Saltbox Brewing thinks social and drinks local
By Alain Bossé
Walking into the Saltbox Brewing Company in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia makes me incredibly happy. The brightly coloured cans adorned with stunning artwork and cool names speak to me. The whole place has a laid back vibe that invites you to stay awhile, from the inside seating area with a view of all that’s happening to the outdoor patio.
I absolutely love their motto of “think social and drink local” This is a company that has embraced the concept of local with everything they’ve got. In addition to their amazing range of ciders and beers they also offer a selection of guest beers from other local breweries. And while Saltbox doesn’t serve food they have welcomed a selection of food trucks onto their property to provide a service to their guests. If you happen to arrive on a day when a food truck isn’t on site, fear not; a selection of local takeout menus is available and they welcome delivery onto the site. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and more than willing to help you navigate their extensive beverage menu; it’s worth noting that if you’re not a fan of beer, they also have hard cider and wine available.
While everything above adds to a wonderful experience it means nothing if a company doesn’t have the brews to back it up. But they certainly do! Saltbox offers two types of beers in a range of flavours. Their foundation beers are made in small batches, and they also create big batch beers which are foundation beers that have proven to be very popular.
The wait staff can provide you with a handout that gives the description, alcohol by volume, style, flavour and finish along with the story behind the name for each of their products. And let me tell you, they have some very clever names that tie the beers to the local area in many cases; names such as Holy Mackerel Pale Ale and Ironbound Scotch Ale, which is an ode to Ironbound Island south of the Aspotagen Peninsula.
Saltbox Brewing Company has a wide selection of ciders and beers.
My two favourite by far are Nun On The Run, which is a tribute to Katarina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther. Katarina became disenchanted with the cloistered life and fled with 11 other nuns after hearing of Martin Luther and his reformation movement. She later married him, went on to have six children, raised cattle, ran a hospital and—perhaps most fittingly—brewed beer. Secondly, and not surprisingly, was the Crustacean Elation. Full disclosure: I was actually a bit surprised at how much I loved this product; as most people know I’m a huge fan of lobster but I wasn’t really sure that it would work in an ale, but it absolutely does! Whole lobsters are actually used early on in the brewing process and the flavour comes through as a subtle aftertaste on your palate and it’s one that I will be going back for time and time again. The artwork on this brew’s can also caught my eye. It’s a bright red lobster claw holding a hop, and it suits the beer perfectly.
While visiting Saltbox be sure to enjoy a flight, and then take your favourite flavour home in a 64-oz refillable growler, a 32 oz grunter, or in cans.
If you live locally or plan to be in the area on a regular basis consider joining their Pioneer Beer Club. It’s a members-only club that gives you access to beer and wine pairings, exclusive events, discounts, as well as across membership with King Street Brewing, another fabulous local brewery.
Atlantic Canada is definitely developing a reputation for amazing craft beers, and this one is not to be missed!
Open 7 days a week and located at 363 Main St. Mahone Bay. Check website for hours of operation.