No. 147 – Le Trefle Noir Hurlevent

No. 147 – Le Trefle Noir Hurlevent

Only one or two Le Trefle Noir beers to go…

2017-05-16 - 147 - Le Trefle Noir Hurlevent poured. _500beers

This is a dark ale in the Belgian style, which to me just means that it is strong.  And it does have a bit of a kick to it.  The picture above doesn’t really do it justice, due to fact I was too lazy to adjust the lighting but it does look good in the glass – brown but golden.  The aroma as the description suggests does warm the nose, it smells really sweet, the caramel coming through instantly.  This probably highlights the importance of serving beer at the correct temperature.

It tastes surprisingly, or worryingly, light and easy to drink for a strong beer and I noticed the effect pretty quickly.  The caramel sweetness of the aroma comes through strongly in the taste and leaves a warmth in the mouth and throat that lingers for a long time, as the description promises.  This is another very good beer.

2017-05-16 - 147 - Le Trefle Noir Hurlevent desc. _500beers

Yes, it is good.
Yes, it is worth the price.
Yes, it does what it says.
Yes, it has that certain je ne sais quoi.
Yes, I would drink it again.
Yes, I would recommend it.
Yes, I would go out of my way for it.
Yes, I would go out in a snowstorm for it.


Another very good mark for my current favourite beer makers.

No. 146 – Le BockAle’s L’Idyllique

No. 146 – Le BockAle’s L’Idyllique

I picked this on a visit to a store in Verdun, on a friend’s recommendation.  That store is Maltéhops and I will likely visit it again.  I was in the mood for something refreshing as it is unfortunately becoming quite warm in Montreal and I’m more of a Winter person so I chose a white beer…

2017-05-14 - 146 - Le BockAle L'Idyllique poured _500beers

I’ve previously tasted and given decent marks to Le BockAle’s L’Europhique, Fana and Candide so with this I was expecting to be giving at least five yeses and probably more.  It looks good, nice colour and it keeps it’s head longer than some other white beers I’ve had.  The aroma isn’t particularly noteworthy, which I am noting nonetheless.

It has hints of orange as you would expect but this is quite subtle and maybe would have been helped with a slice of orange.  I did find it quite refreshing though and as a remedy to a warm day, it worked well.  The description ‘vague blanche’ does match the feeling of the drink.  There’s just nothing too distinctive about it.  Other white beers that I have tried up to this point and have given good marks to have had more flavour and have been refreshing as well.  So, it gets marks for being decent but nothing special.

2017-05-14 - 146 - Le BockAle L'Idyllique label _500beers

Yes, it is fine or at least it is not bad.  Yes, it was worth about $5. Yes, it is it promises what it says.  Yes, I would probably drink it again and Yes, I’d recommend giving it a go – particularly on a very warm day.  5/11

So a third 5/11 for Le BockAle to go with a strong 7/11  – this would seem to reflect my preference for darker beers, thought perhaps that will change to a preference for whites and lagers as we move towards the Summer.  On verra.


Nos. 144 & 145 – St. Ambroise Red & Black IPA

Nos. 144 & 145 – St. Ambroise Red & Black IPA

I spent about fifteen minutes at my local Métro wondering if I had already tried St. Ambroise Red before I admitted that I didn’t know and checked my list.  Thank God for the list.  I like lists.  Anyway, two more fine St. Ambroise beers from the McAuslan Brewery

No. 144 – St. Ambroise Red

This beer looks gorgeous.  The lighting in the photo accentuates it a little, but there was red, amber, orange, brown, gold and a creamy head.  Gorgeous indeed, to the point that I was reluctant to drink it.  I did though.  It is smoother than other red ales I’ve tried so far and it reminded me somewhat of their cream ale, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.  I like a certain roughness or fizz in a red ale, which you don’t really get with this.  Then again, I’ve grown to love cream ales and smoother porters and stouts.  This beer I suppose bridges the gap.
2017-05-13 - 144 - St. Ambroise Red desc. _500beers It gets a very good 8/11 for the following…
Being good, reasonably priced and accurate enough.
Having something different, drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.
And because I would go out of my way for this, even in a snowstorm.

