Since I moved to Saskatchewan, I have realized that I have moved to a place that is a little behind other parts of Canada in the craft beer revolution. In a couple of months in my new province, I have sampled most of the craft beers available. So, on my recent trips, I’m making sure to get my craft beer experimentation in before stepping on the plane to come back home. In Montreal for a few days back in April, I managed to find a few new favourites.
On an afternoon with a couple of free hours, I made a stop at Dieu du Ciel and fell in love with their bar. It would be a routine hangout location for me if I lived in Montreal. Of my time in the city, two of the best beers I tried were from this sampling selection: the Aphrodisiaque/Aphrodite stout (second from the left) and the Rigor Mortis Blonde (on the far right). Also not too shabby was the Blanche Van de Plateau (second from the right). All in all, a great tasting experience.
Not all my stops at breweries or craft beer bars were as a stand-alone destination on this trip. After arriving in the city in need of a meal, lunch at Brutopia was just a five minute walk away from my hotel. I tried their blonde ale which was refreshing on a hot afternoon. Another day, I popped in to Le Cheval Blanc which was just down the street from my dinner date location and really enjoyed their Cheval De Mer gose which was nicely tart and salty. I’ve been trying a lot of different goses (is that the plural of gose?) and this was one of the better ones I have sampled this year.
Even while eating at the lovely Joe Beef one night, a Quebec craft beer wasn’t too far from my mind. The session IPA by Microbrasserie Le Castor from Rigaud, QC, was outstanding. If I lived in Quebec, I’d always have a few of these in my fridge – easy drinking and flavourful at a very approachable 4.3% abv.
One other beer bar I hit with the express purpose of some sampling was Le Saint-Bock on rue Saint-Denis. They have an immense tap list that mostly features Quebec microbrews and a few of their own beers. I started with a witbier, then along with a really good burger, tried a sampler of 5 different beers from around the province. Of those, the Houblon Libre by Microbrasserie du Lac Saint-Jean, a black IPA (second from the right behind the hamburger) was the best beer hands down from my trip. It was incredibly smooth and balanced for a 7.7% abv beer. A dangerous, but delicious proposition as this beer goes down very, very easy. I also really liked the Mozus by Saint-Bock (second from left behind the burger, an American pale ale).
Not all the sampling was done in craft beer bars – I had one take home (or take-hotel?) selection that I enjoyed in a break between conference activities and the evening events while enjoying a downtown view from a window seat in my room. This was a solid, malty red/amber ale.
And my last taste of craft beer in Montreal came at YUL as I waited for my long day of flying back across the country to Saskatoon (I do miss the easy direct Montreal-Halifax flights). I wasn’t expecting a craft beer bar in the airport, so I was very happy to have an Archibald La Joufflue witbier to help pass the time before my boarding call. Not a bad way to cap a few days of craft beer sampling squeezed in around a mostly work trip to one of my favourite cities in the world!