Wednesday, November 28, 2018

DRINK THIS: Propeller Brewing Co.'s Galaxy IPA

An intergalactic, hazy new one-off can

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:54 PM


The stars aligned last weekend for OG indie beer-maker Propeller Brewing Co. (2015 Gottingen Street and 617 Windmill Road), which released its latest special brew, a hazy Vermont IPA called Galaxy that's been blasting off the shelves ever since. Made using Australian galaxy hops (for that tropical, citrusy aroma, that'll have you forgetting we're in the ass-end of fall) as well as citra and mosaic hops (for a little kick of mango and tangerine), this juicy bugger is part of the Prop shop's work towards growing its canned selection. And because it's a one-off, you better hurry up and get your mitts on it because when it's gone, it's gone to a galaxy far, far away.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Good Parma rises to the top(ping)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 22, 2018 at 4:07 PM

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When a shoulder injury took Ryan Spence away from organic farming, he wanted to find a way to keep his connection with good, clean food. A vegan for nearly a decade, Spence was no stranger to experimenting with flavour in the kitchen, but it was a Christmas gift from his mother that pushed him to try and make a superior cheese substitute topping.

“I took inspiration to try and make something better,” he says. “On the market today most vegan products or dairy alternatives are filled with chemicals or additives, and have plastic packaging that’s not reusable. It doesn’t really reflect the values of the target market.” And so Good Parma was born. After being tested by “picky siblings” and at vegan potlucks, Spence debuted his product at Halifax Veg Fest back in September—now 12 retailers in town carry his product.
“It’s really addictive. People are like, is there MSG in this?” he says, laughing. With a main ingredient of organic walnuts, he says Good Parma (which comes in glass containers, in original and spicy flavours) doesn’t really taste like parmesan, but provides a texture that’s more satisfying than a typical nutritional yeast topping.

And Spence is getting some karma for his parma: He’s donating 10 percent of profits to the Annapolis Valley’s North Mountain Animal Sanctuary—a rescue for abused or neglected farm animals. “They’re pretty much the forgotten ones,” he says. “I’ve seen first-hand the care they give those animals.”

Find Good Parma Saturdays at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road)and this weekend at the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market (6260 South Street).
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Julep Kitchen & Cocktails has plans for spring

New restaurant/ bar headed for Barrington Street

Posted By on Thu, Nov 22, 2018 at 1:45 AM

  • via Instagram

“We don’t mind working hard,” says Ryan Wolfe of he and his business partner, chef Lawry Deneau. They’re the pair behind Chain Yard Urban Cidery’s in-house restaurant, Unchained Kitchen (2606 Agricola Street)—which has been doing big things out of an eight-by-eight kitchen since 2017—and they’ve got some plans for spring 2019.

That’s when Julep Kitchen & Cocktails aims to open its doors at 1684 Barrington Street, the longtime home of John W. Doull Booksellers, bringing casual-but-elevated food and drinks downtown.

“At Chain Yard we really try to focus on pairing with cider, which is very easy to do if you’ve had their cider, it’s quite refined. It almost drinks as a white wine,” says Wolfe. Julep will give Denau a chance to take the same “simple ingredients” and “cool flavours” of Unchained’s home-cooked classics to the next level with much more space to play with. “Lawry has spent a lot of time in the southern US and loves the culture and food there because it parallels so well with what’s going on in Nova Scotia with all those Acadian roots. We’re not southern, but it’s a play on that southern style.”