No. 145 – St. Ambroise Black IPA

The first black IPA I have tasted as far as I recall.
Firstly, I really like the tin, it’s a small thing but to me it just looks cool.  The beer when poured looks really good as well, dark, almost like an oil painting.  Before tasting, I was trying to think of what a hopped up porter would taste like.  An immediate hoppy taste followed by chocolate and coffee hints.

I was right.
The hops are immediately evident but rather than a lighter, fruitier or even almost chemical taste following up (as I’ve had with other IPAs), there is a thicker smoother taste that you would expect with any porter.  This was a pleasant surprise.  On buying the beer, I had thought that I’d give it a go but I didn’t expect to like it.

2017-05-14 - 145 - St. Ambroise Black IPA desc _500beers
It gets a solid 7/11 which is now average for porters and stouts.
It is…
Good, well-priced, accurate, different.
I would…
Drink it again, recommend it and go a block out of my way for it.

This has been a very good two weeks for beer tasting.  The St. Ambroise range so far are all pretty good.

No. 143 – Le Trefle Noir Quadriporter

No. 143 – Le Trefle Noir Quadriporter

The word ‘smoked’ brings back memories of hearing or saying the phrase ‘it’s very fumé indeed’ a lot at a drinking session in the past and of scrubbing my mouth to try to get rid of the taste of smoky beer the morning after.  I am therefore always sceptical when I see this word in relation to beer.  However, so far I have not gone wrong with a beer from Le Trefle Noir…


It has all the qualities of a porter with a subtle smoky hint that comes through nicely in the aftertaste.  My first thoughts when drinking it were ‘rich’ and ‘subtle’, two words that don’t necessarily go together.

It’s pours beautifully and settles with a medium bubbly head and the aroma is that of a fine porter with hints of chocolate and coffee.  There was a surprising fizz on the tongue at the first gulp, which is strange for this kind of beer – presumably this is from the smoked rye.  Despite this, the taste makes me think of burnt coffee (something I used to do a lot as a barista).  The smoked rye flavour comes through subtly in the aftertaste and was surprisingly good.

2017-05-12 - 143 - Le Trefle Noir Quadriporter desc. _500beers

To the ratings…

Yes, it is good!

Yes, it was worth $5.50!

Yes, I would drink it again!

Yes, I would recommend it!

Yes, it matches it’s description!

Yes, it has something a little different about it!

Yes, I’d go a block or two out of my way for it!


Another stout/porter with another good mark and another Le Trefle Noir with a good mark.



Nos. 139 – 142 – Le Cheval Blanc

Nos. 139 – 142 – Le Cheval Blanc

Two swift pints after eleven hours at work turned into four…

Le Cheval Blanc is a bar that I’d only been to on one occasion before, and I don’t remember much about that particular evening.  It’s in a pretty good location, seems to always be busy (from what I hear) and has cheap beers which are pretty good.  Also, I like the way the bar is set up, it reminds me of a bar back home, which is always a bonus…

No. 139 – Stout
2017-05-11 - 139 - Cheval Blanc Stout à l'azote _500beers

I started out with a stout as I have been drinking a lot of stouts and porters recently.  This is pretty much Guinness.  I don’t think that I could tell the two apart in a blind tasting.  This is not a bad thing however, as it costs about $3 less than a pint of Guinness.  Yes, it’s good.  Yes, the price is good.  Yes, it’s accurate (can’t really go too far wrong with the name Stout).  Yes, I would drink it again and based on the price, Yes, I would recommend it.  Yes, I’d go a few blocks out of my way for this, based on the price and the ambiance of the bar as well.  6/11


