The nice thing about taking pictures while on vacation is you get to look back on those photos and reminisce about the good times that were had. Taking pictures of beer however is far better and much more effective for bringing back memories of times had, and flavours enjoyed; Here’s my proof:
Nova Scotia, and more specifically Halifax should and is well known for beer home to the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Now hear me out. I know Keith’s is not Craft and I know they are “Big Beer” but you can’t deny the history and importance of this brew. That being said, Keith’s IPA is always going to be around and there’s nothing you can do about it. Although they have recently (3 years ago) began brewing small batch brews in the old brewery, not where their “IPA” is made.
Naturally we went on the Keith’s tour and I had a damn good time. Their atmosphere is super well done. They made it interesting for all beer drinkers by including basic history of the beer while still including some in depth facts about their current line-up and brewing methods. They also were very gracious with the samples you receive during the tour. Of course, you get a little taste of their flagship brew, but after that is where my friend flavour enters the room. First was the Lunenburg Cocoa and Coffee Stout. A whole lot of coffee flavour with a rich bitter chocolate finish, a promising start for the small batch samples. Second was their Highland Pils, which was heckin’ refreshing. This was during the Caleigh section which meant it was a much larger sample. Lastly, just as the tour as finishing up, I had the 7579 Hoppy Lager. This brew right here is exactly what their IPA should taste like! The hoppy lager would be a huge crowd pleaser.
Going from the most tourist-like venue to the second most, although not at their fault is Garrison Brewery! Right in the middle of Seaport, just east of Pier 21 sits a huge taproom with an even bigger flight option, ten 5oz sample of their wild assortment of brews. The reason this place is still heavily a tourist attraction would simply be their location and they have played very well with the cards they’ve were dealt. The atmosphere was excellent, the employees were excellent and the beer, excellent. There was two stand out beers in my flight, Hoppy Buoy IPA and Juicy IPA.
On the other side of the spectrum was 2 Crows Brewing which was located near the citadel, a little ways up-hill and down a road that didn’t have much else going for it other than apartments. Very much a local vibe at this location with the fermenter tanks in plain sight and very little decoration apart from a huge mural on the wall. Perfectly simple but still very unique. Their Biere De Garde was out of this world and I regret not buy a can to take home with me, like damn, but I do have a great sweater from them, so I got that going for me.
Although we didn’t get to venture over to Dartmouth during our travels, I was able to have a handful of Nine Locks Brewery. Many local bars carry these guys as their “local beer” option and I loved that. Their selection was pretty diverse as well, for instance a Watermelon Blonde that had just the right amount of sweetness to play off the light malt.
There were many beers we didn’t get around to trying in Nova Scotia but that’s because we had to continue on to PEI! Gahan Brewing is the umbrella title for PEI craft beer, they have quite a long history, including the creation of Prince Edward Island Brewing Company. Located right in Charlottetown is this large taproom with a huge ping pong table and big screen tv with the Jays game on (they were losing I think). Rach and I split a flight seeing as I had to drive all the way to Fredericton that day and I remember that the Vic Park pale ale was particularly good, a little on the sweeter side but still an ale and I found out recently that their Blueberry Ale is available in the LCBO!
About 7 hours later we arrived in Fredericton and right after checking in we went to Graystone Brewing. This place was absolutely bumping at 10pm filled with mid-twentysomethings like it was some sort of college hang out. Highly unexpected but totally cool, oh and their beer was really good too. Their ascetic was very sharp and (obviously) stone like.
The next morning Rach and I discovered that Fredericton doesn’t really have much going on before 10:30, but we had a lovely walk as we waited for Trailway Brewing to open. There’s something to be said about folks who go into a brewery right as they open. They’re either picking up some beer for their cookout or they have to drive to Quebec City that day and would like to get there before the sun sets. Failing to have a BBQ in the Ford Focus, we were the ones who had to get to the old French-Canadian town. Trailway very much reminds me of Anderson Craft Ales. Smaller sized main floor with an upstairs that overlooks the brewery and a cute little outdoor patio.
If I had to make a top 5 list of beers I had, it would look something like this:
- Hu Jon Hops – Trailway Brewing (Fredericton)
- Hoppy Buoy – Garrison Brewing (Halifax)
- Black Angus IPA – Breton Brewing (Cape Breton)
- Biere de Garde – 2 Crows Brewing (Halifax)
- 7579 Hoppy Lager – Alexander Keith’s Brewing (Halifax)
To round out the whole trip, the beer was excellent, the weather was great, the company was perfect, and the views were jaw dropping. I got to spend such a great time with my family, reminiscing about visiting years ago (before I could enjoy all the beer). Rach and I want to move there so we can continue enjoying every single lobster roll they have to offer and then go for a nice long run uphill.