Toss your plaid in the washer tonight craft-beer lovers, the Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to the Seaport Market on Saturday, Feb. 16. Thirty Nova Scotian breweries and cideries will serve sample-size beers amid music and hand-held food for sale.

The Craft Beer Cottage Party is one of several events during the Savour Food and Wine Festival. Learn more about other festival events in Halifax Magazine‘s January-February 2019 cover story.

This event offers a special opportunity as we kick off beer festivals season. “For me, it’s seeing the brewers in a different light,” says Jeff Green, director of sales at Garrison Brewing. “You got to most beer festivals, and everyone is promoting their brand. This give us all an excuse to throw on a plaid shirt and grab a beer.”

My favourite part of this annual event is the opportunity to try beers from breweries outside of HRM. Here are four you shouldn’t miss.

Cutwater Kolsh
Shipwright Brewing Company
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
4.8%
Even lager haters will love this brew. No surprise, it comes from Kellye Robertson, who was head brewer at Spindrift Brewing when it was an all lager brewery. A blond German ale with a bright yeast flavour that’s as crisp as a frozen lake. It’s low on hops, but what’s there is bitter enough to balance out the semi-sweet malts.

Triple Threat Neapolitan Brown
Roof Hound Brewing Co.
Digby, N.S.
5.4%
I usually dislike dessert-flavoured beers. I want my beer to taste like… beer. The biggest faux pas when brewing a dessert beer is packing it full of sugar rather than flavour. Luckily, brewer Les Barr started with a solid base (Big Brown, a dark boozy ale) and added strawberry purée, vanilla, chocolate malts, and coco powder rather than artificial flavours.

Nelson Saison
Tanner and Co. Brewing
Chester, N.S.
6.8%
Slightly spicy, a little bit of citrus, smooth and bright. This brewery works out of a converted garage next to what might be Nova Scotia’s smallest vineyard. Don’t under estimate owner-brewer Dan Tanner, he’s crafting traditional styles with high quality.

Dry Dock Dry Pale Ale (brut IPA)
Annapolis Brewing Company
Annapolis Royal, N.S.
6.3%
Brut is one of craft beer’s newest styles. Brewers use an enzyme to break down sugars in the IPA wort that wouldn’t otherwise get fermented by the yeast. The result is a bone-dry, bright IPA. Annapolis’s pale-ale version is effervescent, and hopped with Motueka, Ella, Vic Secret, and Mosaic for a citrus and lime flavours and aromas.

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