Friday, March 31, 2017

Propeller wants you to booze your own adventure

The Brew North strong and free.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 11:42 AM

  • Lenny Mullins

Lager: A part of our heritage?

Propeller Brewing Company is asking breweries and home brewers across the country to participate in the Great Canadian Lager Challenge—Propeller’s way of celebrating Canada 150.

“Up until five years ago, there still wasn’t much community in the craft beer world,” says Aaron Emery, the company’s director of marketing. “If there is anything today, there is community.”

Brewers in different regions across the country are “actually starting to to talk to each other.”  The idea, Emery explains, is to actually do something with that community.

“There’s such a—in some ways, needless—divide between the mainstream beer world and the craft beer world,” says Emery, adding that there’s a time and place for different flavours. The light and crisp beers might be what folks knock back at a baseball game or sip on the beach, for instance.

“Specifically, Canada Day at noon probably isn’t the time and place for the jalapeño coriander stout.”

Between now and July 1, brewers are invited to brew a lager and “make it the most ridiculously Canadian lager that you can.”

“I’d love to see a Nova Scotian brewery do sea salt and seaweed and whatever,” says Emery, “or someone in Alberta to do a Rocky Mountain snowmelt.”

Those who want to enter the competition will then send their beer to Halifax for Propeller’s 20th anniversary party, where it will be put before a panel of judges. Beer won’t necessarily be assessed by how “good” it tastes, but the more creative the approach, the better. 

“It’s just about having fun. Telling a story.”

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

A letter to Sam Austin, about downtown Dartmouth

The city councillor takes issue with The Coast's restaurant review, and our writer responds.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Sam Austin has stated downtown Dartmouth is not a horror movie. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Sam Austin has stated downtown Dartmouth is not a horror movie.

Dartmouth Centre councillor Sam Austin sent a letter to The Coast earlier this week in response to writer Melissa Buote’s review of Picnic on March 9. Austin took issue with Buote’s comparison of downtown Dartmouth at night to the old horror movie The Haunting, saying it was an “attempt at a clever analogy taken too far” and a dated stereotype that doesn’t “match the kind of place downtown Dartmouth has become.”

The letter missed our cutoff for the print edition of this week’s paper, but the councillor has now published his response on his website and you can read it there. Since Austin published his letter, we thought it only fair to also put up Buote’s response to his response, which you can read below.


Hey Sam! I actually grew up in Dartmouth. And I currently live in Dartmouth. Downtown Dartmouth to be more specific. On Portland Street if you want to give chase. And guess what? It can totally seem sketchy! (Fun fact: amount of times a complete stranger on Portland Street has followed up an unexpected—and always unwanted I should note!—“hello” with an “I'm not going to hurt you” makes me think it might actually be an unofficial motto.) But it's actually great! (I mean, how kind is it of those men to let me know they aren't going to hurt me! Awww!) Something can seem sketchy while actually being great. Walt Whitman contains multitudes, I contain multitudes and so, too, does Portland Street!

I really like my neighbourhood and I have seen lots of great things happening here, but as someone who actually lives here I am also keenly aware that there is very little foot traffic downtown at night. Maybe you should spend some evenings downtown when there aren't family-oriented events that bring crowds of families and photo-ops onto one specific block. You know, when the neighbourhood is what it really is and not what the marketing plans of business groups say it is. And while I appreciate your ability to rhyme off a list of great businesses that run around the brightly lit curve of Alderney, give me a call when you're a single woman walking home at night through the dim, empty corners around Wentworth and Queen and let me know how you feel. In the night. In the dark.

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Chain-Yard Urban Cidery wants to be the apple of your eye

Halifax’s first cider-maker gets ready to open on Agricola.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 4:00 AM


The co-owners of a Grape Escapes wine tours are crushing another kind of fruit and "taking advantage of the cider boom:" Mike Lim and Susan Downey Lim announced last summer they'd be teaming up with Brian Kelly to open Chain-Yard Urban Cidery at 2606 Agricola Street (the former FRED. location). And now they're just about ready to pour it up.

"Susan and I have basically been looking to get into the production side since we started Grape Escapes and Taste Halifax. It's always been a goal of ours," says Lim. "We're big cider fans."

The team had its eyes on the Agricola building when they found out it was for sale. The one-time salon-cafe hybrid was ideal: One side could be for production, while the other could be the tap room.

"When we looked into it, we weren't able to secure the financing for both the startup and the purchase of the building," says Lim. They turned to Pete Luckett for help, inviting him to collaborate. Luckett ended up buying the building and is now the landlord for the business.

"He's been a good mentor and we've gone to him with quite a few questions during the startup."

It's "an eye-opening experience" for the rest of the team to see the cider maker Jay Hildybrant go through the process. They're learning about "what apples go with what blends, and the amount of apples that we have to chose from in Nova Scotia," says Lim.

Right now, the first batch of cider is finishing up, with another run to immediately follow. The tap room is getting its final touches, and the cidery is expected to open in mid- to late April.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

No more Nook?

Gottingen cafe up for sale, closing April 9

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Alas, it's true. Halifax may be saying goodbye to yet another java joint. The Nook owner Kathleen Healy didn't immediately respond to an interview request on Wednesday, but a post on the business' Facebook page confirmed that its last day of service is April 9. However, the property on Gottingen Street is currently for sale to anyone who has the chops to take over (and $90,000).

