Category Archives: Bars

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.

 

 

 

 

Pub Crawls, Nos. 203 – 205

Pub Crawls, Nos. 203 – 205

Two tips for going on a pub crawl…

1. Don’t organise the pub crawl.
2. Don’t drink beer before the pub crawl starts.

Towards the end of June I organised a pub crawl for Québec’s national holiday, the St Jean-Baptiste.  The emphasis was on hitting as many micro-breweries as possible.  This was the perfect opportunity to try a few beers I hadn’t already tasted.  The problem is that although I know I tried about 6 or 7 new beers, at some point I just stopped caring and so don’t have notes or pictures for some of the beers.  Here are some notes on the beers I had at the beginning of the crawl and made notes on.  My thoughts on the other beers I tasted that evening are lost to the ages…

No. 203 – Les Trois Brasseurs Brown Ale

2017-06-24 - 203 - Trois Brasseurs Brown Ale _500beers

I ended up at Les Trois Brasseurs on rue St. Denis for a pint and a burger an hour or so before the pub crawl was due to begin.  I used to frequent three of their several locations regularly but so far this year I’ve only been to this one on this occasion.  I will be back as they have another 5 or 6 beers to try and whatever seasonal beers they come up with.  This pint was a surprise.  A dark thick muddy looking brown ale with a thick creamy head and aroma of chocolate.  To taste, it is more like a porter rather than a brown ale but there are strong caramel and toffee flavours here that you would expect in a really good brown ale.  This is another one of those beers that seems to go between categories and as such is a very good beer.  An easy 7/11 for being good, for the price, for accuracy, for having something different, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and for the fact that I would go out of my way for it.

No. 204 – Le Bilboquet’s NelliganAcco

2017-06-24 - 204 - Le Bilboquet Nelligan _500beers
We went to St. Houblon on rue St. Denis early in the pub crawl, that is where these beers were consumed.  It’ a pretty good bar that I would recommend.

According to my research this is a dunkelweizen which should have hints of banana along with the usual toffee flavour.  I didn’t pick up on this at the time, instead to me it was just a pretty good bittersweet brown ale – this may have been due to having a few beers before hand.  It was also a muddy colour like the Trois Brasseurs Brown Ale so perhaps in my mind a linked the two beers.  It gets a 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for it.

No. 205 – Brasseurs Illimités’ Simple Malt Double Mango IPA

2017-06-24 - 205 - Brasseurs Illimités - Simple Malt Double Mango IPA _500beers

After having a few darker beers, I decided to go for something completely different so I asked the bar tender to pick something at random.  He came back with this Double Mango IPA.  This was a pretty good choice.  The fruity mango flavour was very refreshing and the hoppyness provided a nice contrast to the darker maltier beers I had already tried.  It didn’t find either the mango or the hops overwhelming at the time, which is a bonus as I’ve only just developed a taste for hoppier beers in the last month or so.  I gave it 5/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

It was this Double Mango IPA that encouraged me to start my drinking at the Laval Beer Festival in July at the Brasseurs Illimités stall.  They have some very good beers indeed.

 

Le Réservoir 2, Nos. 267 – 272

Le Réservoir 2, Nos. 267 – 272

“I swear, I’m only going to have four beers max.” 

Here are the six beers I tried…

No. 267 – Le Réservoir Cream Ale

2017-08-02 - 267 - Le Réservoir Cream Ale _500beers

I like a good cream ale after work on a warm day – it’s a nice half way point between a white and a stout.  I was initially disappointed with this one, but on further reflection, it’s a perfectly fine cream ale.  The problem was that I’ve tried a few really good ones, that others don’t measure up to.  Judging the beer on it’s own merit however is my goal so this gets a 5/11.  It’s a refreshing creamy ale with a hint of sweetness, but that’s about it.  It does what it needs to.  It’s fine, worth the price, accurate and I would maybe drink it again and recommend it.

No. 268 – Le Réservoir Saison Gingembre

2017-08-02 - 268 - Le Réservoir Saison Gingembre _500beers

Ginger makes me think of ordering vietnamese food.  I ordered this for that reason alone.  Fortunately, it was a good beer.  The aroma is spicy, but is by no means overwhelming as is the taste.   My initial note just says that this was like drinking vietnamese food but it was better than that.  I’d like to try it with mildly spicy food to see how it matches up.  It gets a 6/11, the same as the cream ale except that it gets an extra yes for having that little something different about it.

