Founded in 1920 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Alexander Keith’s is one of the oldest commercial breweries in North America. These days, the brewery is under the control of Anheuser–Busch InBev, and until recently their beers were only available in Canada. A few days ago, they introduced three new beers for the U.S. market via a live virtual tasting hosted on Facebook.
This was the first “virtual tasting” I’ve attended, and I have to say it’s a pretty great idea for breweries looking to introduce their products to beer writers/media. A “kit” was sent to each attendee containing the three beers for tasting and some notes. Then, Brewmaster Graham Kendall walked through each beer with us via a live video feed, as well as covering some history about the brewery. There was also a chat room for attendees, where we could ask Graham questions, which he answered at the end.
The three beers were developed specifically for the U.S. “beer movement”. While I wasn’t blown away by the beers and I’m uncertain how well they will fare in the PNW, the lager and the brown were both solid and sessionable enough. The pale ale was a big miss in my opinion, if their target (as was repeated several times) is the U.S. craft beer market.
Below are some brief descriptions from the brewery, as well as my initial thoughts from the tasting.
Nova Scotia Style Lager
Brewery: This lager has a deep amber color and orange highlights that promise a delicious drinking experience. Brewed with noble hops prized for their subtle, spicy character, this brew has a deep amber color and crisp finish.
My Thoughts: Graham described this as having a “medium hop character for a lager”. Just a bit of grassy hops come through in the aroma, but I get no hop flavor in the taste. Some bitterness comes through to pair with a moderately sweet malt base. Clean.
Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale
Brewery: This classic full-bodied brown ale delivers hints of honey and caramel that is balanced with a fresh hop aroma provided by the addition of cascade hops.
My Thoughts: Sweeter than your typical brown ale, but pretty nice. The above-mentioned “hints of honey and caramel” is right on. Not so sure about that fresh hop aroma though….must have forgotten that in my bottle.
Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale
Brewery: This authentic pale ale is brewed with traditional two-row malt for a full, nutty flavor with a burst of spicy and citrusy hop notes.
My Thoughts: If I had to guess without looking at the bottle, I would have said this was a lager. It’s very simple for a pale ale and seems to have much more malt character than the hops contribute. It’s fine and drinkable, just not much of a pale ale if they hope to compete in the PNW.