetness from the malt. Very easy drinking.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium body with a medium-light carbonation. There is a slight slickness to the mouthfeel, probably from the hops.

Overall: This is one of my go-to’s for an IPA. Its an easy drink with lots of flavour, but a balance that lets you have a couple – though after a couple you might not be walking so straight.

84/100

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Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Vohs Weizenbier

IMG_1753Apparently the folks at Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia aren’t given to bragging. Their sparse description of this German-style wheat beer scarcely does it justice. Smooth as melted butter with wave after wave of flavour, every mouthful is a delight.

From the brewery: A tribute to our neighbours, Matt and Brenda Vohs. Owners of Piper’s Landing Restaurant, Lyon’s Brook and our first customer to put us on tap.

Appearance: Beautiful golden pour, with a thick pearl head and lacing that goes on forever.

Aroma: Smells like a hot summer day in the country. Fresh and spicy—I swear, there’s a hint of sage in there.

Taste: The most dominant, and surprising, flavour is sweet corn and melted butter, followed by a hit of over-ripe banana. Just when you think it’s done, there’s a little smack of cloves.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and buttery, stimulates every taste bud without puckering the mouth or overwhelming the palate.

Overall: I hear that when Uncle Leo’s first offered this beer, it suffered from some quality-control problems, leaving an unpleasant soapy aftertaste. On the last two bottles, there wasn’t a hint of that problem—there’s nothing like that going on now. This is one of the finest beers I’ve tried all year, shockingly quaffable for a weizenbier. This pairs like a dream with a roast-chicken Sunday dinner.

88/100

Trevor J. Adams is a regular contributor to Drink N Brew, reviewing beers and curating social media. An award-winning journalist and editor, he’s been writing about libations, entertaining and related topics since 1998. He’s a beer enthusiast at heart, senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine by day. An avid sports fan, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing) in 2012.

Rare Bird – Full Steam Stout

 

IMG_1740.JPGRare Bird brewery, located on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore in Guysbrough, is one of Nova Scotia’s newest breweies, but is already receiving rave reviews. Full Steam Stout is a dark, roasty coffee stout – one of their regular offerings made with Authentic Seacoast (the maker of Rare Bird) Full Steam coffee.

From the brewery: “Here’s a hearty brew built for the Authentic Seacoast. Take our nicely hopped East Coast Stout with notes of licorice, chocolate and roasted malt, add our freshly roasted certified organic, fair trade Full Steam Coffee to the brewing process and you have a richly flavoured, creamy coffee stout that pours black as a starless night, capturing the unique seacoast spirit of the Maritimes. “

And what did I think?

Appearance: As a stout should be, this is a pretty dark beer – dark with ruby highlights when put up to the light. Nearly opaque, but not quite.

Aroma: The aroma is somewhat mineraly. There is also some fruity and dark roast (coffee and dark chocolate) aromas coming through.

Taste: This first thing that is apparent are the alcohol notes. At 7% this is a strong beer and those notes come through, but fade as the beer warms (probably best drank at an elevated temperature). There is a bit of fruitiness and some hops. Not as roasty or as much dark roast/coffee character as would be expected. There is also a slight licorice flavour that appears after the second or third sip.

Mouthfeel: The body is lighter than it looks – light to medium body. Light to medium carbonation.

Overall: Not too bad. Light and easy to drink – not heavy on the palate. Better as it warms, I would place this one on the counter for a bit and not drink it right from the fridge. Probably would be a great one to age for a few months or years. Also, theres a nice buzz from that hit of coffee.

75/100

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Garrison – Irish Red

20140724-162427-59067386.jpgLocated on the Halifax waterfront, Garrison is one of the granddaddies of the Atlantic Canadian craft-beer scene and has, over the last few years, also grown to become one of the region’s largest craft brewers. Most importantly, it has done so while retaining a small-time feel, with flavourful beers that still feel like they come from a small brewery. This may seem a no-brainer, but as many small brewers get bigger, they lose their way and start trying to appeal to ever broader tastes, until their beer tastes like just another macrobrew. I’m looking at you, Sam Adams. But I digress… I’ll have more to say about Sam Adams in a future post, but for now, let’s return to Garrison and its Irish Red.

From the brewery: “This classic beer style was inspired by centuries of Celtic brewing history, Specialty kilned malts such as dark caramel and Munich dominate the Irish Red resulting in a ruby red colour and smooth malty taste.”

Appearance: Bright copper, with ruby hues. Frothy head that dissipates quickly, leaving a lot of lacing behind.

Aroma: A nice punch of malt, faint hits of fruit and caramel—think of candy apples.

Taste: Malty, but not as malty as your nose tells you to expect. Moves smoothly to dark chocolate, with a black coffee finish. Agreeably hoppy; almost, but not unpleasantly, a hint of fresh-cut grass. Bold flavours, best enjoyed with a palate-cleansing apéritif. 

Mouthfeel: Foamier in the mouth than it looks in the glass. The hoppiness puckers your mouth, and will linger a bit. 

Overall: As you’ve probably gathered, I like this beer a lot. It’s been a mainstay in my fridge all summer, and it’s an equally pleasant winter beer. It has big flavours and lots of character, and holds its own alongside any Irish red. And lest you think I gush, it’s a three-time bronze winner at the Canadian Brewing Awards, and took home gold at the 2010 World Beer Championships.

85/100

Guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing).

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