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Voyages: The Auction House

Voyages: The Auction House

So you think you know Argyle Street? Well, think again. Hidden away in a historic building just north of Prince Street is a delightful restaurant by the name of The Auction House. With a diverse menu of offerings including everything from sandwiches, burgers, and seafood, all the way to ceviche and beef lettuce wraps, there is truly something here for everyone. With “auctions” happening several times a day on a delectable dish or drink, the restaurant has a unique concept that pays homage to a 19th century auction house that operated out of the building. Tonight, I am here for some supper, but will certainly be staying for the main attraction, “Beer School.” Taking place the last Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM, this is a perfectly delicious educational experience. From what I have heard, Beer School is the perfect opportunity for any foodie worth his/her salt to eat, drink, and learn a lot.

Today I have shown up an hour before ‘class,’ and feeling a bit peckish, I think I’ll sit down for some dinner. Overwhelmed by choices, I decide to follow my charming server’s suggestion of starting with the Lobster Bruschetta. Having taken the daring risk of breaking the boundaries of this traditionally Italian dish, I am happy to report that the Auction House does it justice. Lobster is the perfect addition to this appetizer as it is light, fresh and adds a certain hearty satisfaction to every bite. What’s more, adding seafood to a dish in Nova Scotia is pretty much always a good idea.

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Next, I am presented with the Flat Iron Steak Sandwich and Fries. Served open faced and topped with cheese, onions and mushrooms, this is the very definition of comfort food. Made with Garrison Nut Brown beer and accented by a refined tarragon aioli, this is the perfect dish to warm your soul.

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7:30 rolls around and it is announced that Beer School is about to commence at the bar. Tonight’s lineup features three brews from Guysborough, Nova Scotia’s Rare Bird Craft Beer. Five other self-acclaimed beer connoisseurs and I sit down and prepare for battle. For $15, we are presented with three beers and three appetizers. In the spirit of the night, we put on our haughtiest beer critic voices and proceed to have an absolute ball.

Up first is the Full Steam Stout paired with a miniature pulled pork sandwich. Delicious! Amped up with freshly roasted Full Steam Coffee that is added during the brewing process, it is the perfect dark beer for a cold winter’s night. The sandwich has the quintessential tangy chipotle BBQ taste (I just wish there had been more). Fun fact: the meat for the sandwich is braised in the Coffee Stout itself! Very smart.

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Next up is the Pale Ale, a popular go-to for many Haligonians. It comes paired with a bacon wrapped scallop on apple coleslaw. Right off the bat, I can tell that this is a brew that even non-beer-drinkers would like. The Pale Ale is a perfect light and crisp beer, but don’t be fooled… it’s still 7%, so don’t go drinking them like a Corona. The bacon wrapped scallop is absolutely delicious in itself, but does a fantastic job of bringing out the many subtle flavors of the beer – truly a genius combination!

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Last but certainly not least, comes the Seasonal Pumpkin Ale. Beer nerds, do not fear – this beer is not anything like a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Made with real pumpkins, the beer tastes hearty, earthy and festive. It is the perfect accompaniment for my final dish – the Banana Cornbread. Served with caramel sauce, whipped cream and fresh berries, it is the perfect finish to a perfect meal.

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Beer School at the Auction House is a fantastic Halifax event, but for some reason, it seems to fly below the radar of many Haligonian food and beer enthusiasts. If you have $15 in your pocket and are looking for a culinary experience that is both fascinating and delicious, all while supporting local breweries, this is the Wednesday night experience you have been searching for. We hope to see you there next month!

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