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Must-try beers: Watering hole edition

Step out of your comfort zone and find a new drinking spot (and maybe a new beer)

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The Knot Pub, Lunenburg, N.S.

We’ve all been there. You and your friends hit the same bar every Saturday, because that’s where you go every Saturday. Try something new this weekend.

Jamieson’s Irish Pub
5 Cumberland Drive
Cole Harbour, N.S.

This is the spot to stop if you want to introduce someone to the breadth and depth of Nova Scotian craft beer. Nestled in the Cumberland Court strip mall, this pub offers 16 taps, heavily weighted toward local brewers. As of this writing, the list featured 13 N.S. beers spanning styles from Spindrift Brewing Co. Killick lager to Big Spruce Brewing’s Cereal Killer stout.

In addition to popular locals, you’ll discover small breweries like Berwick’s Bad Apple Brewhouse and Roof Hound Brewing Co. in Digby, plus mandatory Irish macros Harp and Guinness.

The dining room evokes an old-timey pub with abundant dark wood and low lighting, while the menu features Atlantic Canadian seafood favourites and familiar pub fare.

The Nook and Cranny Brew Pub
627 Prince Street
Truro, N.S.

Nominate a designated driver and get to Truro.

The Nook and Cranny has made a name for itself over the last couple of years four its focus on locally sourced fare and house-brewed beers. This week The Nook announced the imminent opening of its new brewery next door. In additional to keeping the pub’s taps flowing, Salty Dog Brewing will be available around Truro (and we hope it will make it’s way to Halifax).

Alongside the house beers you’ll also discover many of the beers mentioned above and below, plus Upstreet Brewing from Charlottetown and Unfiltered Brewing from Halifax.

Don’t wait for Salty Dog to open in mid-May. Visit The Nook this week and you’ll discover house amber, pale ale, pilsner, IPA, and a delightfully refreshing blueberry beer. Stop in on a weekend and you may catch some live music.

The Stubborn Goat
1579 Argyle Street
Halifax

The purveyor of the hotly contested waterfront beer garden is known for its tap list, but you might have missed its bottle list. On it you’ll find Nova Scotia craft beer favourites, like Breton Brewing, Uncle Leo’s, and Sea Level Brewing, plus some unexpected surprises.

Stout lovers should try Montreal brewery Dieu du Ciel’s Aphrodisiaque, a smooth stout featuring dark chocolate, bourbon, and roasted malt flavours. Seeking something lighter: try Clown Shoes Muffin Top. This hoppy Belgian-style tripple will confuse and delight your palate with candied fruit flavours alongside big, juicy American-style hoppiness.

Plan for brunch on April 22, and buy tickets to the Brewers Brunch with 2 Crows Brewing. Beer is incorporated into all four courses of this sumptuous sounding meal, and you’ll receive a 12-oz. 2 Crows pairing with each.

The Knot Pub
4 Dufferin Street
Lunenburg, N.S.

This quaint pub is a bit of a hike from the city, so next time return the favour and volunteer as DD. Its tap list is small but often features two beers you won’t find anywhere else.

Try FirkinStein Brewing’s Nor’Easter, a strong red ale packed with citrusy Cascade hops. Plus The Knot Amber house beer, made by Propeller Brewing, pairs perfectly with a plate of dipped-to-order fish and chips.

The decor is Maritime rustic: featuring rope-wrapped dart boards, wall-mounted life preservers, and a colourful fishing boat above the bar. The food is straight up pub grub (burgers, seafood, handmade fries) served in heaping portions. If you can get there early, grab the tall bar seats at the horseshoe-shaped table to be in the centre of the action.

The Maxwell’s Plum
1600 Grafton Street
Halifax

Need a tap list that pleases everyone? This is your spot. Maxwell’s boasts the largest beer selection in Metro: a whopping 60 draft taps and 30-some canned beers.

You’ll find the expected macros, but locals shine at this charming pub. You’ll find Halifax favourites like Garrison Brewing, Nine Locks Brewing, Propeller Brewing, and notable provincials including Breton Brewing, Hell Bay Brewing Co., and Uncle Leo’s, plus Pump House Brewery from Moncton, N.B. and PEI Brewing Company from Charlottetown. Broaden your horizons with a sampler flight (on special Sunday nights).

For something slightly terrifying, order a brewtender: an 80-oz. beer fountain that rests on your table. The menu features pub-grub nibbles, burgers, and sandwiches aplenty, so carb up.

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