Every few weeks, Sophie writes about Beer, Brewing and Bites. Her stories are witty, educational and worth a read!
December 1, 2018 - Beat the Winter Blues with a Maritime Craft Beer Advent Box
The 2018 winter solstice descends upon the Maritimes on December 21 at 6:23pm Atlantic Standard Time. The word “solstice” is actually derived from the Latin meaning “sun standing still”. And on the 21st, the sun stands still below our horizon as we put the longest night of the year behind us. In the throes of this particular Nova Scotia winter, that is cause for celebration! And what better way to count down to the freedom from darkness than with the Maritime Craft Beer Advent Box?
If you or your loved one is a beer enthusiast who regularly fills up their basket at the liquor store with an assortment of cans and bottles from local craft breweries, this limited edition Maritime collection is a real treat. Packaged in a light blue box modeled after a lobster crate, the top cleverly opens to reveal numbered cutouts resembling a 24-Day Advent Calendar, allowing you to peel back and surprise yourself each day with a celebratory beer. The box contains a total of 23 Maritime craft-brewed beers and one local cider. There’s a wide variety here, including beers from two New Brunswick breweries (The Pumphouse and Grimross), and two from PEI (Upstreet and PEI Brewing). The remaining 18 breweries proudly reflect Nova Scotia’s burgeoning beer production with the inclusion this year of my beloved Salt Box as well as Hellbay, Roofhound, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, Trider’s , and Tusket Falls.
The Advent Box retails for $129.99 (HST included), averaging $4.60 per can pre-tax. Some might feel that’s a bit dear, but there’s something special about having such a diverse collection of Maritime brews – some of which you can’t get at the NSLC or are special releases like Saltbox’s “Balsam Blue” or Upstreet’s “Yuletide Saison”. And I’m told that one in every 10 boxes includes a $50 gift certificate from Clearwater Seafoods. The boxes are only available at WestSide Beer Wine Spirits (Halifax), Harvest Wine and Spirits (Dartmouth), or Rockhead Wine and Beer Market (Halifax). And they are going fast. Having only been in these stores since mid-November, I purchased mine from WestSide on November 25th and was told they were down to their last 300 boxes (from a beginning inventory of 1,000).
SPOILER ALERT! So, for those of you who want to know exactly what you’re getting for $130, I’ve compiled a list of participating breweries (in alphabetical order) with a brief description of the beer they’ve included in the Advent Box. There’s definitely something for everybody, with a wide range of styles and ABVs. And don’t worry. Even if you purchase the Advent Box after December 1st, ‘tis the season of sharing…every day that passes means there’s one more beer to open up with friends. Cheers!
Big Spruce Brewing
Nyanza, Cape Breton, NS
Black India Pale Ale (6.8%)
A combination of six different hops that are mostly citrusy and aromatic with darker shades of malted barley that lend a gentle roasted character to the mix
Boxing Rock Brewing
Over the Top Sour Mash Cranberry Wheat Ale (4%)
Sour mash made with lactobacillus and late hop additions for aroma, cranberries for a sweet, dry finish
Sydney, Cape Breton, NS
Storm Chaser Vanilla Oatmeal Stout (5.5%)
Roasted coffee with vanilla and chocolate
Garrison Brewing Co.
Pucker Up East Coast Sour (4.9%)
Combination of tart and sweet, with additions of cranberry, pomegranate, hibiscus, and rosehips
El Espinazo Del Diablo Mexican Lager (5.6%)
Includes lime zest and jalapeno
Grimdonk Belgian-inspired ale (6.5%)
Golden, crisp, balanced fruit and spice with a dry finish
Muwin Estate Wines
New Ross, NS
Bulwark Hopped Cider (6%)
Citrus-forward hoppy cider. Made with Cascade and Comet hops, notes of lemon and grapefruit; “Tamed” by the sweetness of 5 blends of apple.
Hellbay Brewing Co.
Tannen Bomb Blonde Ale (5%)
Infused with balsam fir and honey
Nine Locks Brewing Co.
London-style Porter, dark brown, medium bodied, toasted toffee finish
PEI Brewing Co.
Limited Edition 8 Cord Double IPA (8.5%)
Hop-forward, citrus, pine and floral aromas, bready malt and alcohol
Bourbon Barrel-aged Baltic Porter (7.5%)
Dark and complex, with roasted coffee and toffee aromas, hints of raisin and dark cherries; influence of the oak bourbon barrel carries vanilla and caramel flavours
Fire Chiefs Red Ale (5.5%)
A lightly hopped, malty Irish Red
Roof Hound Brewing Co.
Chocolate Banana Bread Hefeweizen (5.0%)
Made with rum soaked oak chips, cocoa and vanilla
Roof Hound Brewing Co.
Rum N’ Nog Golden Stout (7%)
Rum soaked oak chips, lactose and vanilla (creamy)
Saltbox Brewing Co.
Mahone Bay, NS
Balsam Blue (6.2%)
Made with tips of balsam fir trees and locally grown wild NS blueberries. Light and refreshing.
Recess Pilsner (4.7%)
Light, balanced pilsner, more malty than hoppy
Hurricane IPA (6.2%)
A west-coast style IPA hopped with Comet and Amarillo for a piney and grapefruity aroma and flavour
Sober Island Brewing
Sheet Harbour, NS
Beachstone Bitter (5.1%)
Positioned as an English Bitter style with an earthy spicy hop finish, balanced with malty mouthfeel
Tatamagouche Brewing Co.
Rushton’s Peach Berliner Weisse (3.5%)
Tangy and tart with organic apricots and peaches
Tusket Falls Brewing
District 34 Porter (7%)
Named after the Fishing Ground off the Yarmouth coast. Haven’t tried this one yet. No description on website
Trider’s Craft Beer
Peppermint Porter (4%)
Minty, decadent chocolate flavours
Upstreet Brewing Co.
Black Tie Affair Vanilla Cranberry Stout (5%)
Roasty stout balanced with a touch of cranberry tartness and a hint of rich vanilla
Upstreet Brewing Co.
Yuletide Saison (6%)
From their “Flipside series”, one-off experimental beers
Wayfarers’ Ale Ltd.
Port Williams, NS
Hellene Blonde Ale (4.2%)
Brewed with pilsner and specialty malts and Continental hops. Light and refreshing