Team Julep is early in the planning and reno phase and looks forward to neighbouring their personal faves Stillwell and Highwayman sometime in April. “There’ll be passion in every bite,” says Wolfe.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fairview's The Anchor closes

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 9:52 AM

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Dear Valued Customers, The purpose of this letter is to reluctantly inform you that The Anchor will be closing our doors after our last service, Thursday November 8, 2018. We have proudly served the Fairview area for the last 2 years, and strived to bring something new and exciting to the community. Unfortunately, due to economic strain, we are no longer able to keep going on this journey. We are very proud of what we’ve built, and we are hoping to find someone to continue and build upon what we’ve started. We regret any inconvenience this may cause our loyal customers, and hope to see you all in the next couple of days. We can not thank you enough for all of your support. Sincerely, The Anchor

A post shared by The Anchor (@theanchorfairview) on

Fairview’s coolest spot for food, drinks and live music has sailed off into the sunset, leaving an empty spot on the strip. Culinary-driven community hub The Anchor (3625 Dutch Village Road) closed its doors permanently late last week after giving it a go and growing its entertainment offerings for two years.

In an announcement online (see above) the restaurant cited “economic strain” as the main reason it was saying goodbye.
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

All aboard Maritime Express Cider

Valley-based cidery gears up for its grand opening.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 1:11 AM

Hearn and Doidge
  • Hearn and Doidge
A new cider joint has its wheels turning in Kentville. Maritime Express Cider (325 Main Street) quietly opened last month, with co-owners Jimi Doidge and Scott Hearn running the show.

Doidge hails from Hamilton, Ontario, and made his way to Nova Scotia back in June 2016. He’s been crafting wine and cider from home for a decade now, so when he landed in Kentville he saw the opportunity for business.

“I knew there was a great apple region and wine region, but I didn’t know how great it was and how people support it,” says Doidge. He and his wife “fell in love with” the area, and he expects they’ll be living there for good.

When Doidge started poking around for possible taproom locations, he wound up meeting Hearn—who happened to want to open a cidery as well. Instead of ending up with competing businesses, the two teamed up.

“We both have a very similar vision for it—so that’s been great—and we work really well together,” says Doidge. He and Hearn pinned down a location in the historic Cornwallis Inn, which was once a luxury railway hotel. These days, it houses multiple businesses. “We just came and saw this spot and couldn’t believe the potential of it – with the stone floor, stone walls, the big patio we got put on and all that stuff.”

Maritime Express’ current offerings all have railway-themed names: The Flying Bluenose (a dry cider), The Dayliner (on the sweeter side) and The Roundhouse (rhubarb). Doidge is aiming to have a hopped cider on offer soon and a spiced cider for the holiday season, with more to come in the new year.

Maritime Express Cider is holding its grand opening event this Saturday, November 17.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

DRINK THIS: Blomidon Estate Winery’s 2014 Blanc de Noirs

Loved by critics for its toasty notes, full body and delicate bubbles.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 4:59 PM


A Nova Scotian bubbly goes great with food. No surprise, then, that contestant chefs at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Halifax—the rebranded Gold Medal Plates national culinary competition—choose overwhelmingly to pair their competition dishes with local sparkling wine.

This makes for an especially good opportunity to size up some of the top sparkling wines in the region. At this year's Halifax competition, held last month, Blomidon Estate Winery's 2014 Blanc de Noirs came out on top, according to the Kitchen Party's panel of local wine judges (this author included).

As the name indicates, Blomidon's Blanc de Noirs is a white wine pressed from dark grapes—Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, two classic Champagne varieties. At pressing, juice is separated from skin, meaning the pigment found in grape skins has little opportunity to bleed into the juice, leaving only the faintest remnant of colour—a pleasing barely-even-salmon tinge of orange-pink that is nearly imperceptible once it's poured into a glass.

The wine is wonderfully lively and balanced, with "pronounced toasty notes on the nose, freshly baked bread, red apple, spice and underlying aroma of mature cheese," according to Alanna MacIntyre of Bishop's Cellar, one of the competition's judges. "Full bodied, with a pleasant, creamy texture, fine mousse and a dryish finish," adds Craig Pinhey, New Brunswick wine, beer and spirits writer, also a Kitchen Party wine judge. "A total delight," sums up Heather Rankin of Obladee, A Wine Bar, another panel judge. "Floral, woodsy, wild cherry note and a soft delicate bubble."

