An estimated 1,800 craft-beer lovers came out in force to try nearly 200 beers and ciders at the fifth annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last Saturday. Among the 58 breweries were a number of Nova Scotian favourites.
Halifax Magazine editor Trevor J. Adams and I share some of our Nova Scotian favourites below. Some you’ll find on tap in the city, others you may have to go to the brewery for—they’re all worth the search.
Tatamagouche Brewing Company
This is one crisp, refreshing, and dangerously sessionable beer. It’s mildly hazy and slightly sweet on the finish. It’s named for the local crystal malt in the brew, grown on Rural Route 2 in Malagash, N.S.
Abyss Barrel O’ Cherries (schwarzbier)
Spindrift Brewing Co.
Brewer Kellye Robertson lagered the one-year barrel-aged Schwarzbier in red-wine oak barrels, then added sour cherries. The result is a complex and evolving medley: tart sourness, dark chocolate richness, and spicy warmth.
Batch 67 (American pale ale)
Saltbox Brewing Co.
Mahone Bay, N.S.
New on the beer scene in 2016, this small batch brewery has earned a lot of buzz in the last year. This one in no exception. This APA is sweetened with honey, but well balanced with a mild hop kick.
One Hundred (other)
Big Spruce Brewing
Brewed with all Nova Scotian ingredients, including a yeast harvested on the brewery farm. Unique flavours: a mix of prickly spice with a faint refreshing sweetness.
McNab’s Pure (rye IPA)
Lightly spicy and nicely bitter. This is a subtle rye IPA for those used to Propeller rye IPA’s hefty malt backbone, but not a bad beverage.
Test Batch Code Name – Juicy 2 (DIPA)
The latest version of this DIPA boasts a mix of Citra, Comet, Ekuanot, and Mosaic hops. Despite being a hop-bomb, it’s not the palate-stunner that the first version was. Big flavours, but very easy to drink.
Carbon 14 (strong dark Belgian)
Boxing Rock Brewing
Runner-up in the brewery’s 2016 Black Box homebrew challenge. Find this limited release while you can, if you can. It’s sweet, smooth, and earthy, with a warming alcohol feeling at the end. Stay warm.
Neon Nights (American wild ale)
2 Crows Brewing
They made fans wait until 8pm before they started pouring this sour, but it was worth braving the impatient mosh pit around their booth. Mouth-puckering tartness, with an unexpected Brett funk. One of the most interesting beers of the night.
Sober Island Brewing
Sober Island, N.S.
This was my favourite beer of the festival. Once available only at The Henley House Pub in Sheet Harbour, N.S, this brew grew so popular that the brewery added it to its core lineup. It’s made with East Kent Goldings hops and English ale yeast for that classic bitter flavour. It’s malty and mellow with a dry finish.
Dave & Morley Coffee Brown
Good Robot Brewing Co.
Coffee + beer is a combination you either love or hate. I love it. Browns are often cloyingly sweet; a nice big hit of black-coffee bitterness counters that nicely. This gave a refreshing boost after a whole bunch of hoppy IPAs.