Birra, part 2

Birra, part 2

One beer last night turned into five.  Fortunately, there were a few good discoveries…

No. 308 – Dieu du Ciel Déesse Nocturne

2017-08-30 - 308 - Dieu du Ciel Déesse Nocturne _500beers

As you can tell by the picture, the head on this one was immense.  It was thick, like a roasted mousse – which is meant to sound like a good thing.  Taste-wise, this is the closest stout to Guinness that I have tasted from Dieu du Ciel, also a good thing.  There is more emphasis on roasted coffee in this and I found it maybe a little too rich.  It is however a fine stout.  It gets a solid 7/11 for being good, well worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  It gets another two yeses for the fact that I would go out of my way for it and go out in a snowstorm.

No. 309 – Birra Camilla

2017-08-30 - 309 - Birra Camilla _500beers

This is a bitter blonde with an aroma that seems like a blonde ale and a taste that brings out peanuts.  I was surprised on tasting this to get a reasonably strong taste of peanuts, or at least peanut butter, which is something different.  It’s a refreshing blonde ale with a little extra bitterness and a unique twist.  This also gets a 7/11, I may be being generous here, but it had a certain je ne sais quoi.  It’s good, worth the price, accurate, a little different, I’d drink it again and recommend it and I would go out of my way for a pint of it.

No. 310 – Birra Dupont et Dupond Dubble

2017-08-30 - 310 - Birra Dupont et Dupond Dubble

This was the real treat of the night, a dubble with a deep rich sweetness.  I got a hint of berries in the aroma, which was very good.  The picture doesn’t really do the beer justice as I had to use the flash but it looks really good too.  It had a lovely texture, was easy to drink and quite refreshing.  I nice bittersweet aftertaste rounded off this delightful beer.  I’m giving it 7.5/11 as it was better than the previous two beers but I’m not sure that I would fight a bear for it.

No. 311 – La Succarsale Peach White

2017-08-30 - 311 - La Succarsale Peach White _500beers

This one looks peachy and the aroma is quite fruity with a little peach coming through.  It’s like a good white beer with a little peach twist in the taste.  It’s nicely balanced, kind of like drinking a fruit lollipop (or popsicle for north Americans I believe) and therefore somewhat refreshing.  It’s not to sweet or fruity either so I could easily have a few of these in a row in the right circumstances.  I’m giving it a 7/11 – it’s good, worth the price, accurate, a little different, I’d drink it again and recommend trying it and I may just go a little out of my way to try it again.

No. 312 – Birra Bob

2017-08-30 - 312 - Birra Bob _500beers

This was the final drink of the evening, which perhaps explains my lack of notes.  It’s an American Pale Ale, with a nice malty texture and a hoppy finish.  I don’t remember anything special about this, but it was a good APA.  A definite 5/11.

And so that is Birra.  I’ll maybe head back later in the year to check out there more Autumnal selection of beers.  But in between times, I’ll be catching up on writing up all of the other beers I’ve tried.


Birra, part 1

Birra, part 1

I’ve now been to Birra on two occasions, once way back in April as the weather was starting to become good again and last night for one quick beer after work.  I had five…

This first post covers the four beers I tried on my first visit.  Unsurprisingly, I can’t remember too many details but I think the ratings I gave them were fair.

No. 127 – Birra’s Anne

2017-04-25 - 127 - Anne Rousse de Seigle _Birra _500beers
This was a nicely balanced red ale with a little sweetness and hints of fruit leading to a nice mildly bitter finish.  An easy 6/11.

No. 128 – Birra’s Eve

2017-04-25 - 128 - Eve Dunkelweisen _Birra _500beers
This dunkelweissen style beer looked really good, a glowing brown with an appealing aroma.  It tasted quite light and had a nice mix of a little sweetness at the front of the mouth leading to a nice bitter sting at the end.  Similar to Anne, but not as good.  It gets a 5/11.

No. 129 – Saint Luke Lager

2017-04-25 - 129 - Saint Luke _Birra _500beers
It was a little difficult tracking down exactly what this beer is, I think it’s from the brewery Saint Luke not far from Montréal, rather than being a Birra beer.  In any case I’m not too fused about finding out more.  This was just a decent lager style beer with nothing special about it.  I gave it 4/11.

No. 130 – Microbrasserie du Lac St.Jean Rang 4 Stout

2017-04-25 - 130 - Rang 4 _Birra _500beers

The word that sprung to mind on trying this first was Mocha.  It had a nice chocolatey coffee aroma, but the beer itself was little light on these flavours.  Another decent stout but a little lighter than I prefer.  I gave it 6/11.

This was a decent evening with some promising beers and the bar is in a pretty nice location not too far from De Castelnau metro.  I would recommend giving it a go.


No. 300 – Lagabière’s Ordre de Toasts

No. 300 – Lagabière’s Ordre de Toasts

Almost there, only 200 more different beers to try before 31st December.  That works out at about 50 per month until the end of the year (I say about 50 per month because at the time of writing this, I’m now at 305 and I am likely to have a few more before the end of August).  It seems like a big number to try, but in my head this is the home straight and I cannot wait until 1st January!

