Montreal, Spring 2008
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I hadn’t been in town for long and was itching to make some new acquaintances.
It was a very hot day, the sort that makes you seriously consider the Eskimo lifestyle.
I was on my way downtown to meet a few people and had taken the unwise decision to walk. Sure, I’d save a few dollars and see a little bit of the town, but after five minutes in the heat I started to regret the choice.
Being from where I’m from, where sunlight and heat are in short supply, I started to look for some shelter. A place in the shade where I could rest and get something to drink. Preferably with excellent air conditioning.
I stopped off at a dark, empty looking dive on Ontario street. The door creaked as I walked in and the barmaid, momentarily taken away from whatever urgent business she was dealing with on her phone, greeted me with a surprised ‘Salut!’ Noticing a tattoo on her right leg, I thought to myself ‘nice, does it go the whole way up?’
Instead of following up on this thought I decided to have a look around before sitting at the bar. There were a few people in the beer garden out back, no doubt they had a greater tolerance to the heat than me. In any case, I made myself comfortable at the bar, looked up and there she was.
From the moment I saw her, I knew she was the one for me.
She was alone.
I wondered for a second how I had missed her when I walked in. The mysterious shadows in the dimly lit bar let me see just enough of her to capture my interest.
She was wearing red and blue.
I knew that I needed to get closer and to find out more, but this wasn’t the kind of dame you just walk up to out of nowhere. I asked the barmaid if she knew her.
Apparently, she was always at the bar.
She had a reputation and was very popular around town. The barmaid warned me that men seemed to fall for her instantly, but offered to introduce me all the same.
‘Yes, I’d like that, very much,’ I replied.
The barmaid went over to her and with her back turned to me said something that I couldn’t quite make out and then brought her over to me.
She was an ice cold red head.
Without a word, I gently put my hand on her and moved her closer to me.
The sweetest kiss.
She tasted a little of caramel. She was a little sweet. She was also a little bitter.
She was Boréale Rousse…
No. 2 – Brasseurs du Nord Boréale Rousse
This was the second beer that I tried last year, even though I’d had it many times in the past. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a picture, so I’ve been waiting to do this write up for over a year. I got myself a tin of Boréale Rousse yesterday and now I’ve got a picture!
Up until my first spell in Montreal (2008 – 2009) the only darker beers I had tried were Smithwicks or Guinness, both of which had been hit and miss. On the fortuitous day described above, Boréale was on offer, otherwise I may not have tried it. Though having said that, I would have probably tried it at some point over the year elsewhere. The important thing is that from that day I started drinking red/amber ale rather than lager.
I’d never really noticed the colour of the beer before as I’ve usually had it direct from a bottle or in a dark bar but it looks nice. It’s a rich amber colour and from the tin pours nicely, giving a frothy head. The aroma was pretty standard for a red ale, it smelled a bit toasty and had a hint of caramel. To taste, it is absolutely fine without being great. A little caramel comes through but there is very little sweetness at the front of the mouth – it’s all just bitterness in the throat. It tastes more toasty, burnt almost. I’m giving it 6/11 as it is one of my go-to beers for barbecues and I would recommend it. It’s often on offer as well so you can’t lose!
More Brasseurs du Nord to follow.