Category Archives: Bars

Advent Calendar Nos. 467 – 469 + 471

Advent Calendar

I have almost finished my challenge, in fact it will be finished on 20th December.  That will mean that I will have tried 500 different beers in 353 days (taking into account that I didn’t start until 2nd January).

With it being the festive season, various beer shops have been offering beer advent calendars.  I got mine from Veux-tu une bière?  Who were happy to customise it to not include anything that I have already tasted this year.  This means that I have under my tree a new beer for each day up to Christmas Eve.  Needless to say, as I would with a traditional sweat filled advent calendar I will be finishing it early. 

Oh the joy of waking up, grabbing out a surprise beer and dreaming of it all day in work until I get home to drink it!

Nos. 467 – 469 + 471

At the time of writing it is 5th December and I have tasted the first five of these beers, however I’m only going to write about four of them for the minute as I am currently enjoying my Dominus Vobiscum Triple from Microbrasserie Charlevoix.

No. 467 – Vrooden Dunkel
2017-12-02 - 467 - Vrooden Dunkel poured _500beers
I’ve seen Vrooden beers around a lot lately but have never been tempted to try one.  I regret that.  Their Dunkel is a really good brown ale.  The aroma is a little grainy and hoppy, while also carrying a little hint of caramel.  It is very smooth in the mouth.  A very nicely balanced brown ale, bordering on red.  It’s got a little hoppy hit but tastes a little creamy.  It’s a great beer that I would recommend to newcomers to brown ales.  7/11.

No. 468 – Shelton Saison Sure Houblonnée
2017-12-03 - 468 - Shelton Saison Sure Houblonnée poured _500beers
One of the reasons I got the advent calendar was to get beers I would not choose by myself.  This is one of those beers.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t necessarily like sour beers so finding an accessible sour beer is always good.  This is quite a good beer all in all.  It is sour, with strong hints of grapefruit and a tropical lilt to it.  It is in no way overwhelming however and was easy enough to drink.  It felt a little closer to an IPA with accented sourness rather than a sour beer (if that makes sense).  5/11.

No. 469 – Malstrom IXPL des Prairies
2017-12-03 - 469 - Malstrom IXPL des Prairies poured _500beers
This is an odd beer.  I would have expected it to taste less bitter than an IPA and lighter than a decent lager.  It tastes like a particularly bitter IPA and the cumulative effect of drinking it made if feel like a double IPA.  Nice if you like hops and hoppy bitterness.  4/11.

No. 471 – L’Espace Public Kolschlaga
2017-12-05 - 471 - L'Espace Public Kolschlaga poured _500beers
I’ve had a few beers at L’Espace Public (I like that bar a lot) but have not written any of them up yet, thanks to a mixture of laziness and badly typed notes.  They were all pretty good though.  This one is also fine.  Funnily enough it tastes more how I would have imagined Malstrom’s India Extra Pale Lager to taste.  It’s quite light, tastes of grain and cereal, and has a very subtle hoppy undertone to it which is quite good.  It doesn’t have much life and has a medium texture, definitely not a light beer.  I’d drink it again – maybe in Summer.  4/11.

So that’s 4 beers down from my advent calendar, another update on that in a few days.

 

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Comme Si, comme ça – Nos. 449 – 453

Comme Si, comme ça

I’ve been to Sherbrooke several times over the last year and always had the intention of visiting Si-Boire at the bus station for a few beers.  Fortunately, there’s a Si-Boire in the plateau, not too far from the orange line.  I was there last night for two beers to bring my total up to 450, I ended up having five…

No. 449 – Quaker Stout
2017-11-22 - 449 - Si-Boire Quaker Stout _500beers

This stout was described as an oatmeal stout, but felt much more like a milk stout, which was a little disappointing as I haven’t had an oatmeal stout for a while.  It had a lightly creamy head with  mild hints of coffee coming through.  To be honest it tasted like a decent Guinness, not a great one but it wasn’t bad either.   It’s an odd one to mark, because it’s good, it’s not entirely accurate but it is worth the price and I would drink it again.  It’s a little comme si comme ça!  I’m can’t give it more than 5/11.