No. 269 – Le Réservoir Cérise

2017-08-02 - 269 - Le Réservoir Cerise _500beers

This was a surprise.  On first taste it was a little sour but something strange came through in the aftertaste that was nice.  It was almost chocolatey.  I’m not sure where that came from but it was definitely there for the first few gulps.  There are hints of cherry of course but the taste was a little different than I would have expected.  It’s a strange one this – I don’t know if I’d drink it again but I’d suggest trying it.  It’s also fine, accurate, worth the price and has something different.  So 5/11.

No. 270 – Le Réservoir Vermont 2xIPA

2017-08-02 - 270 - Le Réservoir Vermont _500beers

The best drink of the night, with the oddest description.  I thought this was going to be a double hopped IPA but it turned out to be a hoppy cream ale style beer.  It was creamy like a good cream ale but the hops came through strongly in the aroma and taste.  The ale itself was fruity – citrus that you would expect from a hoppier beer.  This was a great mixture of styles and quite a surprise.  7/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, different, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and for the fact that I would go out of my way for a pint of this.

No. 271 – Le Réservoir Tripel

2017-08-02 - 271 - Le Réservoir Tripel _500beers
I didn’t really write too many notes at this point, unfortunately.  However, this tripel was surprisingly fruity for a stronger ale.  I quite liked it for this.  And that’s that.  6/11 for everything the Vermont has bar being different.

No. 272 – Le Réservoir Pilsner Américain

2017-08-02 272 - Le Réservoir Pilsner Americain _500bee

My favourite picture of the night and a decent beer too.  It has a nice burnt malty aroma and this comes through in the flavour strongly.  I like maltyness so that’s a good thing.  I think from memory that it’s a little better than the average pilsner.  5/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price and for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.

So that’s my second trip to Le Réservoir (first one here) and another mixture of mostly good beers.  I foresee one further trip before the end of the year to explore their IPAs.

 

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

 

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

It’s nice to feel like you’ve earned a beer, that’s why I think bars should be located at the tops of hills.  Yesterday, I earned my four beers by exploring the nature reserve at Mont-Saint-Hilaire.  My legs hurt today…

No. 259 – Smash Beloeil

I was hoping for a lot from the beers at this bar as I’d meticulously planned my trip to Mont-Saint-Hilaire and Beloeil and knew that I would probably be in pain by the time I sat down for lunch.  I wasn’t aware of what this was supposed to be as I couldn’t see the description clearly from my table.  I immediately thought it was a hoppy pale ale.  Pretty close in fact, as it is a hoppy blonde ale.  However, it doesn’t taste like a blonde – it made me think a lot more of pale ales that I’ve tried from Archibald and St. Ambroise.  It seemed a little watery and bland by comparison.  It gets 2/11 for being all right (1), for the price (0.5) and for the description (0.5).

No. 260 – Le Matsi

This was an odd beer.  It’s an English Red Ale, with a more caramel brown colour.  The aroma was a little surprising – a strong and distinct milk chocolate aroma with hints of toffee.  This is more common in slightly darker beers so I wasn’t expecting it here in what looks like a lighter red ale.  The aroma follows through into the taste.  It still seemed a little watery but there was enough here to impress me enough to give it a decent mark.  It gets 6/11 for being good, for the description, for having something slightly different, for the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 261 – La Douce Caroline

I had to try this as my ukulele is called Caroline.  Anyway, it’s blonde ale and it looks pretty good in the glass, with an almost burnt aroma, which I cannot describe in a better way.  This was promising.  Unfortunately, it was a little bland like the Smash Beloeil.  It did however have more of a blonde ale feel to it.  It was malty and a little thicker than the majority of other blonde ales I’ve had.  I like maltyness so this was a good thing.  It’s getting 4/11 for being good, for the price, for the description and 0.5 for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability each.