Meantime...does anywhere else in the area offer matcha lattes? I'm dying over here.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Two If By Sea closing Halifax location

Dartmouth cafe is busier than ever.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM

Two If Bye Sea, am I right? - THE COAST
  • Two If Bye Sea, am I right?
  • The Coast

After April 29, folks on the side Halifax side of the harbour will have to travel to get their Two If By Sea fix.

The cafe’s Waterfront Historic Properties location is set to close as its five-year lease comes to an end. Owner Zane Kelsall says it’s not going out of business, and he has plenty of other things on his plate.

“It felt like a good time to just close that chapter.”

The original TIBS on Ochterloney Street, having opened back in 2009, is still going strong. In fact, Kelsall says “last year was our busiest year that we’ve ever had.” Along with Anchored Coffee, it’s keeping him hard at work.

“It’s going to be nice to centralize our lives back in Dartmouth, mostly.”

The Halifax closure means the Anchored Espresso Bar & Toastery inside Pro Skateboards and Snowboards (6451 Quinpool Road) will have some slight changes to its menu: its baked goods come from the Halifax kitchen, Kelsall explains, but that will no longer be possible.

“There’s a company that’s just starting out—we’re excited to work with on baked goods for that location,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll get to do something new and fun there as well.”

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Take a swig of the Beer Guide

Consume responsibly, and don't forget to share.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stillwell gets down to business at its new brewing location

Just brew it

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Something new is brewing at Stillwell.

The Barrington Street beer bar is starting its own brewery in the warehouse of Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location.

“We make beer in other people’s breweries so far,” says Chris Reynolds, one of three co-owners of Stillwell. “North, especially, have been really kind to host us.”

Crush, Two, Three and Millie are a few of the beers they’ve created at North up to this point.

However, Reynolds realized Stillwell wasn’t “really earning any return” on the beer it was producing. So, the team started renting space at Propeller to make what he describes as a “slow, old-fashioned style of beers.”

Reynolds is in charge of the brewing and recipe development. He says his style of brew is largely inspired by the easy-drinking beers currently on tap in Belgium, Germany and the US. Many of the Stillwell-made beers will be low in alcohol, along with being oak fermented and bottle conditioned. 

They’ve already begun their brewing, but they don’t expect bottle releases to be out until well into the summer.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bar Kismet aims for Agricola

The former Greek Village space makes way for seafood and drinks

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 1:46 PM

Jenner Cormier and Annie Brace-Lavoie want to create a space that's timeless, not trendy - SUBMITTED
  • Jenner Cormier and Annie Brace-Lavoie want to create a space that's timeless, not trendy
  • Submitted

Trapped in a bathroom, tasked with the delicate job of mosaic tiling, Annie Brace-Lavoie and Jenner Cormier had no choice but to get to know each other. Then they were a couple of strangers, a chef and a bartender biding the time with manual labour to help their new employer (Toronto’s Bar Raval) open. And the rest is history. Call it kismet.

Now, the pair of industry vets aren’t just partners in life, but business too. After a season of running the farmers’ market eatery Potions and Provisions, and years of looking for a location, they landed on the right place at the right time, and took over the lease at Greek Village (2733 Agricola Street) last week.

“It has to feel good in your belly or else you’re just opening for the sake of opening something,” says Brace-Lavoie of the location. “We wanted it be intimate, small. And we want to stick around for the next 15 years, not just be cool and trendy. We kind of want to be old school, and grow old in the building.”

The little space will make way for Bar Kismet—a 30-ish seat restaurant with a focus on seafood and a thoughtful bar program—in June. Brace-Lavoie and Cormier are big on offering an unpretentious, casual atmosphere and above all, seamless hospitality.

“We want to open something that is approachable, a place you don’t need an excuse to go to,” says Cormier. “It’s not an occasion restaurant,” adds Brace-Lavoie. But don’t expect your standard lobster dinners, plank salmons and haddock dishes—this isn’t your typical Nova Scotian tourist-targeted seafood restaurant. It’s not a fish and chips joint either.

“The focus is going to be to highlight a lot of seafood but we’re not necessarily pigeon-holing ourselves. We’re more utilizing some of the seafood that people aren’t necessarily looking at,” says Cormier. “We’re finding ways to partner up and work with people to get their bycatch,” says Brace-Lavoie, “so that it’s not just being thrown back in the water and we can find a way to use it.”

Her menu will be accented by Cormier’s drink selection—interesting (and rare) beer and wine options, specific complements to what’s cooking in the kitchen, and of course a small, revolving cocktail list.

“They’ll be well thought out and executed, but I want it to be very fast and very fun,” says Cormier, a sentiment echoed by Brace-Lavoie.

“We’ve waited so long, we’ve worked so hard and all I want to do is have fun for the next—until we can’t stand it anymore.”

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cole Harbour is getting Cape Breton pizza

Stop everything

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Unless you’re a mistaken Pictou County expat, drunk on brown sauce, you know there’s no pizza like Cape Breton pizza. (Save for maybe Italy, New York, Chicago, but you get my drift.) So it makes sense that the news that longtime Sydney slice slinger, Kenny’s Pizza will open at 1038 Cole Harbour Road in early summer has people right worked up, counting down days until they can order a large combination and debating who actually makes the wickedest pizza on the island.

Whatever the case, I officially pronounce this the Summer of the Ponzo*.

Exhibit A, a ponzo - VIA KENNY'S
  • Exhibit A, a ponzo
  • via Kenny's

*A ponzo is a deep-fried pizza turnover that isn't actually even called a ponzo on the Kenny's menu anymore but if you order one, they get it. And they're friggin' deadly.

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