Offering a hint of summer in Halifax’s most unpleasant season, the Savour Food & Wine Festival‘s Craft Beer Cottage Party always draws a crowd. On Saturday, March 3, amid live music, beer-friendly snacks, and games, ticket holders sampled from 35 breweries and cideries from across Nova Scotia, plus a few from New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Missed out? Here are five to try this week:

Passion Trip
2 Crows Brewing and Bishops Cellar
Halifax
4.8%
This brewery can’t stop making short run beers. Soured with lactobacillus for added tang, this beer features a Norweigan yeast strain that lends it the flavour of overripe mango. Add to that a “fiscally irresponsible amount of passionfruit”, vanilla beans, and abundant dry-hopping, and you have a stellar summer beer. If  only it lasts. Grab a can at the brewery or Bishop’s Cellar while you can.

Country Grog (American amber)
Trider’s Craft Beer
Amherst, N.S.
6%
Trider’s returned to the Craft Beer Cottage Party to pour beer and defend its 2017 Best Booth title, and did both with aplomb. Country Grog was one of two new beers Trider’s tapped that night. A solid amber ale infused with nutmeg, cinnamon, whole vanilla bean, and a touch of clove to create a hearty brew to get you through these last weeks of winter. This was a one-off brew, but given the reception, co-owner and brewer Joe Potter says we may see it again.

Blood Juniper (IPA)
Big Spruce Brewing
Nyanza, N.S.
6%
This beer pours orange and upon smelling it you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a big ole glass of OJ. The citrus flavour is upfront, but doesn’t overpower the fact that you’re drinking a beer. The juniper flavour hides until the end of your sip to add an interesting finish (think the predominant flavour in gin). Catch it while you can at select licensees around the city.

XPA (pale ale)
Propeller Brewing Company
Halifax
5%
I snoozed on trying this beer, and for that I’m sorry. Halifax is a beer mecca these days and it’s hard to try everything. Sometimes a great beer will slip under the radar. That’s the case here. This seasonal beer is in cans now, but don’t wait. It is light and refreshing with notable orange and apricot aromas, plus a piney finish that makes it immediately crushable.

All You Can Eat (IPA)
Good Robot Brewing
Halifax
6.3%
If the idea of a coconut IPA sounds weird, check yourself. Toasted coconut adds a level of creaminess that’s hard to get when brewing an IPA, plus it tastes great. This brew features Topaz and Wai-iti hops to create a tropical flavour and aroma that sets it apart from others in the style. Find it at the Good Robot taproom.

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