Complete Nova Scotia Craft Beer Guide

Sealevel Brewing Craft Beer Sampler NS

Updated June 16, 2016. More updates to come!

The complete Nova Scotia Craft Beer Guide! Discover Nova Scotia breweries and brewpubs, find great craft beer bars, bottle shops, and tours, and discover soon-to-open craft breweries.

The list below is divided by region and includes website and social media links (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) to each brewery if you want to learn even more. We update this guide a few times a year. If you know of a craft brewery we’re missing, we’d love your help keeping this guide up-to-date!

Halifax and Dartmouth Breweries and Brewpubs:

Garrison Brewery - Taste Halifax Craft Beer Bus

Garrison Brewing Company
1149 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS
Garrison opened their doors in 1997. Their very first beer was an Irish Red, a beer that they still brew and sell today. They have a strong presence in Nova Scotia and a loyal fan base. It is what introduced me to craft beer, a story we often hear repeated among locals. Everything brewed at Garrison is made without preservatives. They boast the largest line-up of seasonal, special and collaboration beer, and pride themselves on using only the finest natural ingredients.

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Samples: Yes ($)
Food: No
Bottles are also available.
Bus Routes: 14, 41, 9, 20

(T) @GarrisonBrewing / (F) Garrison Brewing

Rockbottom Brewpub
5686 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS
Good craft beer in a great atmosphere. Rockbottom is a great place to settle in for a few hours with friends. There are right in the heart of downtown Halifax with big comfy booths and a quiet-er atmosphere perfect for catching up. In fact, it’s one of our favourite places to meet with our fellow Halifax Bloggers! Beer is brewed on-site by Jake Saunders. The best day to visit is Wednesday to take in the firkin, a small batch of experimental craft beer. There is a different batch launched each week, with only 50 glasses available!

Growlers: 2L
Samples: Yes ($)
Food: Yes
Bus Routes: 1, 14, 20

(T) @Rockbotmbrewpub  / (F) RockbottombrewpubRestaurant

Gahan Halifax - Taste Halifax Craft Beer Bus

Gahan House Harbourfront
1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS
Gahan House originated in Prince Edward Island in 1997 as the Murphy Brewing Company, later re-locating and re-opening as Gahan Brewpub in 2000. It is owned by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company in Charlottetown. They opened their first Halifax location in 2015, where they serve the broader PEI Brewing Company line-up along with a rotating selection brewed right on-site. Pair your beer with an assortment of pub fare, pasta dishes, and grilled meats, or with the famed PEI Mapleque Oysters.

Growlers: 2L
Samples: Yes ($)
Food: Yes
Bus Routes: 6, 4, 20

(T) @GahanHalifax / (F) Gahan House – Halifax / (I) @Gahan.Halifax

The Auction House Halifax Nova Scotia

The Auction House
1726 Argyle Street. Halifax, NS
The Auction House started as a restaurant with a large line-up of local and Canadian craft beer. In late 2015 they set up their own tanks and now brew a rotating seasonal selection guests can enjoy on-site. Join them for a glass, and take in an auction – the restaurant hosts nightly drink and food auctions with proceeds going to community groups and charities.

Growlers: No
Sample Trays:
Food: Yes
Bus Routes: 14, 20, 9, 6

(T) @AuctionHouseHFX / (F) The Auction House

2Crows Brewing Company – Coming Soon
Brunswick St, Halifax, NS
This new brewery hopes to open in downtown Halifax in the fall of 2016. Follow their progress using their social accounts (below).

(T) @2CrowsBrewing (I) @2CrowsBrewing

Propeller Brewing Company
2015 Gottingen Street, Halifax, NS
Propeller Beer is the top selling brewery in Nova Scotia. From their widely appealing Honey Brown and Pilsner to their stronger Double IPA and Revolution Russian Imperial Stout, they have a beer for every taste. In October, they brew a special beer called Nocturn Dark, in celebration of the popular Halifax festival Nocturn Art By Night. Stop by their Gottingen street brewery to take a tour or pick up a refillable growler. If you aren’t into beer, Propeller also makes root beer and ginger soda

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Samples: Yes
Food: No
Bus Routes: 14, 20, 4, 6
Bottles are also available.