No. 450 – Mcamen
2017-11-22 - 450 - Si-Boire Mcamen Scotch Ale _500beers

The big 450 was always going to be a scotch ale.  This one was somewhat weaker than the scotch ales I’ve tasted at home at only 7% but was still fine.  It felt a little more like a fortified red ale.  There were hints of caramel or toffee and a little sweetness in the aroma and the taste.  It did not have the warmth that I like in a scotch ale unfortunately but it did have the advantage of being a scotch ale that is accessible to those who don’t like their beers too strong.  I’m giving it a 6/11.

No. 451 – Ingénieuse
2017-11-22 - 451 - Si-Boire Ingénieuse _500beers

Where do you go after a stout and a scotch ale?  Red ale of course.  This is an Irish style red ale, which in all honesty was not too dissimilar from the scotch ale.  A decent red with hints of caramel and a nice balance between the sweet and the bitter.  Fine but not great again – it is the theme after all. 5/11.

No. 452 – Hops ‘n’ Cream
2017-11-2 - 452 - Si-Boire Hops n Cream _500beers

I decided to try this one as it was another hybrid that I haven’t seen or tasted before – an IPA/cream ale mix.  A little hoppy floral scent comes through the very thick creamy head which was a first for a cream ale for me.  To taste, it has a really nice thick creamy texture and tastes initially like a decent cream ale – but then there’s that lightly bitter floral hoppy aftertaste that comes through.  This was a little bit different from the other cream ales I’ve had so I was impressed with it – I’m giving it 7/11 as it is a decent beer with a little something different about it.  I would recommend it.

No. 453 – InsPirAtion
2017-11-23 - 453 - Si-Boire InsPirAtion _500beers
Well, this is a first, I got drunk and forgot to take a picture of a beer.  The proof is my receipt!  InsPirAtion is a decent fruity IPA.  That’s all I have to say about it as my notes are quite frankly unreadable.  I do however remember that it wasn’t bad, and wasn’t great.  5/11.

And so that is Si-Boire, a bar with decent beers that I would recommend trying out.

47 to go.

 

 

Lightside/Darkside – Chambly Beer Festival, part one

Lightside/Darkside – Chambly Beer Festival, part one

It seems like a couple of months since I was strolling around Chambly tasting beers in the sun and indeed it was.  It has taken me almost two months to get around to writing up a few notes on the eleven beers I tried that day at the beer festival with memory fading, however a few of the beers really stood out…

Lightside

No. 315 – Les 2 Frères Charles Henri Blanche
2017-09-02 - 315 - Les 2 Frères Charles Henri Blanche _500beers
It started with a blanche.  After having walked from a car park quite far from the site of the festival I was rather parched and so a light refreshing beer was in order.  This is a very bubbly white beer, with a strong fruity aroma and was the perfect starter. It is not as heavy as some white beers tend to be, as you can see in the picture it is a lighter more transparent colour. It is very refreshing and hints of citrus come through subtly in the flavour. Well worth a try – 7/11.

Nos. 316 and 319 – Le Trefle Noir El Sicimo and Z’Aleda (A link to the cask)

I chose Le Trefle Noir’s El Sicimo after the Charles Henri Blanche to take a step up in bitterness.  It was however a little disappointing.  It looks decent, and has a strong aroma – I got pineapple from it.  Taste-wise though it was a little overwhelmingly bitter and a little heavy in the throat afterwards.  It’s getting 3.5, which is difficult as the only other Trefle Noir beer to get such a low mark was their Gosebuster – which is a style of beer that I just don’t like that much.

While waiting for El Sicimo I noticed that Z’Aleda would be available at 3pm.  Being somewhat of a geek about A Link to the Past, I had to try this.  I regret that now.  It was actually a joint venture with Lagabière and Le Memphré if my notes do not deceive me.  The aroma is good, with a nice hint of pineapple.  The taste was unfortunately quite bland, a little hoppy but the promise of the aroma was sadly lacking.  2/11.

No. 320. Brasseurs Illimités Simple Malt Thorador
2017-09-02 - 320 - Brasseurs Illimités Simple Malt Thorador _500beers

Not too many notes on this one!  What I did write on the day…
‘Nice beer, it’s malty at first then the hops come through with a deep bitterness.  It’s somewhat layered – probably worth trying by the bottle.’  I gave it 5/11, I may revisit it in January when I do the beer-off.

