Tag Archives: Beer reviews

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.

 

 

 

 

3 more from Dieu du Ciel


3 more from Dieu du Ciel

In July, I decided to start economising a little while keeping up the drinking challenge, so I ended up buying a lot of individual bottles from Dieu du Ciel at roughly $2.50 each.  Here are a few more…

No. 215 – Équinoxe du Printemps

This is a real treat.  It looks great, a lovely deep red/brown colour when poured with a creamy light brown head.  I didn’t think that the aroma was that impressive, just like a regular scotch ale, however, to taste this was excellent.  It’s a little creamy but full-bodied and the taste of maple comes through very nicely.  It is warm and a little sweet on the tongue and the warmth of the aftertaste remains for a long time like any good scotch ale.  This one’s getting 10/11 – it’s good, very good in fact, it’s definitely worth the price, it has an accurate description and the perfect balance of maple and scotch ale added that little something different.  I will definitely drink it again and I would recommend it.  I would fight a bear a block or two out of my way for this beer, which is worth Yeses (check out the ratings here)

No. 219 – Pénombre

This is a black IPA – a type of beer I’d never heard of but am growing fonder of as the year goes on.  The beer smells like an IPA, very hoppy but not fruity.  Instead, on tasting there are hints of light chocolate and more of a porter type feel to the beer.  It has a nice balance between hoppyness and bitterness and is definitely worth trying.  It gets 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and for the fact that I would go out of my way to pick up a bottle.

No. 266 – Isseki Nicho

This imperial stout looks great, see how frothy and coffee-like the head is in the picture above.  I actually tried this one with some espresso biscuits and they matched very nicely indeed.  Other than the strong coffee aroma and taste, there was nothing extra special about this one.  It’s difficult to describe considering that I’ve tasted so many strong coffee-like stouts, but this one seemed to be missing something.  Maybe it was because it looked so good on pouring and it didn’t live up to the anticipation.  In any case, it’s another 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and one for the appearance (it’s a little unique).

Another three good beers from Dieu du Ciel, more to come soon.

 

Nos. 230 – 232 – The pursuit of hoppyness – 3 from Dieu du Ciel

Nos. 230 – 232 – The pursuit of hoppyness – 3 from Dieu du Ciel

And so, playing catch up with the posts begins. 

I’ve had 19 beers from Dieu du Ciel, with two more in the fridge but I’ve only written about nine.  The majority of them have been stouts or scotch ales, but here are three decent lighter beers…

No. 230 – Saison du Parc

I was going to write about this one on its own and call it the pursuit of hoppyness, hence the title.  However, I found quite a few results on google for this so perhaps it’s not so original.  In any case, this is a hopped up seasonal ale with a very frothy head and strong yellow colour.  It smells strongly of hops and tastes strongly of hops, unsurprisingly.  I got a hint of lemon in this one, but the taste seemed to be overwhelmed a little by the hoppyness.  It gets 4/11 for not being bad, for the price, for the description and for recommend-ability.  If you like hoppy lighter beers, give this a go.

No. 231 – Sentinelle

Not too much to say about this one but it was surprisingly good.  It really reminded me of drinking a lager back home, which seems to fall in line with the description – malty with a little hoppy bitterness.  It was refreshing and would be a good match for drinking in the park with some food, unlike the Saison du Parc.  It gets a good 5/11, for being good, for the price, for the description for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 232 – P’tit Blanc

Easily the best of the three beers here.  A light wheat beer with added juniper berries and lime.  The aroma is very pleasing, very fruity, what I assume to be juniper coming through well.  To taste, it is very refreshing and the taste remains in the mouth for a long time.  There is a delicious sting of bitterness in the taste, which again, I assume comes from the juniper and lime.  Very nice indeed and a decent 6/11 – for being good, for the price, for the description, for having something a little different, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

The next three beers I post about will be Équinox du Printemps, Pénombre and Isseki Nicho – a scotch ale, a black IPA and an imperial stout.  One of these is a contender for the best beer so far…

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.

 

A selection from Brasseurs de Montréal

A selection from Brasseurs de Montréal

2017-07-23 - Brasseurs de Montreal bottlecap _500beers

A few quick notes for a few beers I tried in July. 

No. 246 – La Québécoise Rebelle

I had this a couple of hours after tasting twelve different beers at the Laval beer festival (here and here) earlier in July.  It’s not generally a good idea to try beer tasting when already quite drunk, but I wasn’t too badly off at this stage so I thought ‘why not?’  I don’t have any notes on this, but from memory it was a decent amber ale.  I gave it the standard 5/11 for being ok, for the price, accuracy, drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.