(T) @PropellerBeer / (F) Propeller Brewing Company

North Brewing Company
2576 Agricola St. Halifax, NS
North Brewing Company (formerly Bridge Brewing) is a Belgian style craft brewery in Halifax’s North End. It was started by Peter Burbridge, a young entrepreneur and brewer. Their shop has a fun, community feel – in fact, all of their logos and design work were created by friends and neighbours in the North End. All beer is unfiltered, unpasteurized, preservative free and naturally carbonated, AND they’re working to become a zero-emissions brewery.

Growlers: 750ml/2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No
Bottles are also available.
Bus Routes: 80, 52, 4

(T) @NorthBrewing / (F) North Brewing Company

Unfiltered Brewing:
6041 North Street, Halifax, NS
I have not yet visited this Halifax brewery. There is an attached taproom called Charm School where you can dine and drink.

Good Robot Brewery Halifax

Good Robot Brewing Co
2736 Robie Street, Halifax, NS
The self-titled “most questionable” brewery in Halifax is home to some really unique craft beer. Our last visit included a corn beer and a beer brewed using wild yeast (definitely recommend). The tap room has a fun, relaxed vibe and they have dreamt up some pretty fun, funny events for the space, including a “silent reading night” and stand-up events. They serve their own beer alongside some rotating guest taps in their taproom

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: Yes
Bus Routes: 80, 2, 52, 4

(T) @GoodRobotBrew  /( F) Good Robot Brewing / (I) @GoodRobotBrew

Granite Brewery:
6054 Stairs Street, Halifax, NS
Granite is Nova Scotia’s longest running brewery. What started as a brewpub in 1985 has grown steadily over the years, eventually finding a permanent home in Halifax’s North End. Granite focuses on traditional, well-balanced English ales, although they occasionally experiment with seasonal ales. Their beer is available on tap throughout the city, but if we aren’t stopping into Granite’s brewery for a growler we like to grab a pint at The Henry House, their former long-time brewpub location.

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No
Bus Routes: 7, 80, 42, 9

(F) Granite Brewery 

Bright wood Brewery
Dartmouth, NS
We’ve yet to try this new Dartmouth nano brewery. Find them on Saturday mornings at the fantastic Alderney Farmers’ Market. They’re also regularly on-tap at Battery Beer Bar.

(T) @BrightwoodBeer / (F) Brightwood Brewery

Nine Locks Brewing Company Dartmouth

Nine Locks Brewing
219 Waverly Road, Dartmouth, NS
We’re loving this new brewery in Dartmouth. The name is a throw to the original nine locks built in the historic Shubenacadie Canal, which is located nearby. The shop has a bit of a summer boat house feel. We especially like their ESB, with a bitterness balanced with malty, toasty flavours. Their brewery is open to the public. Stop in for a sample and to purchase a growler or cans.

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Samples: Yes
Food: ?
Bus Routes: 55

(T) @NineLocksBrew  / (F) NineLocksBrewingCo / (I) @NineLocksBrew

Spindrift Brewing:
21 Frazee Avenue, Dartmouth, NS
We’ve not yet been to Spindrift, but oh have we been enjoying their beer. Cans of their Coastal Lager are available at many NSLC locations . If you have a chance, head over to their brewery location. You can taste the beer on-site and grab a growler and fill.

Growlers: 2L / 19.5L Keg / 50L Keg
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: No
Bus Routes: 52 , 64

(T) @SpindriftBrew / (F) Spindrift Brewing Company / (I) @SpindriftBrew

Downeast Beer Company
612 Windmill Rd, Dartmouth, NS
A brand new restaurant and cold-beer store that is brewing on-site! They have a blonde, red, and IPA available for take-away in cans.

(T)  @DownEastBeer (F) DownEastBeerFactory (I) @downeastbeerfactory

Annapolis Valley Breweries & Brewpubs:

Meander River Brewing Company

Meander River Farm and Brewery 
906 Woodville Road , Ashdale, NS
Meander River makes craft beer and cider on their long-time family farm using hops grown on-site. Continuing the farm philosophy of sustainability and environmental responsibility, Meander uses their spent grain as compost and feed, and excess water from the brewery for irrigation of their hops. They are the first Nova Scotia brewery to offer a community shared brewery program (A CSB – like a CSA, but with beer shares).