Nos. 322 and 323 – Dieu du Ciel’s Immoralité and Genèse
2017-09-02 - Dieu du Ciel _500beers

I was looking forward to Dieu du Ciel as I was looking to pick up a glass but they didn’t have any for sale!

In any case, both these beers got a decent 5/11.

Immoralité was a nice imperial IPA with a fruity aroma and decent flavour, I didn’t think it was anything special though.  This is possibly another beer to revisit as I’ve taken to Imperial IPAs over the last two or so weeks.

Genèse is an apricot tripel.  It’s definitely tripel and it definitely has some apricot in the aroma but it didn’t come through to strongly in the taste.  Decent but I’m not sure I would bother to retry it.  My favourite apricot beer is the St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale.

So that’s the lightside of Chambly sorted, a really good white beer found and a couple of other decent 5/11s.  Unsurprisingly, if you’ve read anything I’ve written so far, the darkside gets better marks.  Next time, some porter, some black IPA, some dopplebock and a brown ale.

 

A day in the life

A day in the life

5am – wake up, hit snooze, repeat every 15 minutes until…

7.15am – wake up, get up, shower and have breakfast – lots of milk to balance out the acidity of the night before’s beer…

8.15am – blue line, orange line, green line…

9.10am – work, while pondering whether or not to take a long lunch and go in search of beers…

11.55am – go in search of beers, a little trip to Maltehops on Wellington in Verdun – picked up a Trefle Noir, a Bilboquet and something I’ve not heard of before…

12.45pm – work…

6.05pm – leg it to the bar for a micro-brewery evening…

7.00pm – take the following uselessly blurry picture of the beer menu…
2017-10-25 - Et Oh _500beers

7.10pm – No. 409 – EtOh’s Robust Brown Ale
2017-10-25 - 409 - Et Oh Robust Brown Ale _500beers

After trying a few times to take a picture of the beer without somebody putting their middle finger in the way I finally tasted this.  It’s ok, I didn’t really get any caramel or toffee from it, rather a little warmth hinting at a scotch ale.  When I say a little I mean a little.   It was a fine beer with a strong deep bitterness to it but it lacked that sweetness that I like in a brown ale, before the bitterness.  However, it will get a pretty good 6/11.

7.40ish pm – No. 410 – EtOh’s Ale Rousse Fumé
2017-10-25 - 410 - Et Oh Ale Rousse Fumé _500beers

The picture doesn’t really do it justice, it wasn’t as muddy as it seems here.  This was actually going to be my first choice but the waiter came over when I wasn’t really paying attention so I order the beer that I could remember best.  The aroma was a mixture of pumpkin, cinnamon and something else a little strange.  To taste, it was like a light red ale, not much toffee or sweetness but a nicely balanced smokey flavour.  I’ve had smoked beers in the past that have lingered for days but this was just right.  I liked this one as well, it’s also going to get a 6/11 – well worth trying.

8.20pm – leave the bar in search of pizza…

8.30pm – find pizza and get home asap…

9pm – eat pizza while writing up the day!

I’ve been to EtOh in the past a few times and never had a really good beer there, so this evening was somewhat better than expected to the extent that I may go back to try some more.

Back Home 1 – Belfast Pub Crawl

Back Home 1 – Belfast Pub Crawl

A giant fish and a slanty clock – I miss Belfast!

I went back home in May for a week or so and profited from the trip by trying sixteen beers I haven’t seen in Montreal.  I’ll post about the several beers I tried at home and in a couple of bars in Antrim at some point, but first here are a few beers I tried on a mini pub crawl in Belfast on a perfect Saturday afternoon in May…

Number 153 – Whitewater Brewery’s Belfast Black
2017-05-20 - 153 - Whitewater Brewing Co. Belfast Black 2 _500beers _belfast

The drinking started at McHugh’s bar and as usual I started with a stout.  Whitewater Brewery, not to be confused with Whitewater Brewing Co. (a Canadian brewery), have made a really great stout here.  It’s got a creamy light head that fizzles on the tongue and has mild hints of coffee.  The creaminess coats the mouth and the flavour builds with each gulp, it’s just like a good Guinness.  It gets a solid 8/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, having something different (in this case surprising – I didn’t expect it to be that good), for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for it in a snowstorm or heatwave.  Indeed, I travelled 3000 miles for it.

