Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Canada Beer Blog Part 3

La Barberie was our favourite place in Québec City, thus our second favourite of the trip (nothing could beat Dieu du Ciel for me). They are a cooperative and had 16 beers available. Also noteworthy was the price, at CAD$5 a pint they were definitely the cheapest pints of the trip.

IPAsmell of toasted hops with a hoppy bitterness. 4/5

Rousse Bockdried fruits (figs? dates?), rich, silky, bitter honey finish. 4/5

Rousse Bittermalty and dry but little bitterness. Very dry finish. 4/5

Stout Imperialsmelt like banana essence or as Toru put it “perky nana on burnt toast”. Was a Baileys and banana milkshake.

There were a few other sneaky drinks in our room.

Chambly NoireBlack Ale with roasted malt. Don’t usually like these but this was relatively mild and not too bad. 3.5/5

La Barberie IPA and Rousse Bitter in 500ml bottles – definitely much better on tap.

Microbrasserie du Lièvre's IIPApurchased in 1l bottle at the supermarket. Was nice but nothing like the IIPAs at Dieu du Ciel.

Speaking of Dieu du Ciel… We made our second and last trip there on our last night in Canada. Still 17 beers available but the menu had changed slightly. Being our last night and the desire to try as many as possible, we had a little more than we should have.

FornesterieRousse de Chanure 5% but not very Rousse 3.5/5

Corvé du diableAn American Pale Ale at 6.5%. Was hoppy but very little else. Dry and definitely missing something. 4/5

Ste-Flanellerepeat performance. I drooled over this earlier.

Ciel étoiléToru was not happy with this choice (given I didn’t recognise one word in the description this is not my fault!). Lager-ish and very aniseed (he can’t stand aniseed).

Rigor Mortis BlondeA Belgium Blonde 6%. Very, very much a Belgium Blonde hence the score. They nailed the style. Possible smell of waffles or baked eggs? 4.5/5

Grand Messean “Alt” 5% which I was told was a German style-mix so didn’t know what to expect. Malty, not quite a porter, with a cedar smoked aroma. 4.2/5

Double triple – at 10% and after all those others this was asking for trouble. Forte belge – oui, it was. Reminiscent of something between a La Trappe Dubbel and Quadrupel (but not logically a Tripel as you would expect). Reminded me of the La Trappe Dubbel but had the alcoholic taste you hit with the Quadrupel. Malt and alcohol taste.

Thus this night resulted in me yelling random French at Toru (who doesn’t speak French) in the Métro. Good times. Got up the next morning and headed back to NZ.

Canada Beer Blog Part 2

Now to our absolute favourite place in Montréal (and in fact Québec as a whole). Dieu du Ciel had 17 beers available (on tap of course). I cannot fully do this place justice, we would live here.

Corpus ChristiPale Ale de Seigle 5%. A red pale ale with bitterness. Nice!! 4.5/5

Equinoxe du printempsScotch Ale à l’erable 9%. A real sipper at 9%. Creamy with a hint of dried fruits. Served in a small glass due to the 9%. 4.5/5

Ste-Flanelleanother awesome beer (8.5%), again in a small glass. Bitter, hoppy and a sipper. Best beer yet, definitely a me beer. Reminiscent of a smoky IPA. My first ever Imperial Pale Ale. 4.75/5

Revenanteporter fume, burnt toast again. Smoked salmon and hikory aroma with a mellow finish. 4/5

Chamananother Imperial Pale Ale (8%), hoppier than the previous with a slight bitterness. 4.75/5

Then we hit Ottawa and made it to the Royal Oak, a British “themed” pub. Our server was from Otrahunga (small world really).

Mill St Tankhouse Alethis was an unexpected find, a local (Toronto) microbrew, on tap. A 5.2% made with 5 different malts and spicy cascade hops. A deep copper red and very drinkable. If we were to pick a drink that would be our “drinking” beer it would probably be this. 4/5

Smithwick’s Irish RedA typical English draft (5%), felt like it needed more hops.