Blomidon Estate Winery's Blanc de Noirs is available for $45 at the winery, through its online store and at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (1209 Marginal Road) on Saturdays. Well worth having on hand for the holiday season.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

DRINK THIS: North Brewing Company's Breakwater pineapple lime sour


Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 4:30 AM

Sweet can design by Josh Horner - JOHN NEWGARD
  • Sweet can design by Josh Horner
The word flurries has resurfaced in our collective lexicon, but North Brewing Company (2576 Agricola Street and 62 Ochterloney Street) is still dreaming of summer barbecues and sours. And we’re here for it. While the north end/Dartmouth brewer is re-releasing its crisp-weather appropriate, hefty treat Twinkle Pony tiramisu stout this week, it’s also celebrating the release of its third instalment in its Breakwater series—the pineapple lime sour.

“It was kind of a fun experiment and playing ground for us—it’s basically our sandbox,” says North’s Rozina Darvesh of the brew, which follows the summer-released mango lime and a coconut lime kettle sours (as well as a collaboration brew with Propeller Brewing, lemon meringue pie sour). “We have a little more time to experiment and do research on styles and we can say ‘OK, I wanna make a cookie beer’. We have a really fun working relationship on the production side we can riff off each other. We’re having a lot of fun at work.”

The season’s final Breakwater hit the shelves at both North locations last week, get it while it’s...chilly.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sourwood Cider's north end plans

A retail shop and tap room is headed for Cornwallis Street in 2019

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 4:54 PM

After a successful summer of piquing interest and tastebuds, the founders of Sourwood Cider are levelling up. The sometimes hard-to-track-down, funky-ass unfermented cider will have a place to hang out come early 2019 when it opens a retail shop and tasting room at 5576 Cornwallis Street—the former location of Octopi Computers.

“Over the last four months I got to test the market to see if people if anybody even liked what we were doing. We really got to experience what it was like to be in business and we turned heads because people didn’t know cider could be like this. Now I feel quite able to take bigger steps,” says Jake Foley, who launched Sourwood’s first ferments with his pal Kyle O’Rourke back in June.

The pair were operating out of a space on Almon Street, but have recently moved their production to a 1,700-square-foot space in Bayers Lake. “Yeah it’s not romantic but it’ll allow us to serve the demand for our funky cider,” says Foley. The plans for Cornwallis are still in the works, but he says it’ll be a “low-key” place for fans to buy Sourwood Cider to take home, sip on a pint, eat some food and maybe even hear some live, acoustic music. (He’s also dreaming of a bluegrass brunch.)

“We still have a lot of the coolest products to come. The whole time since May we’ve had some interesting ciders coming down the pipe,” promises Foley. While you await the construction of the north end space, you can find Sourwood by the can at Bishop’s Cellar (1477 Lower Water Street).
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

DRINK THIS: Meander River's Blueberry Cider

A crisp apple cider amped up with Annapolis Valley blueberries

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 9:46 AM


It’s been nearly a year since Ashdale’s little gem, Meander River Farm, expanded its brewhouse to make room for more cider and you can raise a glass of its latest one-off release—a tasty 5.5% blueberry cider—to celebrate. 

“With our expansion last year we were able to do more small lots with fresh ingredients from our farm or local ingredients,” says Meander River’s Campbell Bailey. “There was a great blueberry harvest in the province this year, despite some frost, and we were able to get berries from an Annapolis Valley farm.” Twenty pounds of blueberries went to work in this latest creation, a pale pink drink that Bailey calls dry and crisp and full of Nova Scotia-grown apples with “a little bit of that fleshy, inside of a warm berry on the palate.”

“We’re not re-inventing the wheel, but we’re adding things that make sense to us,” she adds, shouting out other experiments like a recent rose petal cider and coming soon lavender and honey infused Lavendula. They’ve also got some blackberries ready to go.

Bailey says the brewery is planning for a big year ahead, building barrel-ageing into its program and using its bronze medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards (for its experimental smoky chipotle porter) as inspiration to keep pushing boundaries.