Number 154 – Clonmel 1650 Pale Ale
2017-05-20 - 154 - Clonmel 1650 _500beers _belfast

Also at McHugh’s, this is a beer that like several others that I noticed around the bars of Antrim seems to have appeared everything over the four years that I’ve been in Canada.  I’ve confirmed that it is definitely a pale ale/lager though it was very light.  I got a hint of apple from the beer and it felt a bit more like a cider in that it was very fizzy, like lemonade almost.  I originally gave it 1.5/11, but I’m going to round that up to 2/11, I remember it not being great, but I’ve tried a few appley beers since and I may have been overly harsh on this one.

Number 154 – Stella 4
2017-05-20 - 155 - Stella 4.2 _500beers _belfast

The final beer at McHugh’s was Stella 4, which is definitely different from Stella Artois, I think.  Well that’s what the advertising campaign said when it first was released.  It’s supposed to be a lighter, smoother, slightly more classy lager than the regular Stella Artois.  I’m not going to bother researching but I think the 4 is for 4%.  It is a fine lager and gets a 5/11 in any case.

Numbers 155 and 156 – Smithwick’s Blonde Ale and Pale Ale

The next bar I went to was the Cloth Ear, I place I had been to on a few occasions in the past, mostly to take advantage of happy hour prices on work nights out.  Here, I found that they had other varieties of Smithwick’s.  I drink Smithwick’s red ale regularly, and tried it earlier this year but am still to write about it – it is a good beer.  The blonde ale and the pale ale were both also quite good beers.  The blonde was quite malty and had a thicker texture than a lot of the other blondes I’ve tasted, it also had a hint of caramel, hinting at the taste of the red ale.  It gets a good 6/11.  The pale ale was a little more hoppy, but light and refreshing.  It gets 5/11.

Number 157 – Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA
2017-05-20 - 158 Franciscan Well Chieftan _500beers _belfast

I had this pint at the Harp Bar and after that it started to get blurry.  Looking at the Franciscan Well webpage, this seems to be an IPA, but it seemed much more like a blonde ale – again with hints of caramel to it.  It was however also quite fruity, which was very good indeed.  I gave it 7/11 for being good, worth the price, accuracy, for being a little different, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for it.

The pub crawl continued on to the Duke of York bar, a bar that I don’t know and finally the Crown bar before I got the bus home.  I don’t remember getting the bus home though.  I tried at least one other beer I hadn’t tasted before but didn’t make notes so it is lost to history!

More to follow in my next post.

Brutopia – great place for a leaving party

Brutopia – great place for a leaving party

I realised at the weekend that even though there is a list of the beers I’ve had so far it is still difficult to find that information quickly.  So, to resolve this I need to do more posts and have a few more summary pages for the microbreweries I drink from the most.  This first post along this theme focuses on several trips I have made to Brutopia this year with reviews ranging from minimalist to slightly less minimalist…

2017-08-25 - Brutopia beer list _500beers

So far at Brutopia I have tried their…
Scotch Ale, Raspberry White, Extra Blonde, Honey Brown, Korova Milk Stout, Honey Beer, IPA, APA, Cherry Wheat, Nut Brown, Oatmeal Stout and Speculaas Pumpkin Ale.

No. 17 – Brutopia’s Scotch Ale
2017-01-15 - 17 - Brutopia Scotch Ale _500beers

I enjoyed this one cold and wintery day back in January, even though the winter wasn’t particularly bad, it was still necessary to warm up with a good Scotch Ale once in a while.  I have no notes on this unfortunately, just the rating 6/11 – which means it is worth trying and something that I am curious to try again this winter.

No. 93 – Brutopia’s Extra Blonde
2017-03-26 - 93 - Brutopia Extra Blonde _500beers
I tried this one in March, again I don’t have any notes, but I do recall that it was a decent blonde beer.  I had given it a 5/11, which tells me that it is worth trying but nothing too special.

