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How you brewin’? 

A beer-lovin’ town, Halifax is, and for those interested in the culture—and, well, the taste—the local breweries have tours that will teach you a great deal about the art and craft of brewing. And maybe get you loaded.

click to enlarge Propeller Brewery runs summer tours nightly for 10 or more people. - KRISTA COMEAU
  • Propeller Brewery runs summer tours nightly for 10 or more people.
  • Krista Comeau

Halifax is home to many a fine beer, that's no secret. But the local breweries aren't just for quenching your thirst. (Is it just me or does beer taste even better in the summer?) Taking a brewery tour gives you the chance to learn about the science and history behind your favourite brands and flavours, and is, of course, an excuse to gather friends and wet your whistle. Whether you're looking for an evening out, or a way to entertain a visitor, here's a glimpse at our brewery tour scene.

Propeller Brewery

2015 Gottingen Street, 422-7767

A lot of action happens behind the scenes of Propeller's unassuming storefront. If you haven't taken the time to see the inner workings of the little north end brewery that could, while throwing back a few cold ones, why not celebrate the season and do so? This summer will mark 14 years of Propeller's delicious craft beers, and its hour-long brewery tours offer the perfect balance of lesson time and social drinking in the tasting room (where you can sip on their bitter, Pilsner, IPA, honey wheat, pale ale or porter). Yep, you'll get the chance to head down to the brewmaster's headquarters in the dark basement where all the magic, from blending to bottling, happens. Tours run from 6-7pm and 7:30-8:30pm every night, and from 4:30-5:30pm on weekends. You'll need at least 10 buddies to make it happen, and it'll run you only $10 each. But fear not, lone wolves---starting in July, Propeller will run open brewery tours on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. And for you designated drivers, or curious non-beer drinkers, for $5 you can still join in on the fun and drink mass amounts of Propeller's ridiculously tasty all-natural sodas.

Garrison Brewery

1149 Marginal Road, 453-5343

Garrison offers another laidback---and highly social---option to ye olde brewery tour. Also in their 14th year of tempting our taste buds with local hand-crafted beers, the folks at Garrison are happy to welcome you into their sweet digs on the pier to sample their main brands (Irish red, Tall Ship amber, raspberry wheat, nut brown and Hop Yard pale) and get the lowdown on all the TLC provided to make the brews filling your glass. Garrison gives you an hour-and-a-half to let the suds, and the know-how, sink in, and tours run three times a night. The earlier, perfect pre-drinking time slots (5pm and 7pm) require that you round up at least 10 friends and cost $12 a person.

If you're more into a 9pm beer buzz, you better have 15 friends, and dollars. Just like their crafty friends at Propeller, Garrison gives love to the non-drinkers as well, offering a $5 soda deal. The brewery is also home to sweet, sweet Cannonball Soda. A night of guzzling blueberry cream soda sounds pretty dreamy to me.

Alexander Keith's Brewery

1496 Lower Water Street, 455-1474

For beer-lovers who also have a thing for history, Maritime singalongs and badass mutton chops: This is the tour for you. The family-friendly Keith's brewery tour transports you way back to 1863 and into the home and workplace of Mr. Keith himself, where a handful of his staff will entertain you for about an hour. You'll be part of an incredibly animated tour of the former brewing facilities, a Halifax history lesson and finally, get to taste Mr. Keith's finest ales at the Stag's Head Tavern, where it turns into a true east coast kitchen party. Period costumes, clever jokes and traditional songs keep the lesson in beer lively---it's like you're seeing a production and getting a brewery tour at the same time.

Given Keith's national popularity these tours can get pretty busy, but they are plentiful. You can time travel on the half-hour from noon-8pm Monday to Saturday and noon-5pm on Sundays and prices range from $7.95 for kiddies (yes, there are non-alcholic bevvies too) to $15.95 for big kids. This tour is a surefire way to entertain an out-of-towner, or yourself on a rainy day.

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