By Veronica Leonard
The Port gastropub is located in the heart of Port Williams, Nova Scotia, fifteen minutes from Wolfville. It is one of the best kept secrets of the Annapolis Valley. The Port is a co-operative restaurant owned by a number of valley healthcare professionals which caters to a locavore taste in cuisine, wine and beer. You can check out their menus here.
From its location on the banks of the Cornwallis River, patrons are able to work their way through a relaxing meal while watching the spectacular ebb and flow of the Fundy tides
The restaurant which includes meeting and reception rooms is beautifully decorated with fresh local flowers from spring to fall. The ladies washroom is so lovely actually people take pictures for home decor ideas. The prices are reasonable and the menu full of local produce, meats, seafood, cheese and dairy prepared in nutritious bistro style rather than traditional pub fare. The wine list has an excellent selection from the local wineries including Blomidon Estates, Gaspereau Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards, Domaine de Grand Pré, Luckett Vineyards and Benjamin Bridge . In the summer time, the outdoor patio is always filled with diners and children can play in the adjoining playground as the adults linger over their dinner.
The Port also hosts an onsite microbrewery, Sea Level Brewing, owned by Randy Lawrence who had previous experience as a brewmaster at Paddy’s Pub in Wolfville, Propeller Beer in Halifax and at Rudders in Yarmouth. Sea Level Brewing has four regular beers and a monthly special. Planter’s Pale Ale is the signature beer for the microbrewery with English and Oregon hops enhancing the sweetness of the malt. Rojo Mojo Ale is brewed with five different kinds of malts for a medium bodied beer. Blue Heron Extra Special Bitter is made with four different varieties of hops and is dry hopped in the serving tank for even more flavour. Port in the Storm Porter has a roasted malt flavour with hits of coffee and chocolate.
The monthly special ale has included blueberry and raspberry wheat ale among other unusual flavours.
Guests who can’t make up their minds what to order can try the sample tray with 2 oz glasses of all five varieties. For the designated drivers and non-wine enthusiasts in the Valley wine tours. A good hearty meal and a tasting tray of Sea Level Brews can be the highlight of the day.
Other articles by Veronica Leonard on the Port Pub Bistro can be found on the Nova Scotia Wine Examiner column NS Wine and Microbrewery at the Port Pub and the Atlantic Cooperator Magazine Fall 2009