“It’s been a crazy busy summer, it’s so nice to see how many people you get through the door in the summer,” she says. The farm will likely be just as busy with visitors straight through to Christmas. “It’s great to see that people still want that authentic experience.”
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Rinaldo brothers bring tacos to
Gus' Pub

Taco Lina's will fill the void left by Vandal Doughtnuts

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 1:31 PM


The powdered sugar has barely settled on the departure of Vandal Doughnuts from Gus’ Pub & Grill (don’t start crying just yet, it's re-opening at 2300 Gottingen Street, in the Velo Apartments building) and the buzz of a new tenant has already begun.

With flour tortillas on the brain Sam and Tony Rinaldo (of T-Dogs and Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties fame) are scheming up their next project—Taco Lina’s, a little snackery named for Sam’s daughter.

“We did a taco pop up at Good Robot about a year ago and it’s just something we love to eat and love to make,” says Tony of the plan. Lina’s will focus on their house-made flour tortillas—but will offer corn as an option, too, gluten-free friends—and serve up tacos al pastor, Baja fish tacos, veggie and vegan options and offal-inspired creations, spotlighting ingredients like beef tongue and sweet breads. Nachos, jalapeno poppers (think Rinaldo’s mozza sticks and then some) and queso cheese dip will make appearances as well.

“We had the opportunity to take over the spot we were racking brains—and tacos just seemed to be a good fit.” Tony hopes the Gus’ vibe will complement he and his brother’s vision, Taco Lina’s aims to open in late October. 
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

“Beer is supposed to bring us together”

Revered beer and travel author Stephen Beaumont hosts a story-filled tasting at Stillwell this weekend.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 4:00 AM


Guided beer tastings with Stephen Beaumont
Sunday, September 30
Stillwell, 1672 Barrington Street

It's the middle of winter in Finland, and Stephen Beaumont steps out from a sauna room a few hundred kilometres north of Helsinki. He sits down to try some fresh sahti beer, a traditional brew indigenous to the country. In the company of a Finnish brewer and a fellow travel writer, Beaumont sips sahti from a communal wooden drinking pale. After a few cycles of this routine, (beer, sauna, beer, sauna), the group musters its bravery: They venture outside into the snow and dip into a frozen lake.

This is just one of 101 beer experiences Beaumont writes about in his new book, Will Travel for Beer. The sahti story sticks out to him as a favourite.

"It's one of these remarkable things where you could drink that beer, you could go a sauna, but to do both things together and to make that combination...that's the key," says Beaumont of his experience.  

Beaumont began writing about beer as a columnist for the Toronto Star, and since has published, or co-published, 13 books throughout his 28 years in the field. The author released Will Travel for Beer in May. He says his latest book is one that's been "a long time coming," as it chronicles all his years of research.

"I literally woke up one morning with the title in my head," he remembers. After receiving an enthusiastic response from his editor, it was up to Beaumont to sift through his extensive travel memories and choose the best ones to share on paper.

"For me, this book is not about ticking off breweries. It's about going to places where the beer, and the atmosphere and the experience all combine into something truly remarkable," he says. "I think we're losing that in beer. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this book."

Beaumont thinks of beer as a way to unite people. But he fears this may be changing.

"We spend so much of our time now looking at screens, looking at our laptops, looking at our iPads. Beer is supposed to bring us together," he says. "One of the great things that beer does is it gets you out of the house, away from your screen, into a bar where you can really communicate and interact with other people...and that's kind of becoming a lost art."

You can hear some of Beaumont's stories and buy his book on September 30 at Stillwell's guided beer tasting event, the author's second time leading a beer tasting at the bar, due to the popularity of last year's event,

"It's all about helping people expand their horizons in beer," he says.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

DRINK THIS: Luckett Vineyards' Ortega

The 2017 Ortega, tastes very Gaspereau Valley with a hint of Italy.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:24 PM

  • Jessica Emin
Sometimes, while everyone else is flocking to the newest wine creations, a classic is quietly released to those waiting in the wings for something like Luckett Vineyards’s 2017 Ortega ($24).