Growlers: 1L
Samples: Yes ($)
Food: No

(T) @MeanderRiver / (F) Meander River / (I) @MeanderRiver

Schoolhouse Brewery
Falmouth, NS 
Owner, brewer (and teacher) Cameron brews his beer in a fully restored schoolhouse that was originally built in 1860. Due to zoning, the brewery is not open to the public, but they offer a growler delivery service in Wolfville and Falmouth the first Thursday of each month. You’ll also find their beer at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market each Saturday and on tap at The Spitfire Pub (Windsor), The Library Pub (Wolfville), The Kings Arms Pub (Kentville), LeCaveau Restaurant (Grand Pre)

Growlers: 1L / 2L / Keg (20L & 30L)
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @SHBPrincipal / (F) Schoolhouse Brewery / (I) @SHBPrincipal

Sea Level Brewing
980 Terry’s Creek Rd, Port Williams, NS
Sea Level Brewing is a micro-brewery in Port Williams. Randy Lawrence, owner and brew master, opened Sea Level in 2007 after more than 20 years in the craft beer industry. In addition to the regular line-up, Sea Level makes various seasonals (probably better referred to as bi-monthly brews), so there is almost always something new to try. In addition to growlers, they can a range of their beer line-up.

Growlers: 1L
Samples: No
Food: No (but grab a beer & bite at The Port Pub, which is attached to the brewery)

(T) @SeaLevelBrewing / (F) Sea Level Brewing

Wayfarers’ Ale:
1116 Kars St, Port Williams, NS
Located across the parking lot from Sea Level Brewing, and around the corner from a local distillery, this little area of the valley is turning into quite the destination for travellers seeking local libations. Wayfarers’ Ale was born from a group of craft beer lovers in the valley who’d been developing their own line of beer recipes since 2012. They opened their brewery in 2016.  It’s a beautiful space overlooking the Cornwallis River with highly drinkable lagers and ales.

(I) @Wayfarers.ale.society  (F) Wayfarer’s Ale Society

paddys pub beer sampler craft beer NS

Paddys Irish Pub
460 Main Street, Wolfville, NS
Since 1995, Paddy’s has been brewing beer out of their pub in downtown Wolfville using the best domestic and imported malts, the finest hops available, and pure water. They also recently launched a take-home option, refillable growlers you can buy in the restaurant. Their beer is popular for locals and visitors alike, with more than 1 million pints sold since they started brewing!

Growlers: 2L
Samples: Yes  ($)
Food: Yes

(T) @PaddysBrew / (F) PaddysWolfville

Mosaic Brewing Company (Bad Apple Brewhouse)
Somerset, NS

Roof Hound
Roof Hound Brewing is coming soon to Hillgrove, Nova Scotia. Stay in the loop by following their social accounts below!

(T) @LeslierBarr (F) Roof Hound Brewing Co. (I) @RoofHound

Source: Lazy Bear Brewing Co.

Source: Lazy Bear Brewing Co.

Lazy Bear Brewing Company
Smiths Cove, NS
This new brewery is only available at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market (Saturdays) for now, but come mid-June they’ll open their retail and tasting area in Smiths Cove. You have got to head to their website and check out their brew system – a surplus, never used, physiotherapy tub that’s been re-worked to boil wort.

Growlers: 1L

(T) @LazyBearBrewing / (F) LazyBearBrewing / (I) @LazyBearBrewing

Cape Breton Island Breweries:

Big Spruce Brewing
64 Yankee Line Road, Baddeck, NS
Big Spruce Brewing, Nova Scotia’s first (and Canada’s second) certified organic on-farm brewery, opened in 2013. Their two flagship beer, Cereal Killer Stout and Kitchen Party Pale Ale are available in many bars and pubs across the province so if you can’t make it up to Cape Breton, chances are good you can still sample a glass. Their line-up of unfiltered, clean, bold tasting beer have consistently been some of our favourite in Nova Scotia.