2017-08-25 - 300 - Lagabière Ordre de Toasts _500beers

I chose this beer for the big number 300 as I had marked it out as something to try at the Laval Beer Festival but didn’t get around to tasting it.  I also went for a brown ale as I like to ensure that all the big ones (100, 200, 250, 300 etc) are good beers.

2017-08-25 - 300 - Lagabière Ordre de Toasts poured _500beers
I applied my new more rigorous tasting procedure to this one and ended up with the same magic c-words that I usually find in darker beers.  The aroma from a distance is like a light milk chocolate, very appealing.  On closer inspection, a hint of roasted malt and toast comes through.  A very good start.

The texture seemed somewhat light in comparison to some other brown ales I’ve tried this year, but this was not a negative.  The flavour that comes through most is that of roast coffee, I suppose this is the ‘toastyness’ that they refer to in the description.  It’s not too strong or overwhelming by any means and there is a nice bitterness in the back of the mouth.  It’s a really well balanced brown ale and of the other brown ales I’ve had, only the Trois Brasseurs Brown comes close.

It gets a strong 8/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, having that little something special, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go a block or two out of my way to pick up a bottle and go out in a snowstorm or heatwave.

And so, that is number 300 of 500, and another good choice.

3 from Le Trefle Noir

3 from Le Treble Noir

The tidy up continues, only another 152 beers to post after these ones…

No. 170 – Aigle Noir

I tried this one way back in May at a barbecue leaving do for a friend, the one who had been the organiser of the micro-brewery pub nights I had been attending somewhat regularly.  This was the second black IPA I tried after being very impressed and somewhat confused by the St. Ambroise Black IPA, so I was looking forward to something a little odd.  As you can see from the head on this one, it was a frothy coffee type porter, which smelled very hoppy indeed.  From my notes (all seven words that I wrote on the day), this came through in the flavour a little too much for it to be a great beer so I gave it 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, a little different, for drink-again-ability, and for recommend-ability.

No. 220 – California

Looking back at this one, which I tried at the start of July, probably when it was very warm outside, I’m quite surprised at the mark.  However, my notes are pretty complimentary so I’m going to stick with the mark I gave it.

It’s a citrus IPA, with an aroma that brings out roasted hops and citrus fruits.  It was almost like a tropical flavour lollipop (a thing I noted in a few similar beers in July).  This all came through in the flavour but it was odd as it was a little heavy, more like a white beer.  Ultimately, it was a refreshing hybrid of IPA and white beer, which I really liked.  I gave it 8/11 for being good, well worth the price, accurate, having something a little special, for drink-again-ability, for recommend-ability, for the fact that I would go out of my way for it and the fact that I would definitely go out in a heatwave to find a bottle.

No. 279 – Foublonne

This is another really good IPA from le Trefle Noir.  It smells like an IPA but there are also little hints of a malty caramel twang.  This comes through perfectly with each gulp.  It’s got a malty creamy texture on the tongue and the taste stays in the mouth a long time.  There are hints of citrus and a nice bitterness in the aftertaste, which balances out the hops and malt nicely.

This gets a 7/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, for drink-again-ability, for recommend-ability, and for the fact that I’d go out of my way to find a bottle and even go out in a heatwave for one.

I’ve had quite a lot of beers from Dieu du Ciel lately, to the extent that I’d forgotten how much I like Le Trefle Noir’s selection.  I have a bottle of their Joannes in the fridge to try soon – maybe they can make a really good Berliner weisse too…?


How to taste beer, sort of

How to taste beer, sort of

I’ve previously mentioned that I am no connoisseur of beer and that I do not wish to be. 


I watched a video on beer tasting and now I’m an expert.

I’m joking of course.  But I have become a little bit more interested in the tasting process and started to educate myself as a way to spot more differences in beers and to help me write about them and express myself better.  I’ve also learned some new words recently and found out how to play with colours in black and white pictures.  This all means that the posts from now on may be read a little better and also appear a little more varied.  Or not…

2017-08-20 - 292 - Dieu du Ciel Brise-Vent arty _500beers

No. 292 – Dieu du Ciel Brise-vent!

I didn’t know what to expect from this beer as I have no idea what sea buckthorn is.  So I continued in ignorance (that’s how I generally do things), and applied my new tasting methods.  This involves rather simply only pouring a couple of ounces into the glass, swirling it a lot to allow it to breathe and release the flavours, sniffing it a lot then drinking it slowly.  It’s not much but it seems to have made a difference as I found a lot more in this beer than I have with many others.  That could just of course be the magic of sea buckthorn.

2017-08-20 - 292 - Dieu du Ciel Brise-Vent poured _500beers

It’s a cloudy yellow colour with a bubbly fizzy head, as you can see, and on the nose, after extensive sniffing I got that it was sour.  Seriously, after all the build up, after watching serious people tasting beers and getting so much from the aroma alone, I got one word.  Though, I have had the cold, so that’s maybe somewhat forgivable.

