It’s that time of year again: craft beer Christmas. Halifax Seaport Cider and Beerfest, Atlantic Canada’s largest and oldest craft beer festival, runs this Friday and Saturday. Over three sessions, attendees can sample more than 300 beers and ciders from Canada, Maine, Ireland, and Iceland.

Here are five to try:

Blueberry short mead
Ursan Meadery
Kentville, N.S
6%
This is your chance to drink the beverage of kings and heroes. Mead is a fermented honey wine. While traditional versions offer dessert wine sweetness in the 10% ABV range, short meads are lighter, semi-sweet, and dry. This one is packed with local blueberries. Plus, the folks behind the booth take a traditional approach and wear medieval robes.

Mayflower (white IPA)
The Church Brewing Co.
Wolfville, N.S.
5.8%
The second of The Church’s soon-to-be six core brands is named for our provincial flower. This hybrid style mixes elements of a Belgian-style witbier and an American IPA to create bright, bold flavours. The orange peel and coriander flavours of wit meet big fruity hops. Take the time to inhale the aromas before you sip to savour all this beer has to offer.

Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Elevensies Espresso Stout
Maybee Brew Co.
Fredericton, N.B.
6%
Elevensies is one of my all-time favourite stouts. The coffee hits you before the glass ever meets your lips, aromatic and bitter. Once on your tongue the traditional stout sweetness kicks into gear. This version was aged for seven months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels that were aged with  Vermont Maple Syrup. It’s not overly carbonated so you can take in all the flavours.

The Way Life Should Be (New England IPA)
Orono Brewing Co.
Orono, ME
6%
Halifax Beer Twitter got excited when the Maine Beer Box touched down in the Port last week. If this is the first you’re hearing of this 40-foot shipping container packing 78 beer taps, read our blog post. Orono pops up in Atlantic Canada from time to time, at Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and the occasional tap at Stillwell. This offering is a collaboration with outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean. Packing six fruity and flavourful hops (Galaxy, Mosaic, Ella, Citra, El Dorado, and Vic Secret), this one is sure to delight.

Black Bucket (Black rye IPA)
Kinnegar Brewing
Letterkenny, Ulster Ireland
6.5%
Seaport’s collection of Irish beers has been a draw since the festival’s early days. This beer combines the flavours of two styles we don’t see coming out of Nova Scotian breweries lately: black IPA and rye IPA. Powerful roasty notes, plus spicy rye and a burst of fresh hops makes this beer pop.

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