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Samples: Yes
Food: Occasionally – Check their Facebook for food truck events

(T) @BigSpruceBrew / (F) Big Spruce Brewing / (I) @BigSpruceBrewing

Breton Brewing:
364 Keltic Drive, Sydney, NS
We’ve yet to visit Breton Brewing (a Cape Breton trip is long overdue!) but luckily for us, we’ve had the chance to purchase pints and fills of Breton Brewing in Halifax. Based on those tastes, we’re even more eager to get out to the brewery. It’s right in Sydney, so plan a multi-night trip and take in all the great food and entertainment the city has on offer.

Growlers: 2L
Samples: ?
Food: ?

(T) @BretonBrewing (F) Breton Brewing Co.  (I) @BretonBrewing

Eastern Shore Breweries:

Rare Bird Beer / Authentic Seacoast Company:
80 Main Street, Guysborough, NS
Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company is located in Guysborough, which is a little out of the way, but a really beautiful place for a little vacation. The town is home to a coffee roastery, a few bakeries, some historic homes, the historic and romantic DesBarres Manor Inn, and a beautiful waterside trail. Rare Bird Beer is brewed with water sourced right in the community, and we’re told that locals believe that this pure water is the secret to the longevity of the people living in the communities around Chedabucto Bay. Visit the brewery for a beer and a tour at the Rare Bird Pub.

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: Yes

(T) @RareBirdBeer / (F) Rare Bird Craft Beer / (I) @RareBirdBeer

Sober Island Brewing Company:
Now open! We love Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore and can’t wait to pay Sober Island a visit. They have a mobile craft beer truck equipped to fill crowlers (an on-demand canning system). Keep an eye on their social sites for events they’ll be attending this summer. We’ll update this space as soon as we visit but in the meantime, follow their updates and events on social media.

(T) @SoberIslandBrew / (F) Sober Island Brewing

North Shore Breweries & Brewpubs:

Tatamagouche Brewery Open

Tatamagouche Brewing Co.
235 Main St, Tatamagouche, NS

Jost is a name that has become inextricably linked to winemaking in Nova Scotia, but the Jost family has moved on to hoppier pastures. In 2014 they opened Tatabrew in a beautifully converted butcher shop.  I am especially in love with the North Shore Lager, it was one of two go-to beer last summer for me. It is one of three regular brews for Tata, alongside their Hippie Dippie Pale and Butchers Block Red but you’ll often find seasonals and special one-off brews available by growler or can. Oh, and check out the logo, a two-headed bull. It’s a shout out to the town,  you can find the skull of the rare two-headed bull in a nearby museum

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @TataBrew / (F) Tatamagouche Brewing Company / (I) @TataBrewCo

Karl Whiffen, Brewer at Uncle Leo's pouring the inaugural Beer

Karl Whiffen, owner at Uncle Leo’s pouring the inaugural Beer

Uncle Leo’s Brewery
2623 Hwy. 376, Lyon’s Brook, NS
Named one of 11 of the best new Canadian breweries by Huffington post (2013), Uncle Leo’s is the dream of Karl and Rebecca Whiffen. Karl grew up in Newfoundland, in a remote out port where his great-uncle Leo ran a general store. Leo provided the community with ales he brewed at his store, so this brewery is in part a tribute to him. All of Uncle Leo’s beers are brewed using fresh well water. They brew bold styles with lots of character like West Coast Style IPA and rich, chocolaty smoked porters. Available by the growler or by the bottle.

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @UncleLeosBrewer / (F) Uncle Leo’s Brewery

Nook and Cranny Brewpub Truro

The Nook and Cranny Brew Pub
627 Prince Street, Truro, NS
The Nook and Cranny started as a craft beer bar, but soon installed tanks and started brewing their own beer on-site. They have three regular brews and a rotating seasonal, and they still keep a line-up of guest taps on hand.  It’s a big space with booths made from converted car seats, a large bar area, and plenty of room for the rotating line-up of musicians that play here. You can see the tanks from the restaurant, something I always (oddly) like.