No. 140 – Cream Ale

2017-05-11 - 140 - Chevel Blanc Cream Ale à l'azote _500beers

This is a really nice beer and I wish that I had made a few notes at the time.  From memory, the aroma was somewhat fruity, promising a refreshing ale with plenty of flavour and it did not disappoint.  Yes, it is very good.  Yes, it is more than worth the price.  Yes, it matches it’s description.  Yes, it has something different and interesting about it.  Yes, I would drink it again and Yes I would recommend it.  Yes, I would go out of my way for this as well.  7/11




No. 141 – Ambrée and No. 142 – Blanche

I maybe should have gone home after the first two beers, that is unfortunately usually very difficult to do.  The Ambrée is fine, nothing special about it apart from the price being more than reasonable so it gets a decent 5/11 for being good, for the price, for accuracy of description, for drink-again and recommend-ability.  The blanche was also fine, but I’m only giving it the 4/11 for being fine, cheap, accurate and for the fact that I may drink it again.  There was nothing special to it, which was a little disappointing after the first two beers being pretty good.

I definitely recommend Le Cheval Blanc if you fancy a reasonably priced beer and a good atmosphere.  Start with the cream ale!

Nos. 136 – 138 – L’Aventure from Les Brasseurs RJ

Nos. 136 – 138 – L’Aventure from Les Brasseurs RJ

Another case of purchasing beers just because I like the labels…

I’ve so far tried three beers from Les Brasseurs RJ, none of which are online yet but they have gotten two very good marks and one bad mark.  The good marks helped push me towards buying this selection pack from my local Métro.

No. 136 – Lochness

This is a scotch that probably suffers from the fact that number 135 was a scotch ale and is the best beer I’ve tasted so far this year.  The colour is good and the aroma was pleasant but not as warm as O’Born Evil.  To taste, it is quite good, bitter with a hint of scotch.  The problem is that it seems somewhat light for a strong beer and the flavour lacks a warmth that I would now expect in a scotch ale.  Yes, it is good and Yes the description is accurate.  There is another Yes for the price and Yes I would drink it again.  Yes, I’d recommend trying it as it was reasonably priced and as there is nothing wrong with it – it just lacks that certain something.  5/11

No. 137 – Canon

This doppelbock gets a theoretical bonus point for forcing me to look up what ‘doppelbock’ actually means.  I had assumed that ‘doppel’ is ‘double’ and a visit to Berlin zoo informed me that a ‘bock’ is a goat or something similar.  ‘Doublegoat’ seems strange to me.  This is however a somewhat dark strong lager.

Anyway, this is a fine beer and the best part of this selection by a good distance.  I was taken with how glorious it looked in the glass in sunlight, which is always a good start.  To drink, it reminded me somewhat of the scotch ale but better with a nice sweetness to it.  Again, this seemed too easy to drink for a strong beer, which I suppose is good thing.  Yes, it is good.  Yes, I will drink it again.  Yes, I would recommend it.  Yes, it’s worth the price.  Yes, the description (or my understanding of doppelbock) is accurate, I’m also giving it a Yes for having something a little different – the hint of the scotch ale really struck me.  Yes, I would go out of my way for a six-pack if the mood took me.  A solid 7/11.

No. 138 – Death Valley

“Hop lovers, rejoice!”

I’m not particularly into very hoppy beers.  Drinking IPAs and beers labelled as ‘triple hop’ is however a necessary evil when trying to drink 500 different types of beer in a year, particularly in Montreal so it would seem.

Death Valley was actually a pleasant surprise.  Full bodied with a strong lively orange colour and light fizzy head.  It is quite hoppy of course but this did not put me off.  There are hints of fruit in the flavour, which made me think of some stronger white beers that I’ve tried so far this year.  It get Yeses for the following – being good, nice price, drink-again-ability (that’s now a word), description, recommend-ability (so is that), having something different or surprising.  6/11 

This is a pretty good showing and I would recommend the selection pack for anybody seeking a couple of different stronger beers.