No. 248 – La Montréalaise Griffintown

I tried this light blonde ale at home a few days after the Rebelle and it got me thinking that maybe the Rebelle deserves another tasting – but I don’t think I’ll bother as it may only get one more Yes, which still wouldn’t put it up there with the best beers.  This is a pretty good blonde ale that made me think more of a lager than a blonde.  I have no notes on this one either except for the score – 6/11, for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and an extra Yes for going a block out my way if the mood so took me!

No. 249 – L’Orientale Chi

This is the real treat of the selection.  I’ve been flirting more and more with spicy and sour beers recently and I think that this was the first one that I actually really liked.  The aroma reminded me of green tea – but there are strong hints of ginger and some fruits in there too.   It was very fizzy on the tongue and the spiciness came through in the taste nicely.  Everything about the taste was just right.  It was not too spicy.  It had just enough of a hint of green tea.  It had just the right fizz to be refreshing.  It gets a 7/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, different, for drink-again-ability, for recommend-ability and for the fact that I would possibly go out of my way to find a bottle.

No. 252 – L’Anglaise London Ruby

This was a little disappointing, I’m always wary of light red ales.  And rightly so in this case.  It had a good aroma to it but the taste, although an obvious red ale, was a little bland.  It made me think of having a watered down beer in a bar.  It gets 3/11, for not being bad, for being cheap enough and for the description (just about).

4 beers down, 154 beers more to post about…

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.

 

One-upmanship, lists, photography and education…

One-upmanship, photography and education,
or how I learned to stop worrying and love beer…

One-upmanship

With blurry memories of a pub crawl that may have gotten out of hand in December 2016 and suggestions of alcoholism in mind, I was looking for something to do for the new year.  In truth, I had cut down a lot on beer in 2016, but was still prone to the odd ill-advised heavy drinking session once every couple of months.  I had also cut down on going out as often – I used to love a good brunch, a couple of beers and a football* match at the weekend to relieve stress from work.  I decided to address these two issues by coming up with a resolution that would help me rebuild my tolerance to beer and that would also allow me to get out more and rebuild a social life that I had left behind for various reasons.

On a less psychological level, I was also starting to get tired of drinking Harp, Guinness and the occasional red ale and so decided to search for a new favourite beer.

And so, 365 beers in a year began!

Upon researching this challenge, I found that quite a lot of people seem to do it each year.  This was a little annoying so I started considering ways to make it more challenging.  What about a leap year of beer?  Drinking one beer more would be the very definition of one-upmanship, but the next leap year isn’t until 2020.  So I thought screw it, I’ll do 500 different beers in a year.

Lists and photography

 It began quite simply by trying a beer, making a note of it in my phone and giving it a mark out of ten.  Then I ended up buying a little note book to keep a list of the beers – on the insistence of a friend, who seemed genuinely concerned that I may mistakenly try the same beer twice.

From then it developed into taking a picture of each beer as proof – thought a picture can only prove that I have been in the presence of the beer, not that I drank it.  You will just have to take my word for it that I’ve tasted all these beers.  Having said that, it has been difficult, but also fun trying to find different ways to take pictures of beer and make them look a little different.  The early pictures, most of which will be put online before the end of the year, are all similar – grainy and badly lit.  I got a new phone in February and since then the pictures have been of a better quality.  The featured image above, is from a small reflection that I found in a picture of beer number 250 – La Corriveau.

The logical next step was to start this blog to keep a record of the year.  Now I have a spreadsheet with information on all the beers I’ve tasted so far and several folders of pictures of beer and beer memorabilia to write about and post.

Capture

Education

All this may seem a little odd, however, I have learned quite a lot from this experience.  Here are a few thoughts…

I’ve a better knowledge and appreciation of the different types of beers.

I’ve a better knowledge of my own preferences and why I prefer them.

I’ve discovered many different bars that I would never have gone to before.

In researching the beers, I’ve learned a lot about the local craft beer culture and also how beer is made.

I’ve learned quite a bit of technical French vocabulary.

I’ve also learned a bit about Québécois and Canadian culture and folklore.

And most importantly I’ve found out how to say no after one beer (it’s rare but it happens now).

Hopefully, this has provided a little insight into the reasoning behind trying to drink 500 different types of beer in a single year.  If not, feel free to leave a comment.

*proper football, the sort that involves kicking a ball with your foot unless you’re the goalkeeper