Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer | Hot Summer Guide | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Stillwell's Kempt Road brewery offers three beers on tap—including a cream ale.

Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer

If beer is what you’re after, the city’s north end delivers—and then some. Here’s The Coast’s unofficial guide, from IPAs to sours and everything in between.

Picture this: It’s a postcard-worthy summer afternoon in Halifax, and you’re somewhere on the thirst scale between “gee, a flight would be nice right now” and “a pitcher sounds more like it.” Maybe you’ve spent the morning at the Common, hopping between marathon Spikeball sessions. Perhaps you’ve returned sunburned from the beach and need something to cool you down. If beer is your thing, Halifax has no shortage of riches to offer—and there may be no better place for a self-guided crawl than the city’s north end, where a century of Maritime brewing history meets with a new wave of craft connoisseurs.

Get your sandals and sunglasses on: The Coast presents its guide to Halifax’s north end breweries you can’t miss.

The history

You know that freshly-baked bread aroma in the Hydrostone? The smell of barley and malt has wafted through Halifax’s north end since the ebb of the 1800s. At the time, Highland Spring brewed and bottled its wares at the corner of Agricola and Russell streets. It became Oland and Son Limited by 1914. The brewery has stood there ever since.

And while Oland Brewery itself might feel a world removed from the plucky craft brewers of today, its presence—along with Alexander Keith’s near the waterfront—gave Halifax its name as a beer city—or malt mecca, if you will. The city hasn’t looked back.

2 Crows Brewing Co. (1932 Brunswick Street)

It’s been six years in business and counting for this funky Brunswick Street operation. The brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Mark and Kelly Huizink and friend Jeremy Taylor has carved out a reputation for bold flavours—think mango, coconut and vanilla sours—and sleek branding. The lofty-ceilinged taproom shares space with tall fermenters that plunk you right into the thick of the brewing process.

“We want it to not just feel like a bar, but that you’re in a brewery drinking right out of the tanks,” Kelly told The Coast when the brewery opened in 2017.

Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Mark Huizink, Jeremy Taylor and Kelly Huizink are pumped to bring you 2 Crows Brewing.

There’s substance to go along with the style: Since its opening, 2 Crows has raked in its fair share of Canadian Brewing Awards, from best barrel-aged strong beer to best Belgian-style saison. (Credit that to head brewer Taylor, who learned the craft of distilling in Scotland.)

Sunday-Thursday: noon-10pm
Friday-Saturday: noon-11pm

Propeller Brewing Company (2015 Gottingen Street)

A perennial winner of The Coast’s reader-selected Best of Halifax award for Best Microbrewery throughout the aughts, Propeller remains a veritable Halifax institution: As Haligonian as the Old Town Clock or spilling donair sauce on your T-shirt. First opened on Gottingen Street in 1997, it’s the oldest craft brewery in the city. Founder John Allen got his start after switching careers from building film sets as a prop master.

click to enlarge Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Martin Bauman / The Coast
Propeller Brewing Co. offers a range of year-round staples and seasonal favourites.

Today, with three Halifax locations and a full-blown arcade to boot, it’s as reliable a venue as they come for tasty beer and a fun place to hang. On Gottingen Street, you’re liable to find B-movie horror flicks and kung-fu films on as steady a rotation as the beer Propeller brews. And this summer on Gottingen Street, they’re kicking things up a notch: On Aug. 12 and 13, the brewery is taking over its rear parking lot for a weekend of wrestling and film screenings.

“It’s going to be a steel cage match for the championship,” Propeller Arcade’s manager, Ian Matheson, tells The Coast. He promises “some special guests” will be taking part in the Saturday event. On Sunday of that weekend, Propeller is hosting an outdoor screening of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, complete with pop-up shops, food trucks and door prizes.


Monday-Tuesday: noon-8pm
Wednesday-Thursday: noon-10pm
Friday-Saturday: noon-midnight
Sunday: noon-10pm


Wednesday-Thursday: 4pm-10pm
Friday-Saturday: 4pm-midnight
Sunday: 4pm-10pm

Tusket Falls Beer Project (2220 Gottingen Street)

Tusket is a newer entrant in the Halifax scene: After starting on the South Shore in 2017, co-owners Melanie Sweeney and Jeff Raynard set up shop in Halifax’s north end toward the end of 2021. At their Gottingen Street taproom, you’ll find beers ranging from American-style porters to hazy IPAs and fruity sours. (Tusket’s “While You’re Waiting” is a surprisingly crushable peach mint sour with lactose.)

click to enlarge Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
The Coast
Melanie Sweeney and husband Jeff are both originally from the South Shore.

Born and raised near Tusket (pop. 395), Raynard came to the world of homebrewing while repairing homes from floods and fire in the Prairies. (“It was one of those jobs that was good money-wise but one that drains your soul, especially when it got to the management side of things,” he told Brewers Journal.) He and Sweeney had long dreamt of moving back to Nova Scotia. They bought a home in Gavelton, then opened a brewery two minutes down the road. It took off.

In Halifax, the Tusket Falls Beer Project has a slightly sleeker vibe than the rural Tusket original, which goes for more of a Maritime-farmhouse-meets-Irish-pub feel. While the bulk of the beer is still brewed on the South Shore, the north end site brews in small batches—which allows the team to get more experimental with its offerings. Plus, there’s birria tacos, chicken tenders and smash burgers on the menu.


