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 IPA – Hoppy but not overly so. 3.5/5
English Bay Pale Ale – a coppery ale crafted in the tradition of classic English Ales. Was fairly mild with a slight bitterness. 3/5
Island lager – was 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 Ale – it 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 Rousse – eventually 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 Blonde – very watery, typical blonde. 1/5
L’Ambrée – malty, molasses flavour. Probably our choice out of the four. 3.5/5
La Brune – coffee-ish. 3.5/5
La Blanche – Great 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 Rousse – was absolute crap and smelt like puke, I don’t know how Toru made it through this. (No rating given :P)
Boréale Rousse – this 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.
Vollbier – a 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 siècle – another 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.
IPA – malty, red, hoppy. Very malty for an IPA. 4/5
Nut Brown Ale – light, crisp stout (light for a stout). 3/5
Bitter – a malty bitter. 3/5
Scotch Ale – absolutely delicious. Smelt like popcorn. 4/5
Stout – stoutish but watery with a burnt taste. 3/5
Nut Brown – mix of the Honey and Nut Brown. “Draft”-like. 2/5
Porter – more of a drinker. Toasted nuts, burnt toast, smoked eel and a bitter finish.
Maple Cream – didn't work well with the other tasters. Was much lighter, watery and creamy. 2/5