6-beers brewed within in an hour of home
Like favourite hockey teams, beer brands are often inherited. Perhaps we acquired a taste for it after taking a sip from our parents can. Perhaps it’s the tradition of drinking “the old man’s” brand that draws us to the traditional Oland’s, Keith’s or Moosehead. Or maybe, we just like it. But our parents didn’t have the choice that we’ve been afforded. We can choose to drink a beer brewed pretty close to where we were born. And with a little effort, you can fill a 6-pack of beer and cider, wine or spirits all made within an hour of your home.
So that’s just what I did. It’s a tough job, alas, someone must do it.
Many local breweries have adapted to the pandemic by doing home delivery or door front pick-up. Me? I like to belly right up to the bar and ask the barkeep what they drink. Over the years I've learned that bartenders are typically the "knower of all things." I take their recommendations in all cases.
The truth is, beer is not my alcohol of choice, which is perfectly fine because cider, wine, rum, even vodka and spirits are being made right here in Lunenburg County. While they taste wildly different, all the beers and ciders I tried all have a characteristic similar to our people: they’re strong! Varying in alcohol content from 4-8% they are, in my opinion, best shared.
Undertow Pale Ale- Shipwright Brewing Company- Lunenburg
This ale packs a punch- and not just the size of the can! You can imagine that this beer was brought over in barrels like the famed rum, the can is a keepsake, and the beer is super tasty and refreshing.
Holy Mackerel- Salt Box Brewing Co- Mahone Bay
Hipster breweries that have become the norm around Canada want to grow up and be like the Saltbox Brewing Co. The atmosphere of both the Salt Box and King Street Brewing company is light, airy and contemporary. This beer has notes of subtle melon so it's not too bitter, making this a great summertime Saturday afternoon beer. Plus, it’s fun to say.
Bulwark Blush- Bulwark- New Ross
It was my family’s tradition to stop in New Ross on our way to the Valley to visit family. We’d stop at the racetrack and have milkshakes at the diner. While milkshakes and cider are quite different, I can’t express how happy I am to see another tradition forming in one of my favourite communities. New Ross has a history of hardworking people. You can taste it in its cider. It's crisp like biting into a juicy Gala apple, with some added blueberries to cut the tartness. It's my new favourite cider!
Jib- Firkinstein Brewing Inc – Bridgewater
You know the saying, ‘All sizzle and no steak?’ Firkenstein is all steak. There is absolutely nothing pretentious about this place- they are exactly who they want to be. The people sitting at the bar and the musicians that play there are all as real as the beer they serve. The can is the least flashy, perhaps because it doesn’t need the sizzle. The beer inside is a strong, earthy beer just like their dedicated followers.
Principal Pale Ale- Schoolhouse Brewing- Windsor
The Valley is my second favourite place in Nova Scotia, second only to Lunenburg County, so I had to select a Valley beer. The Brewery is very cool and just as the name suggests, it looks like a schoolhouse, so much so that it felt like I was doing the unthinkable - drinking on the school property. The beer is hoppy, fruity and not too bitter.
Sour City- Sourwood Cider Company- Halifax
As the name suggests, it is tart, which I really liked. The can is without a doubt, my favourite and the crafter in me is thinking of how to reuse it. The interesting scene of a working harbourfront will NOT be going to the bottle depot! The beer is really good. The marketing is brilliant!
I promise, whatever small batch craft beer you chose, you can’t go wrong. Get out and enjoy and taste for yourself.
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