Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nova Scotia Spirit Co. breaks into the beer business

Painted Boat Beer Co. launched Monday, with Stellarton location expected to open in the summer.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 11:10 AM

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Nova Scotia Spirit Co
. is broadening its horizons and getting into the beer business.

“It was kind of a natural progression,” says company president Alex Rice. “It’s something that we’ve kind of considered throughout the past couple years that we’ve launched the spirits brand.”

The Trenton-based company acquired a former Scotsburn dairy facility in Stellarton, which will be home to a distillery, restaurant and brewery next year. “That acquisition gave us approximately 30,000 square feet of expansion capabilities, so when we started doing the planning there, it kind of became a natural fit,” explains Rice. “There’s such a growth opportunity in experiential tourism and food and cultural tourism, especially in eastern Canada. To add beer and spirits under one roof we felt was a great opportunity to draw people off the highway.”

Nova Scotia Spirit’s expansion is called Painted Boat Beer Co., and although the Stellarton location won’t be ready until summer, the brand launched last week at The Seahorse Tavern.

“We’re going after a broadly-distributed, one beer model,” says Rice, comparing it to the likes of Alexander Keith’s or Mill Street Organic: “Very successful Canadian brands launched on the premise of having one really good beer.” Seasonal beers will be on offer as well, and wider range of beer isn’t off the table for the future—“but certainly our goal is kind of a one really good, easy-drinking beer that we want to deploy and roll out to beer lovers and consumers across Nova Scotia,” he adds.

Nova Scotia Spirit has its sights set on even more new booze, as Rice says the brewhouse provides the opportunity to make “100 percent grain to glass whisky products, which we have been considering over the last couple years.”

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What's the Xenia Social Society all about?

A collective of creative women brings you two nights of dinner in a mystery west end location

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Xenia Social Society's Ceilidh Sutherland, Islay McNabb, Katie Tower and Nicole Raufeisen - NATALIE ROSEN
  • Xenia Social Society's Ceilidh Sutherland, Islay McNabb, Katie Tower and Nicole Raufeisen

“Xenia is the Greek goddess of hospitality,” says Ceilidh Sutherland, co-owner of Field Guide and Highwayman, and co-creator of an immersive dining experience that debuts next week. Xenia Social Society is the brainchild of Sutherland and Katie Tower—the designer behind the branding of Sutherland’s restaurants—inspired by a shared desire to bring some of Halifax’s unused, vacant spaces to life.

“We became friends because we had an idea to do a dinner series. We’ve known each other for almost six years and we’re finally doing the thing we said we were going to do,” says Sutherland. “The space is a huge part of the inspiration, the immersive part. It’s not a space that already houses a restaurant, so we’re bringing in every single element—it’s completely empty. It’s a challenge, but when you put limitations on yourself it forces you to get really creative.”

As you can probably guess, the venue for Xenia’s first dinners (Tuesday, November 28 and Wednesday, November 29) is top secret. But some other key details aren’t: Tickets are $120, they’re only selling 40 seats per night, there’ll be six courses complemented by wine pairings from Little Oak's Nicole Raufeisen and Field Guide cook Natalie Rosen will be helming the kitchen.

“We’re calling it uncomplicated food from the heart. I’m really excited to be able to showcase what she’s excited about,” says Sutherland of Rosen’s menu. “I think it’ll be really delicious and exciting while still being accessible, without being the over the top.”

“This specific dinner, it’s completely hosted by women. Every person putting in work is a woman.”

The Xenia squad hopes this is the first of many like-minded events, though the location will be kept under wraps each time they won’t necessarily always centre on food.

“It’s about the whole experience—not this chef’s dinner or this sommelier’s dinner—it’s about all of us as a group.”

Reserve your seat here.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Drink this: Stillwell Four

The Halifax bar is gearing up for its four-year anniversary with a new brew.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 1:55 PM

Stillwell’s latest creation is not only a celebration of four years in the biz, but also the first bottle release to come out of its own brewing location.

Earlier this year, Stillwell co-owner Chris Reynolds decided to rent some space in Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location. In the past, Stillwell had teamed up with Boxing Rock and North Brewing to make booze—but the time had come for a brewery to call its own. After several months, the fruits of the team’s labour are ripe for the picking.

“I think there’s been a lot anticipation and people have been asking about these beers for a long time,” says Reynolds. “We’ve had some success with this style of brewing in these other breweries, so having our own to dictate everything and give the beers the time that they need to be at their best is exciting.”

This “farmhouse brewing” process includes a blend of different yeasts requiring long, slow fermenting. Bottle conditioning (re-fermenting in a bottle under pressure) comes next, adding even more time to the brew.

The soon-to-be released saison, simply titled “Four,” continues Stillwell’s tradition of releasing a beer each anniversary. The beer’s been aged in a barrel once used for Sauvignon Blanc, giving it some additional character.

“One thing that drinkers will notice first is that it’s tart—sort of a sour beer,” says Reynolds.

Four will be on tap at Stillwell’s anniversary party on Saturday and bottles will be for sale out of the brewery on Sunday starting at noon. It’s a small batch, so if you wanna try it, Reynolds says you better hustle. He anticipates there will be three more Stillwell bottle releases before Christmas.
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Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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