Tag Archives: NS Craft Beer

Drink N Brew Hits The Road!

IMG_1421This past weekend Matt and Trevor (along with Trevor’s wife, Tammy, as DD – have to be safe) headed out on the road to visit some of the many craft brewers and wineries in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

The trip was fruitful with several growlers and the consumpsion many samples of fine wares. There was world class Nova Scotia hospitality at every stop along the way and some great food, too. With stops at Meander River Farm & Brewery, Sea Level Brewing, Paddy’s Pub (Wolfville), Bad Apple Brewhouse, Grand Pré Winery, and Avondale Sky Winery it was a great day that is highly recommended.

Though no one had a bad thing to say about anywhere we visited or anything we drank, both Matt and Trevor agree that the Impresser DIPA from Bad Apple was the highlight. “My favourite beer on this tour was definitely the Impresser from Bad Apple,” says Trevor. “When I saw the high IBUs and alcohol, I was expecting a mouth-puckering hop bomb, but it was really well balanced and easy to drink — excellent craftsmanship.” And for the record that is 10.2% ABV and a whopping 300 IBU (calculated).

The most surprising thing for Matt was the winery visits that were not even originally in the plan (thanks Tammy for “making” us go). “Both were nice, but Avondale Sky was a beautiful site in a converted church,” Matt says. “The staff there were so friendly and knowledgable. They knew we were ‘beer geeks’ and not usual wine drinkers and were able to make the experience wonderful.”

All around it was a great day.
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North Brewing Co. – Farmhouse Ale

IMG_0281With the goal of being a zero emissions brewery, North Brewing Company has been brewing Belgian inspired beers for the past couple of years. Located in the North End of Halifax, NS they have become a local favourite.  I first visited them when they had only just opened and where know at the time as Bridge Brewing, they have continued to mature and expand their offering since.

From the brewery: Our French Farmhouse-inspired ale. Candied fruit aroma. A solid malt character balanced out with a refreshing tartness from the yeast. Big and complex.

Appearance: Deep ruby red with amber highlights. Beautiful carbonation with a slight head.

Aroma: Malt with plums and a dark cherry note. A bit of barnyard, earthy funk. My mouth is watering already.

Taste: Lots of fruit – cherries and raspberries. Some of the funk comes through giving a full flavour and balancing the beer. Nice malt presence. There’s a slight tartness that really fills things out. With a lot going on, nothing is overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Though this is a dry beer and the body is thin as expected, there’s the illusion that it’s fuller then it is. Perfect carbonation.

Overall: Very well done. Nothing seems out of place and all the elements are working in perfect harmony. As it opens up in the glass it melds together making a wonderfully tasty experience that dances across the palate.

90/100

You can find North Brewing Co. on the webFacebook, and Twitter.

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~Cheers!

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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Fredericton Craft Beer Festival 2015 Wrap-up

479098_384398868319932_1841047704_oLast Saturday (March 7), Matt and Trevor joined hundreds of other craft-beer lovers at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Simply put, it was a great event. The location, layout, and staff and volunteers were wonderful. The simple things like dump and water stations were plentiful and well positioned. Even the attendees were well behaved, with most of them obviously there for craft beer and not a marathon of pounding beer 4 ounces at a time. We’re already making plans to return for the 2016 editions. We raise our glasses to the organizers and staff and can’t wait to see how the rest of the beer fest season compares.

Matt’s Top Five Beers (in no particular order)

Bad Apple BrewhouseIMG_0082 (Somerset, Nova Scotia) Mosaic Double IPA: Big, but balanced with an aggressive pine nose that caries into the flavour along with some citrus and dank.

Big Spruce Brewing (Baddeck, Nova Scotia) UnRYEvaled Chocolate Rye IPA: Slight roast/chocolate, and a bit of spice, but the hops are the showcase.

Big Tide Brewing (Saint John, New Brunswick) Bucht Bock: Malty without being too sweet like some bocks can be. This would be drinkable (and dangerous) by the litre.

Barnone Brewing (Rose Valley, Prince Edward Island) IPA: Fresh and hoppy without being over the top. An easy drinking, well made beer.