Sunday-Wednesday: noon-10pm
Thursday: noon-11pm
Friday-Saturday: noon-midnight

Unfiltered Brewing (6041 North Street)

If hops are what you’re after, then Unfiltered Brewing is a must-stop. It’s been a fixture of North Street since 2015: The creation of longtime Nova Scotia brewmaster Greg Nash—a man whose name is more or less synonymous with strong beer—and professional photographer Andrew Murphy.

Though the taproom space is smaller than others at just 800 square feet, Unfiltered’s beers are anything but that: Expect double IPAs, 7% Helles Bocks and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude that isn’t apologetic about the way beer ought to be brewed.

“A lot of craft breweries filter their beer, and they are of the belief that it makes better beer, it makes cleaner beer,” Nash told The Coast in 2015, “and to me, it’s an unnatural process that’s not required. I want my beer raw; I want people to have it in the raw.”

Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Nash’s Unfiltered brings “a lot of fuckin’ hops” to Halifax.


Tuesday-Thursday: 4pm-midnight
Friday-Saturday: noon-midnight
Sunday: noon-10pm

Good Robot Brewing Co. (2736 Robie Street)

You can’t have a conversation about Halifax’s craft beer scene without mentioning Good Robot. Winner of more than its share of The Coast’s Best of Halifax Reader’s Choice awards, the quirky Robie Street brewery started in 2015 as a way for the co-founders—friends and former university roommates Angus Campbell, Doug Kehoe and Josh Counsil—to spend more quality time together. Mission accomplished. In eight years, it has grown from an astroturf-patioed summer favourite into a regular host of comedy nights, then a full-fledged beer garden and headquarters in Elmsdale, and now a soon-to-open space across from the Halifax Common.

click to enlarge Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Since Good Robot first opened on Robie Street, the north end Halifax brewery has opened an Elmsdale location and now plans to open a third site on North Park Street.

Beer and political-mindedness are never far apart at Good Robot: During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brewery offered $2.75 pints to anyone who’d been vaccinated. Earlier in May, Good Robot partnered on a beer with the Ecology Action Centre to support the non-profit’s efforts. Mostly, though, you can count on Good Robot for inventive beers and laid-back vibes.

If you’re looking for a beer recommendation, Good Robot’s Lindsey Davidson suggests the Diablo: “A lot of folks describe it as kind of like drinking nachos.” Consider yourself warned.


Monday-Tuesday: noon-10pm
Wednesday-Thursday: noon-11pm
Friday: noon-1am
Saturday: 10am-1am
Sunday: 10am-10pm

Boxing Rock Brewing Co. (2790 Windsor Street)

What started out of Shelburne more than a decade ago with two chemical engineers and a shared love of beer and community expanded to Halifax’s Windsor Street in 2018. It’s become a north end staple. Founded by Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton, Boxing Rock Brewing Co.’s test kitchen and nanobrewery is sort of like the fun science lab adjacent to the big operation: There’s free reign to experiment with recipes in small batches.

click to enlarge Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Photo: Martin Bauman / The Coast
Linnea Swinimer manages the taproom of Boxing Rock Brewing Co.'s Windsor Street location.

The patio space is small, but worth a stop if you’re in the neighbourhood—and just a short stroll away from Good Robot.


Tuesday-Thursday: 4pm-7pm
Friday-Sunday: noon-7pm

Stillwell Brewing Co. (3670 Kempt Road)

This one’s a bit of a longer walk from the rest. But if you’re in the northernmost end of the peninsula, you won’t regret stopping in at Stillwell’s brand new taproom—which opened earlier this June.

Based out of the former Easter Seals building on Kempt Road, the trio behind Barrington Street craft beer bar Stillwell have launched a “listening bar” in the front of their brewery operation. Picture a barroom for audiophiles: Vinyl records abound. The brewery is building out its lineup of guest DJs to take over the turntables. Co-owner Chris Reynolds even commissioned a friend to build a custom set of horn-loaded hi-fi speakers for the venue.

“It kind of kicks ass,” he tells The Coast. “You can feel it in your chest, and in your body. There’s a lot of sub-bass reinforcement, but you’re able to have a conversation and walk away without your ears hurting.”

click to enlarge Take a self-guided walking tour of Halifax’s craft breweries this summer
Martin Bauman / The Coast
Stillwell co-founder and brewer Chris Reynolds is serious about sound—he's commissioned a custom hi-fi sound system for the brewery's newest taproom, which he describes as a "listening bar."

You won’t find as many beers on offer at Stillwell’s taproom as you might elsewhere—the brewery has three taps, featuring its pilsner, a cream ale and an English-style pale ale—but that’s part of the point, Reynolds says.

“We won’t be putting out new releases every week or every month,” he adds, likening the taproom to the former craft beer pioneering Granite Brewery: “Just make a few beers as best as we can.”


Monday-Thursday: 10am-5pm
Friday: 10am-10pm
Saturday: 11am-10pm

—With files from Adam Fiske, Victoria Walton and Whitney Moran.

About The Author

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...
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Do you think we’ll get hit by another storm before hurricane season ends Nov 30?

Do you think we’ll get hit by another storm before hurricane season ends Nov 30?