Nos. 164 – 166 – Brutopia’s Honey Brown, Korova Milk Stout and Honey Beer

I tried these beers the day after I got back from my trip back home to Northern Ireland at a leaving party for a friend.  T’was a good evening, and the beers were fine.

These all get a 6/11, I’ve mentioned before that the Honey Brown and Nut Brown were pretty much the first microbrewery beers that I ever tried.   The Milk Stout was particularly good, not too thick but creamy and somewhat Guinness like.

No. 301 – 303 – Brutopia’s IPA, APA and Cherry Wheat

I tried these towards the end of August, at another friend’s leaving do – I also made some notes…

My overall impression of the IPA was that it is quite malty for an IPA, I got a hint of caramel from it, but the hoppyness comes through in the aftertaste and builds with each sup – 6/11.  The APA didn’t really come across as a pale ale, more of a blonde, but it was fine – 5/11.  Finally, the Cherry Wheat, the real treat of the night.  This smells of sweets, of amaretto and of Battenberg cake.  It’s almost a little too sweet smelling.  To taste it has an instant hit of marzipan.  The other people I was with thought it was a bit odd, but I quite liked this.  Maybe it would be difficult to drink several pints of it but definitely for a one-off this is a good beer.  I gave it 6/11 initially, but I’m upgrading it to 7/11 now.

No. 334 – Brutopia’s Nut Brown
2017-09-09 - 334 - Brutopia Nut Brown _500beers
I stumbled into Brutopia on a pub crawl recently and tried this (this is the time I referred to above where I couldn’t figure out what I’d already tried – made more difficult by my level of drunkenness at the time).  This gets 6/11, a pretty good beer, very good if you like that style.

Nos. 341 and 342 – Brutopia’s Oatmeal Stout and Speculaas Pumpkin Ale

And so, I went to Brutopia last night for another friend’s leaving do…

The oatmeal stout had a thick head that looked like oatmeal cereal but which disappeared in a few seconds.  It’s a thick stout, with light hints of roasted coffee and a deep aftertaste which is oddly refreshing.  It’s getting a 6.5/11.

The pumpkin ale, has a nice aroma, cinnamon and possibly pumpkin (I don’t really know what pumpkin smells like).  The beer itself is quite good, with most of the flavour coming in the aftertaste and building with each drink.  Definitely the best pumpkin ale I’ve had this year (for the other, click here).  It gets 7/11.

So that’s Brutopia so far, a mixture of decent beers and a couple of strong seasonal beers with something different.

 

3 From Les Trois Brasseurs

3 From Les Trois Brasseurs

A quick mention for Les Trois Brasseurs, or the Three Brewers if you’re in Ottawa.

I visited their St. Catherine/Crescent location on Saturday after a day at the Chambly Beer Festival (write up to follow).  It’s s place I’ve been to on a few occasions in the past and always liked somewhat.  This year so far, I had only visited the St. Denis location and tried their brown ale, so an opportunity to try others was hard to resist…

Nos. 326 – 328 – Les Trois Brasseurs Stout, Amber and Blonde

None of these live up to the Brown Ale that I tried earlier in the year at the St. Denis location, but having said that, they’re not bad.

The stout has a creamy thick head and is in effect very much a Guinness style beer.  It’s pretty good if that’s what you’re after and I’m giving it a 6/11.  If I really fancied this type of beer (a standard stout without those extra coffee flavours), I would probably just go and grab a good Guinness somewhere.

The Amber and the Blonde ale were both a little disappointing.  Appearance wise they are not that different, which tells you more about the potential flavour of the amber ale than the blonde.  It was a little weak, fine for drinking with a meal in that the flavours will not overwhelm anything, but only enough to get a 4/11.  The blonde was a decent blonde ale, but lacked anything special that would give it a higher than average mark.  Again, it’s probably fine for accompanying a meal, it’s not going to be overwhelming but if you’re just out to enjoy good beer, it won’t sate your thirst.  Also a 4/11.

That’s four from Les Trois Brasseurs to date.  It’s a fine place, but not special for tasting beers, which is disappointing on consideration of the Brown Ale.  If I find myself there again this year trying a new beer it will be opportunism rather than choice.