Wednesday, February 13, 2019

DRINK THIS: Windmill Craft Cocktails' Winter Blues

Propeller collaborates with bartender Shane Beehan on a new cocktail in a can.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:29 PM


Propeller Brewing Co.
is fighting the winter blahs with Winter Blues, the first in a new line of canned cocktails. The veteran brewer teamed up with lauded local bartender Shane Beehan for the debut in its Windmill Craft Cocktails series, which officially launched last Friday. Beehan, who currently mixes drinks at Lot Six, has been a fan of Propeller’s beer for years, so he was thrilled to help his favourite brewery come up with something new.

For Winter Blues, Beehan was largely inspired by “tiki bar culture,” which dates back to the ’30s and ’40s.

“The idea was that it brought the tropics to you—it offered you this exotic experience wherever you are,” says Beehan. “That was kind of what our driving force was.”

The result is a rum-based beverage featuring falernum: a Caribbean syrup with flavours of toasted almonds, warming spices, lime and ginger. “For me personally, in the bar world, it’s one of the most unique flavours you’ll ever come across,” says Beehan. The bright blue-green colour is a pretty unique look, too.

Winter Blues is a limited-edition cocktail only available at the Propeller storefronts and private liquor stores. Propeller plans to turn out more Windmill Craft Cocktails, including both limited-edition and year-round offerings. Perfect Storm—a Propeller-made rum and ginger beer cocktail, released in late summer 2018—will be rebranded to fit into the line, with additional new releases to follow.

“The important thing as a bartender is you really care about your craft and you really care about getting your drinks in people’s hands,” says Beehan. “The ability to create a canned cocktail means that I’m able to offer a drink to anybody, anytime.”
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Garrison Brewing announces The Oxford Taproom

Quinpool Road's most beloved building gets a taste of local craft beer

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 3:35 PM

The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
  • The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
Over a year after the closure of the iconic Oxford Theatre on Quinpool Road, Garrison Brewing Company has announced the landmark is coming back to life. This spring, the longtime brewer will debut a brand-new retail shop and neighbourhood local, The Oxford Taproom in the former Elegant Touch Beauty Salon (6418 Quinpool Road).

"I’m a sucker for old buildings, hence the spot we have down here at Halifax Seaport," says Garrison's founder Brian Titus. "I drive by [The Oxford] twice a day at least. I stopped in to talk to the Nahas brothers because I knew it had been over a year since they’d taken over the Oxford without a plan, other than not wanting to knock it down. I kept going down Quinpool a couple times a day thinking, 'Why can’t a guy get a growler here?'"

The rest is soon to be history. Titus says work is underway on the new space, which will pay tribute to the building's 82-year history as a cinema. The Passport Photo space next door to the theatre (6414 Quinpool Road) will house a beer, merch and pop shop, while the Elegant Touch footprint will house a nano-brewery for experimentation, a small kitchen space and 16 taps pouring up beer and cider. While there'll be some snacks available at the taproom, the Garrison team aims to host pop-up food events and will encourage patrons to order-in from surrounding Quinpool restaurants.

"It's the idea of a local. A social spot for people to walk two, three or four blocks to sit and have a pint and carry on," says Titus. The new Oxford will also boast an outdoor terrace space—dog-friendly with full sun exposure, tucked away from the busy street. "It’ll live and operate like the Seaport location," he adds.

Garrison will take over about 30 percent of the Oxford footprint, meaning there's theatre space still up for grabs. Titus teases that there could be news of another tenant coming very soon.

"Ultimately, if there hadn’t have been a good fit the people that own it are developers. The easiest thing in the world would be to knock it down and it was literally the last thing they wanted to do," says Titus, who says it's been difficult trying to keep lips sealed about this project. "It’s been hard to sleep at night because it’s such a cool thing and it’s come together really quickly."
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Propeller Brewing's arcade fires up

The wizards at Propeller Brewing Co. debut a basement bar with a lineup of pinball machines and video games.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 1:50 AM

  • kylee nunn
Propeller Brewing Co. (2015 Gottingen Street) is providing some nostalgia to pair with your pint.

