Cold temps bring out bring out the hops in business trip

June 21, 2017|

Every now and again something surprises me that really shouldn’t. The fact that I found myself in snow during the end of April was one of those things. Good thing I was in a town with the highest amount of pubs per capita in the world so I could duck out of it and have a pint. That town is Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It’s not easy to get to Nova Scotia from Augusta. The travel time is around 8-10 hours no matter how you spin it. So, making a weekend of it is no easy feat – notwithstanding changing planes at Logan (an airport with room for improvement). Nonetheless, I happily accepted an invitation to travel to Maritime Canada to deliver two lectures on glaucoma, and I happily accepted a pint or two afterwards.

There are some brews more than worth mentioning if you get up that way. I’ve been fortunate to lecture in Halifax before, and I’ve detailed two of my favorites below.

Tims Dirty

This American IPA from Nova Scotia’s Big Spruce Brewing (there are some big spruces up that way) has a significant aroma that moves you from toffee to earth to evergreen in an instant. The taste is much the same, with the dry hops winning out in the end. At just over 6 percent ABV, this local IPA has a robust and bold way about it, but it also manages to maintain a good drinkability – well done, Big Spruce. Try it with clam chowder with a side of sausage. I did, and it warmed me up nicely.

Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout

  1. So, I really enjoyed Big Spruce Brewing. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I gave a new look (and taste) at a craft of beer I haven’t enjoyed in quite a while – probably because we didn’t exactly have an oatmeal stout/tweed coat winter here in Augusta. But I digress … In the nose and taste of this dark pour with a cappuccino head to match you’ll find, amongst other quality attributes, three main aspects: strong hints of coffee, a chocolate undertone throughout and a tinge of hops that does well to cleanse the tongue in time for a bite of a Prince Edward Island beef short rib meatball (which complements quite well). There is a sense of drinkability to this brew that sets it apart from chewier oatmeal stout ales, and I dare say I’d like to try one again even when it’s not so cold out.

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