In July we launched a beer survey at HalifaxMagazine.com and you inundated us with votes for your favourite Nova Scotian brewery. Here are respondents’ favourite outside-of-Halifax breweries. (See this post for their favourite Halifax breweries.)
1. Tatamagouche Brewing Co.
It wasn’t even close: Tatamagouche was the overwhelming favourite. Since its founding in 2014, this rural, organic brewery has won six Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards. “Across all styles, and I’ve tried a lot of them, they consistently make beer that I will drink,” says Derek Smith of Dartmouth, N.S. “I haven’t opened a can yet that I didn’t like, and that’s saying something given the variety they make.”
2. Big Spruce Brewing
If you tried and failed to find a can of Silver Tart at an HRM liquor store this summer, you know the popularity of Cape Breton’s original brewery. Since 2012, Jeremy White’s organic brewery has won 10 Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards, created three sought-after cellaring beers, and recently canned a beer that benefits marine research: Tag You’re It (IPA). “Just great beer, no pretensions,” says Rhia Perkins of Halifax.
3. Boxing Rock Brewing Co.
In addition to being a reader favourite, Boxing Rock also makes our poll’s most-mentioned beer: Vicar’s Cross double IPA. Founded in 2012, the brewery has won four Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards and two Canadian Brewing Awards. Its most recent CBA was for Stayin’ Alive, a traditional bock. “Hunky Dory was the first N.S. craft beer I tried, it still is one of my favourites,” says Adeline Maxwell of Halifax.
4. Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Company
It was a surprise to see Horton Ridge, one of the province’s newest and smallest breweries, make our readers’ lists. This grain-to-glass brewery doesn’t sell outside of its taproom because owner Alan Stewart doesn’t want to compete with the brewers who buy his malt. It’s worth the drive to pick up a growler of his spicy, malt-forward Ryes Up pale ale. You’ll gain a new appreciation for beer from the ground up.
5. Bad Apple Brewhouse
When you pull up to Bad Apple, you might think you’re in the wrong spot. In a barn behind his family home, Jeff Saunders brews top-shelf beer. His brewery won Brewery of the Year twice in the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards’ three-year run and 10 beer-specific awards. This fall, watch for Operation Green Ring, a pale wheat ale made with Horton Ridge malts, plus cucumber and mint picked 2 kilometres from the brewery.