No. 135 – Le Trefle Noir’s O’Born Evil

No. 135 – Le Trefle Noir’s O’Born Evil

This is the third beer I’ve tasted from Le Trefle Noir.  The first was their Stout, which got a very impressive 8/11 and the second was their Le Chronique Red Ale with a very respectable 6/11 (I still have to write up notes on that one).  This one just may be the best beer I’ve had so far…

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil image poured _500beers

This pours like a stout and the colour is very similar too.  I didn’t notice the hints of red mentioned in the description and that seem to be characteristic of the other scotch ales I’ve tried so far but that’s not really the point.  At 8.7% this is a pretty strong beer and the aroma reflects this.  The scent is warm and brings back memories of whiskey shots but it is also gentle almost like whiskey liqueur – the sort that you get in chocolates around Christmas time.  Before even tasting it, it made me think of sitting in a proper bar back home with a fireplace while the snow falls on a cold winter day.  These associations before even tasting the beer mean that it has something special to it.

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil image _500beers

Taste-wise, this was sublime.  It is very smooth, full of those caramel and toffee flavours that the description promises but it was also somewhat subtle for a stronger beer.  There was also that slight burn that you get with a whiskey after every gulp that warms the body.  Having had what I’d consider to be the ideal Summer beer only three days ago, I would suggest that this is the perfect Winter beer.  The aftertaste is also quite pleasant, like a good red wine, or even like a good liqueur chocolate it seems to linger on the tongue.  The gift that keeps giving.  I really like this beer.

To the scoring…

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil desc. _500beers

Yes, this is good.  Yes, I will drink it again and Yes, I would recommend it.  Yes for the price, I’d easily pay more than double for this.  Yes, it perfectly matches the description and Yes, it has that little something extra that makes it interesting or different.  So it gets all the standard marks now to separate the average from the amazing…

Yes, I’d go out of my way for this and given that it is now my new Winter beer, Yes, I would definitely go out in a snowstorm for it.  I would fight a bear for this, even a big one in a bad mood, so that’s another Yes and only the second beer to get this far.  I believe that I would even go out of my way to fight that bear, so this is the first beer that gets that tenth Yes.  I’m going to resist giving it that eleventh yes for the moment, but may revisit this one once I’ve tried a few more hundred beers to see if I still feel the same way.

So, we have a new leader with 10/11, O’Born Evil is the finest beer out of the 135 different beers I’ve tried this year.



No. 134 – St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

No. 134 – St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

I probably spent more time photographing this beer than I did actually drinking it. 

2017-05-01 - 134 - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout poured _500beers

Another St. Ambroise beer and another good mark.  This one pours like a dream.  The head is frothy but dark and full of flavour.  It smells of strong coffee, the sort that you need first thing in the morning.  To drink, it is not too heavy or thick as some stouts tend to be, particularly the other oatmeal stout that I have tried so far, and the taste matches the aroma.  This actually reminds me of the time I worked in a café-bar in Belfast and had access to as much coffee as I wanted (well, I drank all the coffees that I screwed up, which was a lot).  I remember having the taste of coffee lingering around twenty-four hours a day and the taste of this beer brings that back vividly.

2017-05-01 - 134 - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout head 2 _500beers

It gets a Yes for being good.  It’s Another Yes for the price too, well worth the $3 or $4 I paid for it at Métro.  The description is a difficult one as it’s not very ‘oatmeally’ or at least it’s nothing like any oatmeal stout I’ve had before.  I am however, not going to mark it down and so will give it another Yes for the description.  It gets a Yes for having that little something different as well – it’s definitely not just a run of the mill stout.  Yes, I will drink it again and Yes I would recommend it to others.  On first thoughts, I was happy with a six out of eleven, however upon further consideration I’m going to give it a final Yes, I’m sure that I would go out of my way for this.

2017-05-01 - 134 - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout desc. _500beers

So far St. Ambroise have been very consistent, this one gets a 7/11.  Their average mark so far is 7.6/11.  I cannot wait to try out the rest of their beers.