I take an annual trip to Nova Scotia to spend time with family at the seashore. It is always such an amazing time with family & friends that I find I spend most of my limited time simply enjoying the Shore rather than the bounty that is the rest of this maritime province. Today, I had the opportunity to drive some family members to the airport in Halifax and took advantage of the time & location to take a brew tour of Halifax and explore a city that I haven’t been to in almost 15 years. I took some notes on the local brews and spread the BeerSox love throughout the city on a gorgeous, breezy, summer day.
Garrison Brewing Company
Garrison is located near the Sea port & Farmers Market on the East side of the harbourfront area of Halifax.
There’s a great little bottle shop inside, merch and a tasting bar with four taps today, but has space for more when seasonals are available. On tap today was imperial pale, tall ship amber, Irish red, and hop yard pale. I tasted the Hop Yard Pale and the Imperial Pale.
Garrison celebrated 15 years of operation this summer. I sat and chatted with the barman for a while while I took my tasting notes. He explained a bit of the brewery’s history to me. President Brian Titus was in the navy and after moving to Halifax, found a need in the beer market for quality local craft beers. They have gone through a couple of expansion iterations and may be looking to expand again in the near future. There’s a great interview on the twitters if you follow @garrisonbrewing
They have a growler program which is something that I noticed around at a number of locations around town.
Beer details can be found here
Hop Yard Pale Ale:
Dry hopped west coast pale
Light amber color
Funky hops nose with a touch of vanilla
A little butterscotch
Fresh taste & good session ale
Imperial Pale Ale:
Good nose, sweeter than the hop yard
Taste is a bit on the bitter hops side on the finish
More refined but still has an edge. Not overwhelmingly malty & sweet, so it’s still refreshing for an imperial.
Some interesting beers to look for: fog burner barley wine, & Baltic porter. Wish I could have tried the 15th anniversary beer.
Alexander Keith’s Brewery (flash website)
Kitschy tour, but great maritime singing performances once you buy in.
I cut my craft beer teeth on this beer, so it holds much sentimental value, but tastes just a step up from macro.
Downstairs establishment. Undergoing renovation. Growler program.
I had a sampler of their ales:
Deadwood wheat: funky wheat barnyard nose, slightly citrus
Jacktar stout: nice coffee nose. Slightly weak on the palate
Fathom ipa: the nose makes me
happy hoppy! Another west coast ipa. Very floral & citrus almost with very forward hops taste. But smooth with a bit of sweetness in the finish.
Big water brown: nutty & roasted, but feeling a bit meh about it.
Mangled: ipa refermented with mango. Interesting. Wonder if it’s an answer to the garrison mango & ginger 15th anniversary, or at least inspired by it. Not a big mango fan, so it’s just a novelty.
Hawser weizen: German style hefe. Banana esters are evident in this one.
I decided the taster of IPA was the one to finish at this location before I moved on.
Swashbuckling microbrewery & pub with a growler program. Definitely smell the brewing. And the seafood.
Again, I went for a sampler:
Red ale: tastes of raspberry slightly. Very sweet. Not much body.
Ipa: session ipa. Not too special.
Brown ale: nutty. Brown ale. You can’t really make a surprising brown ale, can you?
Cream ale: like making love in a canoe
Hefe seasonal: banana esters. Bit more hoppy than most hefes which is nice. Makes this stop worth it. Really wish they had the raspberry wheat! If it’s taken from close to the same recipe, it’ll be a refreshing summer beverage!
The hefe ended up being the only one I finished at this location.
And I stopped in to The Loop to peruse the local yarn fare!
Hart & Thistle
On the harbor front. More touristy.
They were out of their in-house brews, so I tried a Granite Brewing Peculiar, and the Propeller IPA. The Peculiar is not quite my taste, something sweet in it is throwing my taste buds off-kilter. The IPA is a good IPA. Nothing shocking. Nothing too hard core, but a good, solid, thoroughly enjoyable IPA.
And thus ends the Halifax BeerSox beer tour.
PS In the spirit of responsible tasting, I left many a glass more than half full throughout my day, tasting enough to form an opinion before moving on.