The brand new Propeller Arcade Room—complete with its own little bar—opens below the existing taproom this Thursday, January 31. There’s no cell phone reception in the basement which—in the spirit of escapism—may be a blessing in disguise for dates or folks trying to meet new people.
“You could bump into somebody and immediately become friends with them. That’s the vibe that these machines put off,” says Ian Matheson, a Propeller store clerk who’s also a classic game fan. He’s previously brought arcade games to the taproom on a temporary basis “Everyone definitely showed up, and when the machines went away people showed up asking where they were. The next step was this.”

Matheson owns multiple pinball and other game machines. He purchased many of them after they’d fallen into disrepair and fixed them up back to working order. Not only did he champion the idea of an arcade at Propeller—he provided the bulk of the games from his own collection.

The current set-up is a slew of pinball machines: Iron Maiden, Guardians of the Galaxy and Skateball-themed games light up the room. Other options like Space Invaders (Matheson’s personal favourite), Hit The Ice and Big Buck Safari are also part of the mix. The arcade will be open Thursday through Sunday nights.
“Nostalgia is a huge escape from the nine-to-five life that can be a little overpowering sometimes,” says Matheson. The games aren’t the only throwback, either—the room used to be part of Gottingen Street’s old Wormwood’s Dog and Monkey Cinema.

“The concept of putting an arcade next to a brewery that used to be a movie theatre on Gottingen Street is just way too perfect.”
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Doughnut worry, be happy: Vandal is back

The 244 gang and Vandal Doughnuts team up for a holey-er than thou reboot

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 11:18 AM

Guess who's back, back again - SUBMITTED
  • Guess who's back, back again
  • submitted

"We learned sometimes not-so-nice things happen to change the course of where you’re supposed to be,” says Nicole Tufts, co-owner of Vandal Doughnuts, of the whirlwind last few months. Back in the fall she and Sonia Mota announced they’d be moving their fried-dough biz out of its incredibly popular Gus’ Pub location and down to Gottingen Street. Then they announced they weren’t—after Tufts had a health scare it was in their best interest to sell Vandal instead. People freaked out, imagining their stomaches (and Instagram feeds) without regular doses of doughnuts.

“It got overwhelming. You want to put your personal well-being ahead of everything else. But after meeting these guys, we realized maybe it was just a matter of asking for help. Now we’re going start fresh with more hands, 24 staff and already-wicked north end business owners who get it.”

Ezra Edelstein, Frédéric Tandy and Jens Heidenreich are the “guys” she’s talking about; the trio behind Gottingen and Cornwallis’ The 244 will be teaming up with Tufts, Mota and their crew to bring Vandal back to life at 2150 Gottingen Street.

“As soon as we sat down with the crew from The 244 we got a fire in our bellies,” says Mota. “It’s been more of a personal development year for us. It feels good to be back—now that we have more help, we just get to be our naughty selves.”
The pair says you can expect “the same old Vandal” with the addition of all-day breakfast and two tills, for speedier service. They’ll also be completely revamping the location’s look, Tufts says. “It’ll be the first time we have control of our own space. It’ll be totally Vandal.”

The new-and-improved team will open the shop February 10, just before Valentine’s Day—the perfect timing to share the love with all of Vandal’s adoring and supportive fans who’ve been in touch with them over this transition period. And the wacky ideas are already flowing, Mota says. “Last year’s creations really motivated us to one-up ourselves.”
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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New year, new Ristorante aMano

Posted By on Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 5:59 PM

  • ian selig

Our readers’ choice for Best Pasta and Best Italian food is going into hibernation for a quick minute. Bertossi Group fave Ristorante aMano (1475 Lower Water Street) rung in the new year by kicking off a renovation of its longtime Bishop’s Landing space, expanding its square footage and re-vamping the decor from floor to ceiling. The pasta maker will be on pause from now until February 19, that’s when aMano debuts its new look, and its fancy new Italian pizza oven.
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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

  • submitted

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

View this post on Instagram

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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Vol 26, No 38
February 14, 2019

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