Fullers ESBChampion Gold Medal but was completely underwhelmed as it had been talked up far too much. Well rounded malt but had trouble finding the bitterness. 3/5

Creemoreanother local microbrew (Ontario) made with Czech hops. Lager.

In a small town called Trois Rivières we made our way to what is obviously the place to be on a Friday night, Chez Gambrinus. We also had the most awesome chicken nachos here and the entire ordering process was in French. The first beers were ordered by type therefore not sure of exact names.

Roussevery drinkable with bitter after-taste, Monteiths celtic-ish but better. 3.5/5

IPAall I can say is this is the Canadian “Epic Pale Ale”, the similarities were uncanny. 4/5

Scotch Alea Porter but no smokiness, reminiscent of melted dark chocolate. Tasted like cocoa and water. 2.5/5

Onto Québec City where we started out at the Hostel bar, although there was nothing on tap that appealed.

Maudite (Unibroue) – this was in a bottle and then later in our trip we got ourselves a 750ml bottle for sneaky drinks in our room. Maudite (and Unibroue) are relatively well-known to us.

I did manage to try this on tap at Pub St Alexandre but it was very hard to get through the pint after already having the sneaky drinks in our room. It is very rich, strong amber ale (8%). And I also legitimately acquired a Maudite glass before we left Canada. 4.5/5

Okenagan Valley Pale Ale (sorry no notes on this one!)

Griffon Rousse (or this one!)

KwakI’ve always meant to try this but never did. After being told a story about it at Pub St Alexandre (where there are over 250 beers available) I decided that was the night. A good Belgium but I like my Belgiums and have definitely had better. Served in its traditional glass which left me terrified of breaking it (it’s an extremely light glass). 4/5

L’Inox had recently moved to its new location and unfortunately there were only two beers available so we didn’t stay long.

BlondeLight, slight tartness/bitterness. Was good for blonde (like lager, I’m not a big fan so you should probably add points). 2.5/5

Wheatlike a ginger beer without the ginger. Good for a hot day.

And finally... Canada Beer Blog Part 1

Upon arrival in Vancouver I managed to not fully commit to the Domestic transfer area and was released into the airport at large to find Toru. Given that our flight to Montréal wasn’t until 11.55pm (and despite arriving late it was still only 4.30pm), we hopped on the airport bus and headed to Granville Island Market. After a coffee and a stroll much time had passed and the market was closing. Luckily for us the Brewery was open (who cares that it was Good Friday) and thus our beer tour of Canada began.

A few notes before I go any further…

#1: After some debate it was decided that no beer could really be given a 5. I gave in to this decision once it was compared to a mathematical term (haha yes say what you will) – exponential. So this all works like an exponential graph – you can work out the meaning of that yourself.

#2: Any in-depth descriptions on smell and taste are most likely not mine as the most I can give is something like “burnt toast” and not “hikory aroma” type stuff. I’m generally an Amber/Bitter/Dubbel/Trippel drinker which may be worth keeping in mind when reading this. This is a combination of drinks we both tried and therefore some of these are not beers I would drink.

#3: Yes I’m of the female variety and this “tour” was essentially my idea but was of course met with no argument. It was however met with cries from other males who could not fathom that one’s partner would organise such a thing or would even let said male engage in such an event. All I can say is – “sucks to be you”. And now the beer…

First beers in Canada were of course at the Granville Island Brewing Company, a place not unfamiliar to us.

Brockton IPAHoppy but not overly so. 3.5/5

English Bay Pale Alea coppery ale crafted in the tradition of classic English Ales. Was fairly mild with a slight bitterness. 3/5

Island lagerwas good for a lager but as most people know I am not a lager fan (therefore you should probably add more points to my score). 2/5

Side note: after being asked if we wanted another, we mentioned that we take our beer seriously and needed time to consider… Ended up with free tasters of their Ginger Beer. Last time we were there I had the Gastown Amber Ale and was quite disappointed it wasn’t available on this trip. Oh well.

