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Trick or wheat 

Thanksgiving kicks off beer season, with Halifax micros brewing up a cauldron of tasty ales this fall.

Don’t drink it all at once, but do drink it.
  • Don’t drink it all at once, but do drink it.

Fall is my favourite time of year for many reasons: the crisp, autumn air, the urge---without the necessity---to hibernate, pumpkin-flavoured everything and beer. As far as I'm concerned, the encroaching darkness of this spooky season should be reflected in your pint glass as well.

You may well know that Halifax is blessed with a bevy of scrumptious microbreweries for the imbibing locavore, but fall is truly their time to shine.

Last week Propeller released the biggest ever batch of its annual Pumpkin Ale (yes, it's brewed with giant Atlantic pumpkins) both on tap and in six-packs, while Garrison's award-winning, locally sourced wet-hopped 3 Fields Harvest Ale was released in 500ml bottles. Whether your preference is medium and spicy or floral and hoppy, both beers boast knockout sales each year, so be sure to do your brown-bag grocery shopping ASAP.

As exciting as it is to return to the tried and true, it will be a treat to see some new (and long-lost) faces at the keg party this year. Propeller's inaugural Nocturne Dark Lager, also released last week, is a dunkel from which $1.50 of each bottle sold will go toward Nocturne on October 13. Talk about supporting the dark arts.

As far as ales from the crypt go, Garrison's Harvest Wheat ale, an unfiltered fall favourite of the past, has re-emerged from the brewmaster's vault, making its triumphant and tasty return to the shelves for the first time in several years. Although unavailable in bottles, it is on tap for sampling or growler fills for a limited time---probably until about five minutes ago.

If you're on the prowl for growler goodies, you'll be pleased to know that the rules have recently changed for Halifax brewpubs. As a result, exclusive growlers are now available from Rockbottom ($8 deposit, $13-$14 to fill) and Rogues Roost ($8 deposit, $11.95 fill), and should be added to your already staggering collection.

Although Rockbottom has instituted a system that requires growlers be ordered a day ahead of time, the hours and central locations of these two micro hotspots mean that if you're hankering for some local suds just before midnight, you won't have to cry yourself to sleep.

Rogues' seasonals currently include Kölsch, a straw-yellow, German-style lager (how festive!) and Porter, for those cool fall nights.

According to Halifax's resident hop man, Greg Nash, brewmaster at Hart & Thistle and Rockbottom, this has been a particularly great season for organic beer.

"This year's harvest is running perhaps a week or so ahead of previous years," he says, "with all the fabulous weather we've had which is great we get to enjoy the harvest that much sooner!"

At H&T he released a Fresh-O Harvest IPA, a wet-hopped brew with fresh Cascade hops that features a light floral aroma, heavy carbonation, and a refreshing bite. Looking toward the winter months, he has also has the Sweet Baby Jesus Smoked Porter on tap. At Rockbottom, Nash released a Saison Harvest ale, a spicy, wet-hopped brew featuring three varieties of local hops.

Now it's time to stop reading and start drinking, so pound the pavement, tip your glass and let the local booze bounty pour in.

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