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Brewery List

Garrison Brewing Company

Beer Name Rating
Nut Brown Ale 7.85
Oaktoberfest Brau 6.25


Garrison Brewing Company ("Garrison") is located at 1149 Marginal Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia and produced its first batch of beer, its “Irish Red Ale” in 1997. Today Garrison brews a variety of all natural, preservative free ales.

When I saw a bottle of Garrison's Oktoberfest Brau ("OB") in my local LCBO, I had to pick it up because Nova Scotia beers are not common here and I've heard good things about Garrison. OB came in a 500 ml bottle with a bottling date of August 25, 2011. The beer was 4.9% alcohol by volume. The embossed seal on the bottle is a nice touch, but I find the gold on purple printing difficult to read.

OB poured a slightly hazy, dark amber colour, with an aggressive pour producing a 1.5" yellowish head...a good looking beer. The head settled back into a thin film and collar of foam within two minutes, leaving minimal spotting and no lacing down the glass. Its aroma was of toasted caramel malts and not much else initially, but a slightly odd mineral/iron smell became noticeable as the beer warmed. In terms of flavour, the beer starts out with a nice malty sweetness and has a modestly bitter finish, with a lingering bitter aftertaste. As the beer warmed in the glass, a mineral/iron taste emerged...which I could do without. As far as the body goes I would describe OB as medium bodied, hefted up a bit by a relatively high level of carbonation. 

Overall, a decent brew, and if Garrison could lose that mineral presence all together it would be much improved. At $4.25 per bottle in Ontario though, I'd reach for Black Oak's Oaktoberfest before I'd buy another OB.

Rating 6.25 / 10.0

Believing that every brewery deserves a second chance, Bucky asked one of his roaming minions to pick up a bottle of Garrison's Nut Brown Ale ("NBA") from their Halifax brewery. Our first experience with Garrison's beers (Oktoberfest Brau) was less than inspiring. NBA came in a brown 341 ml bottle with no visible production or 'best before' date, and was 5.0% alcohol by volume.

NBA poured an attractive dark brown colour with ruby tones when backlit, with a thin, tan coloured head that disappeared inside one minute. With no head retention, there was no lacing or spotting down the glass. Its aroma was primarily of burnt malts with hints of chocolate and coffee. All three of these elements were also present in the taste, but with a stronger presence from the chocolate and a slightly bitter roasted coffee finish to the beer. The bitter roasted coffee flavour lingered briefly as an aftertaste, but like a good guest did not overstay its welcome. NBA was surprisingly flavourful for a beer that is lighter bodied than its British counterparts, and had a crisp carbonation. Overall, NBA is one of the best Canadian brown ales that I've tried so far, and only its poor head retention keeps this beer out of Bucky's Top 10 list. I'll certainly be looking for this beer when in Nova Scotia.

Rating 7.85/10.0





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