The Montréal HI had a bar with Sleeman’s on tap which made it rather accessible :P

Sleeman’s Cream Aleit was our first night there and they were out of Rousse. We had a choice of this or the lager, naturally chose this. It wasn’t awesome and was very run of the mill. 1.5/5

Sleeman’s Rousseeventually they had this available for us. It was cold and refreshing, much like a cold Macs or Monteiths etc on a hot day, so something you could drink a few of. Definitely better than the cream ale. 3 – 3.5/5

We then hit several places in one day (mainly dictated by the beer), the first few were a let down and had I known better would not have been on our list of places to go. We started with Les 3 Brasseurs which we’d had much higher hopes for. We shared a taster and left it at that.

La Blondevery watery, typical blonde. 1/5

L’Ambréemalty, molasses flavour. Probably our choice out of the four. 3.5/5

La Brunecoffee-ish. 3.5/5

La BlancheGreat White-ish (Macs), wheat beer. 3/5

This was followed by an unfortunate experience at a bar which was obviously very popular but definitely not our type of place. The beer was served in large plastic cups which I can only assume are like those at an American Football game etc.

Alexander Keith’s Roussewas absolute crap and smelt like puke, I don’t know how Toru made it through this. (No rating given :P)

Boréale Roussethis got worse as I drank more. Was nothing like a red. 1/5

We left that place rather quickly and forgot to tip *cough*.

Not far up the road was L’amère à boire which saved the day.

Vollbiera German “Red” lager. Not your typical lager and rather enjoyable. 4/5

Kozak (cosaque)strong black lager, porter baltique. Got better over time and was a real sipper. 4.5/5

Fin de siècleanother that got better over time. English ale, “special ale”. 4/5 (although on smell it got 4.5/5).

Brutopia – very close to the hostel and rather quiet the night we were there which worked to our advantage. They let us do ¼ pint tasters which are only available during the day.

IPAmalty, red, hoppy. Very malty for an IPA. 4/5

Nut Brown Alelight, crisp stout (light for a stout). 3/5

Bittera malty bitter. 3/5

Scotch Aleabsolutely delicious. Smelt like popcorn. 4/5

Stoutstoutish but watery with a burnt taste. 3/5

Nut Brownmix of the Honey and Nut Brown. “Draft”-like. 2/5

Portermore of a drinker. Toasted nuts, burnt toast, smoked eel and a bitter finish.

Maple Creamdidn't work well with the other tasters. Was much lighter, watery and creamy. 2/5

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beer o'clock

Hmmmm tis about time I wrote something.

So we're off to Canada again in April, hitting the other side this time... After some researching the trip is starting to look like a microbrewery tour of eastern Canada. So we're hitting Montréal, Ottawa, Trois Rivières, Québec City and Rivière-du-loup. Who knew there were SOOO many microbreweries in the area? I think I will have to keep a beer diary.

I'm quite intrigued with the "mètre de bière" but unfortunately I don't see two of us getting through that. And from what I can tell the preferred word for pint is "pinte" however the dictionary suggests a "demi". The smaller towns are going to be fun - I see myself having to do all the beer ordering (perhaps I should charge Toru a fee for this? :P)

While in Melbourne we found this gem of a place
They stock over 600 beers from around the world and yes, I was in heaven. Upon responding to "what type of beer do you like?" with "Tripel" the very knowledgeable staff proceeded to name many Tripel and Tripel-style beers I'd never heard of. I walked out of the store with 6 beers (discount if you buy 6 imported beers!!) and later those 6 beers ended up in my suitcase (along with 2 bottles of wine) for the trip back to NZ.

So, now I'm left wanting a Maudite which I cannot find in NZ... Will have to wait till we hit Québec.