Fortunately, on tasting I was able to glean a lot more from this beer.  It had a little sourness in it and was quite refreshing on first taste.  It felt more like a wine however.  The first thing I noticed was tannins hitting the back of my mouth like a red wine.  I haven’t noticed this in a beer before.  I then began to notice that the initial hit felt very much like a white wine.  I could feel the grapey-ness of a sauvignon blanc (something I am familiar with).  There was an acidity in this beer that also distinctly felt like a wine.  From the aroma, I had been expecting a berliner weisse style beer – a sort that I don’t really like, but from the taste I got a wine hybrid.

2017-08-20 - 292 - Dieu du Ciel Brise-Vent desc. _500beers

On googling sea buckthorn I saw that tannins are indeed present in sea buckthorn oil which possibly explains where I got that from, but the sense of drinking a white wine still bemuses me.  I’ll have to track down another beer made with sea buckthorn to compare.

This gets 7/11 for being good, for the price, for accuracy (the French description above does mention tannins and dryness), for having something different, for drink-again-ability, for recommend-ability and for the fact that I would go out of my way to try this again.

Something tells me this would go well with something spicy, Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese perhaps.

This beer was an experience, which was exactly the point of trying 500 different beers in a year.

Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Until a couple of Fridays ago, I’d been in Benelux on Sherbrooke twice in my life.  The first was in 2009 and involved cocktails (from what I recall), the second was almost three years ago for the first of many micro-brewery tour meet ups that I have gone to over the last few years.  So this was an untapped source of new beers.  I have now visited both the locations, the other being on Wellington in Verdun.  I definitely prefer the feel of the bar on Sherbrooke and would recommend it over the other…

No. 275 – Le Beat (Sherbrooke)
2017-08-04 - 275 - Benelux Le Beat _500beers

This is a standard black IPA, hops in the aroma and a little hoppy to taste.  The bitterness really comes through in the warm aftertaste.  Not much else to say on this one!  It gets a standard 5/11, for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 293 – Troy (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 293 - Benelux Troy _500beers

This one’s a little deceptive.  It’s pitched as a dry stout but doesn’t look like one, the picture was taken just after it was poured and the head and already disappeared.  The colour as well was also quite light.  I thought it was a little bland at first but it grew on me a bit.  There’s a nice chocolate/caramel character to this beer which seems to coat the mouth and make the drink more pleasurable which each gulp.  It’s getting 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate (this is a bit of a stretch, but they’re my marks so…), for having something a little unique, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 294 – Prélude (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 294 - Benelux Prélude _500beers

This is a very bright blonde ale that was surprisingly good.  It has a nice maltyness that coats the mouth and a little hit of bitterness from the hops.  It’s a nice balance.  I didn’t pick up on much else flavour wise, but this was a refreshing pint indeed.  I’m giving it 5.5/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The extra 0.5 of a Yes is for luck.

So, I’ve had three beers from Benelux and while there has been nothing outstanding as yet, they do have some decent beers and I will go back before the end of the year.  At least, I’ll go back to the Sherbrooke location.

Nos. 282 and 283 at Arcade MTL

Nos. 282 and 283 at Arcade MTL

I recently visited Arcade MTL on Saint Denis with low expectations about which beers I would find there.  I was expecting the standard bar fare but found a pretty decent selection of beers from Le Trou de Diable.  The games are free on Sunday’s so I spent a bit of time playing a few games while tasting two new beers…

2017-08-13 - Arcade Bar 2 _500beers _mtl

No. 282 – Le Trou de Diable La Saison du Tracteur

2017-08-13 - 282 - Le Trou de Diable La Saison du Tracteur _500beers

This is a strange blonde ale.  On tasting it, it was refreshing but full-bodied and the taste was quite confusing.  It seemed like they’d just put every berry or fruit imaginable in it and hoped for the best (or hopped for the best if you will…).  It was indeed quite hoppy and the flavour a little overwhelming, according to my vague notes.  On looking at the webpage for the beer, that strange flavour was passion fruit.  I’ve given this one 6/11 for being good, for the price, for accuracy (given retrospectively), for having something a little different, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 283 – Le Trou de Diable La Morsure

2017-08-13 - 283 - Le Trou de Diable La Morsure _500beers

Warning – I didn’t know the word ‘morsure’ so I decided to look it up.  If you are also curious, do not do a google image search on it.

Anyway, this was sold by the bottle at the bar and was a little expensive ($10).  It is however a decent IPA.  Good, full-bodied, hoppy a little bitter.  I don’t think that I would pay $10 for it again but I won’t hold that against it too much.  It’s a 5/11 for being good, for being accurate, and for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.  I’m being generous here and giving it the extra yes for the price, because I know that I can get it for less at the Métro.

So this was a fun couple of hours in the bar and a couple more decent beers from Le Trou de Diable.  If you like arcade games and beer, I’d recommend it.