What to Try: Season 4

Jeremy Novak, Where It’s At Tours

Each year it’s a tough task, but here are some more local libation recommendations!

Millstone Harvest Brewhouse
Here’s a local term to learn: estate brewery. Just west of Canning, Millstone Harvest Brewhouse is surrounded by a lush acreage on which they grow most of their malting barley, some hops, and various fruit inputs. This allows them to produce uniquely Nova Scotian, farm-to-table craft beers. They’re Nova Scotia’s first estate brewery. The other weekend I brought six guests to Millstone Harvest where, despite their busyness, they still took the time to explain their offerings whilst preparing colourful taster flights. They produce both beers and ciders, but the consensus pick from the group was their Blueberry Pail Ale. Local, tasty, full of antioxidants…and good for what ales ya!!

Bent Nail Brewery
For various reasons, many local producers close their doors to the public during the winter months, but not Bent Nail Brewery. Situated conveniently in the foothills of Ski Martok, this brewery and winery puts a little pep into those last few downhill runs. The après-ski El Diablo Mi Amigo hot pizza perfectly pairs with their Fire Log Winter Ale. Ask for this amber with a slice of orange. Ski Martok’s last scheduled day is Sunday, March 27, but Bent Nail Brewery & Bent Ridge Winery are open year-round.

Beausoleil Farmstead Cidery and Vineyard
Here’s another local libation term to learn: vinous cider. By blending their cool climate wines with their natural acidity and tannins into highly aromatic apple ciders, Beausoleil create something that is uniquely Nova Scotian and superbly balanced. Co-owner and head winemaker Melanie Eelman has established a portfolio of six to seven vinous ciders, with small lot wines being added soon starting with a white blend, then a rosé later in the spring. The best way to try them is by booking a private tasting experience or pop in on Saturday afternoon for a tasting flight. As for my choice, go with the Mimosa. They infused their chardonnay with fresh navel oranges for those vibrant citrus notes, blended it with crisp Annapolis Valley cider, and sparkled it to a bright effervescence.

1365 Church Street Vineyards & Winery
The 0.6km Church Street stroll from Beausoleil ends at 1365 Church Street Vineyards & Winery (in between lies the impressive new side-deck of Planters Ridge Winery where the Quintessence Red continues to be one of my personal favs). 1365 Church Street is another memorable newcomer to the local wine scene. John is the host with the most with many stories, fresh local bread, and cheese! I showed up the other day while not on duty to finally experience the wine flights my guests have been raving about. Our favourite white was the crowd-pleasing Eight Bikes, while Petit Pearl, the only red varietal grown on the property, was our favourite red, but we also bought the rosé! You need to check them out for yourselves.