Ortega, an aromatic white grape of the vitis vinifera species, native to Europe, is also moderately hardy, surviving to about -25° C. Winemaker Mike Mainguy of Luckett Vineyards turned heads with his 2011 Ortega, one of the first grape wines made at the vineyard—which, in its early days, produced mainly fruit wine from estate-grown blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches and plums.

The 2017 Ortega is a gorgeous expression of the grape and its place in the Gaspereau Valley: It is structured of course, by Nova Scotian acidity, and so, so nicely filled out by aromas of ripe peaches and lime and the richness that fermented fruit offers to the tongue. A note of haystack makes this Ortega reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc and while Mainguy’s 2011 Ortega was Germanic in style, his 2017 rendition gives a satisfying bitter bite that could be almost Italian. Nova Scotian wine is great with food, but this is a bottle to enjoy on its own. Or with a second bottle of the same.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Um, QUESTLOVE is coming to Devour

See you in Wolfville

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 2:17 PM

Today Devour! A Food Film Festival announced that it'll be bringing Questlove—you know, The Roots' co-founder, Grammy-winner, Tonight Show musical director, James Beard Award-nominated author, overall cool human—to the glorious Annapolis Valley as part of this year's event. If you didn't know, he's very into food and food politics.

The eighth annual Devour! will sit the Something To Food About author down with comedian/CBC personality Ali Hassan (who's also co-hosting the fest) for a conversation about "food issues, culinary creativity and his infamous Food Salons" and then a book signing.

This all goes down Saturday, October 27 at 3pm at Wolfville's Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street). Tickets are somehow just $25 and available here.

Questlove's Food Salon Featuring Kristen Kish, Edouardo Jordan, Andy Ricker, Jen Yee from Questlove's Food Salon on Vimeo.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Dilly Dally's Carrot Spice Latte

Pouring up a mug full of fall

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 4:00 AM

  • Lenny Mullins

“There’s just this biological thing, you feel a little crispness overnight and it’s like, ‘I need something a little soothing, a warm hug. It’s like our version of hygge or something,” says Laura Draeger of the tendency to usher in autumn (sometimes prematurely) with a little bit of nutmeg. Or, you know, pumpkin spice season.
The owner of Dilly Dally Eats says her staff made a choice to pass on the PSL in the first fall the cafe was open, but still wanted to cater to the sweet drink crowd. “We got together and were like, what gets us excited about fall?”

Among the ideas bounced around by the baristas, pastry chef and kitchen staff were carrots, and more importantly carrot cake. “So we busted out my juicer. The idea was basically to bottle carrot cake.” Out of that came the now beloved (and served all year round) Carrot Spice Latte. With fresh carrot juice, cinnamon, nutmeg—that traditional seasonal spicing—Dilly Dally’s baristas have perfected the syrup that makes the CSL special—Draeger calls the drink a total team effort. “That’s the thing with this drink, and everything we do at Dilly Dally, it’s real food.”
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Waffle Love re-opens on Friday Saturday

Pierogies and waffles are back in action

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 4:40 PM

  • via Facebook
When Waffle Love turned off its iron last October, it wasn’t because it wanted to. The sale of its Hydrostone building left the business owners locationless—until now.

“I think we saw every retail space in Halifax,” says co-owner Ania Benko. This Friday Saturday (there were some technical issues) she and Matt Webb will re-open their sweet little restaurant at 2082 Gottingen Street (next door to Field Guide) at 9am.

“Food has always been a big thing for me and my siblings, we’d sneak out to fast food places without my parents knowing. They were really old-fashioned,” says Benko of why she got into the restaurant world. The second iteration of Waffle Love will be a little bigger and a little more modern, offering an expanded selection of pierogies—which Benko’s been making “since I was born”—and the same waffle menu you fell for at the old location. 
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In Print This Week

Vol 26, No 29
December 13, 2018

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