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: Yes

(T) @TheNooknCranny (F) The Nook and Cranny Brewpub

Townhouse Brewpub
76 College St., Antigonish, NS
The Townhouse is a community supported pub that feels authentically English right down to the dartboard on the wall and the crisps lining the bar. The currently serve their own hand-pumped, British style bitter ale. Much of the food served on site is locally sourced, and what we’ve tried so far has been good. I especially liked the lobster chowder. They just brew the one beer on-site, Terry’s Best Bitter, but they also have  a range of other NS craft beer on tap.

Growlers: No
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: Yes

(T) @Townhouse_Pub (F) The Townhouse Brewpub & Eatery

South Shore Breweries:

Saltbox Brewing
363 Main St, Mahone Bay, NS
Now open! We’ve yet to visit Salt Box, but you can now stop into their tap room and taste one of their “foundation beer”, inaugural small-batch recipes created or adapted by their brewer. The most popular of their foundation editions will become regular offerings at Salt Box. See what’s on tap before you go HERE.

(T) @SaltBoxBrewery / (F) Saltbox Brewing

Boxing Rock Brewing Company
78 Ohio Road, Shelburne, NS
After spending a few years testing their beer on a willing group of friends, engineers Emily and Henry settled on three inaugural beers and launched Boxing Rock Brewery. We’re glad they did. Boxing Rock has quickly become one of the top selling breweries in the province. They’ve kept their flagship beer,Hunky Dory Pale Ale, Vicars Cross DIPA, and Temptation Red, and accompany it with a regular rotation of seasonals (including one of our all-time favourite beer, Riv Du Sud)  The brewery is open year round and offers a tasting room and a retail store, with $10 tours every Friday and Saturday (by reservation only).

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @BoxingRockBeer (F) Boxing Rock Brewing Company

FirkinStein Brewing
371 Baker Rd, Bridgewater, NS
Don’t go to the brewery, that’s not how these brewers operate. FirkinStein bring their beer to you.They operate a growler delivery service from 5 – 8 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to locations near the brewery. If you don’t live nearby, you can try them on tap, or visit one of their two farmers’ market locations. We picked up our first growler of FirkinStein and met one of the two owners at the Hubbards Farmers’ Market (Saturdays – seasonal), and they also sell at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market (Thursdays).

Growlers: 1L / 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @Firkin_Stein (F) FirkinStein Brewing

Hell Bay Brewing Co.
38 Legion Street, Liverpool, NS
A chef by trade, Marc Baillie started brewing Hell Bay beer as a hobby, but it wasn’t long before a local restaurant and then his whole community caught on. Pretty soon, that hobby was taking over most of a large shed at his home in Cherry Hill, and demand for his beer throughout the community was growing. In spring of 2013, Hell Bay opened their current brewery on the Liverpool waterfront. In addition to their two standard beer, Hell Bay regularly releases seasonals like scotch ale and dark cream ale.

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: No
Food: No

(T) @HellBayBrewing (F) Hell Bay Brewing Company

Yarmouth and Acadian Shore Brewpub:

Rudder’s Brewpub
96 Water Street, Yarmouth, NS
Rudders is a ten barrel gravity flow brew pub located in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. They are the longest running brewery on the South Shore. Rudders makes handcrafted full-bodied English style craft ales using fresh malted barley, hops, spring water and fermenting yeast. All of their beer is unfiltered and naturally carbonated, with no preservatives. You can have a pint in their restaurant or grab a growler to take home.

Growlers: 2L
Sample Trays: Yes
Food: Yes

(T) @Rudders_Rudders (F) Rudders Seafood Restaurant & BrewPub

Other Great NS Craft Beer Links (more coming soon!):

Atlantic Canada Beer Blog:
Stay up-to-date with all the latest developments in Atlantic Canada. This is a fantastic site updated regularly with local craft beer news, from events, to beer releases, to new brewery openings.

Maritime Beer Report:
Maritime Beer Report is another great resource for staying in the loop with the ever changing maritime craft beer scene. Todd also keeps a listing of local craft brewing jobs!

Nova Scotia Craft Beer – Best Bars & Beer Services:

We’d love your help on this one, let us know in the comments what your favourite NS beer bar is so we can add it!

More Coming Soon: 

Yardarm Brewery
Lunenburg, NS

Truro Brewery
Truro, NS

 

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thelocaltraveler

Two travellers tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, daytrips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

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