Celtic Knot Brewing (Riverview, New Brunswick) Dubh Loki Black IPA: First beer at the festival, and I didn’t go wrong. A bit of roast, but smooth and hoppy.IMG_2623

Trevor’s Top Five Beers (in no particular order)

Garrison Brewing (Halifax, Nova Scotia) In Session ISA: Garrison just released this new session ale at the Savour Food & Wine Festival in Halifax last week, so I was delighted to get another chance to sample it in Fredericton. Low-alcohol and super hoppy, it’s proof that a session ale can have big flavours. This one is going to be popular.

Red RoverIMG_0085 (Fredericton, New Brunswick) Winter Blues Cider: I’m a sucker for a craft cider, so I was really looking forward to sampling from Red Rover, and this tart, spicy cider far exceeded my expectations.

Le Trou Du Diable (Shawinigan, Quebec) Dubaï Pillée: A weird and wonderful DIPA, this starts with smacks of fruit and wildflowers, before turning dank, funky and hoppy.

Barnone Brewing (Rose Valley, Prince Edward Island) Pale Ale: There were a lot of pale ales at the festival, and this was the best by a country mile—a nice nose of fresh hay, slight malts and hops, perfectly balanced; refreshing and delicious.

Hammond River Brewing (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) Breakfast Stout: My unrestrained Untappd review called this a “pretty well perfect” stout and I stand by that. Flavours of bacon and milk chocolate, rich without being boozy—the best stout I had all night.

IMG_0094Best Brewery of the Festival

We actually intended to give you two different picks here, but it turns out we (Matt and Trevor) both picked the same brewery, and neither of us was willing to budge. Our unanimous pick for the Best Brewery of the Festival is Prince Edward Island’s Barnone Brewing. We liked every beer we had from them, and despite our commitment to sample as many different breweries as possible, we just kept going back to them for more. “The three beers I had from them make my top ten: IPA, Pale Ale, and Sessions IPA,” says Matt. “All balanced, flavourful, and well made. I can’t wait to start seeing these beers in a store nearby soon.”

Were you at the Festival? What were your favourites?

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.

Propeller – American Red

 

20140807-183140-66700093.jpgPropeller is a great craft brewer located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Known for their ales and lagers, they have been brewing beers from traditional ales to modern, cutting-edge craft beers.

American Red is their latest release in their One Hit Wonder series, this modern red ale has a firm bitterness and lots of hops. Perfect summer beer.

From the brewery: “Propeller Brewing Company has released their latest One Hit Wonder series brew – American Red Ale. Weighing in at 5.7%ABV and 70 IBU’s. Inspired by the modern red ales produced along the southern west coast our American Red Ale utilizes specialty malts to create depth of color and flavour, and is aggressively hopped with a variety of American hops.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: The colour is a deep amber with off-white, long lasting, creamy head. Beautifully clear with ruby highlights.

Aroma: The first thing in the aroma is citrus, mainly orange, but some other lemon rind notes. There is some sweet caramel notes and in the back there is s bit of the malt.

Taste: Firm bitterness with some malt. There some hints of leather and less hop character then in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Creamy texture.

Overall: A great red ale. Lots of hops and a good malt backbone to balance. This is one that I would love to see all year, but the short-run makes it that much more special. Try to get some before its gone.

79/100

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Boxing Rock – Temptation Red Ale

20140719-153813-56293037.jpgBoxing Rock is one of the newest craft brewers in Nova Scotia, Canada. Located in Shelburne, they are quickly aging a reputation as a great brewhouse, producing a growing list if ales.

From the brewery: “Full bodied and rich, Temptation Red Ale is a sultry jazz singer in your glass. Continuously hopped during the brew and dry hopped after fermentation with a single hop, this beer has a uniquely full flavour profile”.

And what did I think?

Appearance: Burnt amber red with orange highlights. Hazy with only a slight off-white head, but lasting.

Aroma: Very citrusy, with orange and grapefruit dominating. There is some flowery notes and just a hint of earthiness. No malt to speak of.

Taste: The hop notes in the nose carry through in the flavour with a firm bitterness. Flavours of grapefruit and orange peel are up front, but fade to a dry bitterness in the palate that begs for the next drink.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with a typical level of carbonation. There is a slight oiliness, but this doesn’t present itself in a bad way – probably from hop oils.

Overall: Excellent beer once again from Boxing Rock. They knock this one out of the park. Very drinkable, enough hops to give it that great flavour, but it doesn’t destroy your palate and leaves you wanting that next drink. This might be the best American Red Ale I have ever enjoyed. Well done.

85/100

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