No. 262 – La Noire Bassine

And a milk stout to finish.  This was fine, it doesn’t compare to the best stouts I’ve had this year so far but for a weaker stout that’s no surprise.  It made me think of an average pint of Guinness, with similar creaminess in the head and a similar flavour in the body.  I can’t really fault this beer for what it is so it’s getting 5/11 for being good, worth the price, accurately described, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The problem with the beer is that it is not a pint of chocolately-coffeeish heaven.

So, I didn’t find a great beer here, which is disappointing but three decent beers out of four is still pretty good.

 

 

 

Nos. 216 – 218 – Brasserie Harricana

Nos. 216 – 218 – Brasserie Harricana

This bar is one that I have visited a few times and gotten quite drunk at on each occasion, this time I went with the express purpose of enjoying the taste of the beer.  I picked three cheaper beers to pass the night and the results are below.  I did, however have a sip of a beer that was on a level above these towards the end of the evening, which is annoying…

From left to right, No. 216 – Cream Ale, 217 – Best Bitter and 218 – Pale Ale

No. 216 – Cream Ale

The head makes this look like a promising cream ale, however the glowing golden colour of the body suggests otherwise.  Indeed, the creamy head was nice but the ale itself was a little bland, there were mild hints of a good cream ale in there but overall it just made me think of a flat lager, with a little creaminess to the texture.  It gets a 2.5/11, that’s 0.5 of a yes for being drinkable at least, 0.5 for the description, 0.5 for recommend-ability (for somebody wanting a very light cream ale, this may be ideal and a complete Yes for the price.  I wasn’t annoyed that I’d about $5 (including tip), just disappointed.

No. 217 – Best Bitter

I’m bitter because this was not the best.  An English style red ale.  It had a nice toasty aroma and a bright amber colour, so again as with the cream ale it looked good but suggested that it may not be exactly what it says.  It didn’t have a strong taste, however there were hints of caramel and a little creaminess that made it nice to drink.  It gets 4/11 being a Yes each for not being bad, for the price, for the description and half a Yes for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.  

No. 218 – Pale Ale

This was the best beer of the night, I simply wrote that it looks like a pale ale, smells like a pale ale and tastes like a pale ale.  It therefore gets a 4/11, for the same points as the Best Bitter.

I will revisit Brasserie Harricana, very soon…

Nos. 211 – 212 – L’Hérmite’s Smash IPA Africaine and Le Trefle Noir’s Elle et Louis

Nos. 211 – 212 – L’Hérmite’s Smash IPA Africain and Le Trefle Noir’s Elle et Louis

After playing the drums for about two hours in a small, very hot room with no fan, I decided to stop off at Yïsst for a beer to cool down before moving on to find a beer shop that I had recently discovered online…

2017-07-02 - Yïsst logo 1 _500beers

No. 211 – L’Hérmite Smash IPA Africain

I asked for l’Hérmite after having seen a white beer on the menu on the wall. Little did I realise that there were two different beers from this brewery. Upon wondering why the white beer would be so hoppy I checked the menu again and then arrived at the conclusion that I had been given the other beer. This was not a bad thing though as this was a decent beer that hit the spot anyway.

2017-07-02 - 211 - L'Hérmite Smash IPA Africaine _500beers

Curiously, the aroma made me think of pineapple and more specifically pineapple lollipops, so I was more surprised when the taste was so hoppy. The initial fruity aroma did not come through much in the taste but it was still somewhat evident making this a decent beer. It gets a 5/11 for being good, accurate (eventually), for the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 212 – Le Trefle Noir Elle et Louis

Whilst having one beer to cool down, I spotted a Trefle Noir beer in the menu so I decided it was worth giving it a try as I’d never seen them on draft before.  This is apparently by Le Trefle Noir and Elle et Louis.  This is a passion fruit IPA and it has a strong passion fruit aroma with a milder taste. It’s quite a full-bodied beer for an IPA, and has a very nice bitter-sweet thing going on. I wonder what it would be like bottled…

2017-07-02 - 212 - Le Trefle Noir Passion Fruit Pale Ale _500beers

It’s good, it was worth the price, it was accurate, I’d drink it again, I’d recommend it and I’m giving it 0.5 of a yes for having something different and 0.5 for going out of my way for it (I can’t give it more than six yeses but it does tick off a lot of the boxes). So 6/11 it is.