Tag Archives: Beer reviews

Montreal, Spring 2008

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!

2017-01-02 - 2 - Boréale Rousse poured _500beers - march 2018

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.

2017-01-02 - 2 - Boréale Rousse poured 2 _500beers - march 2018

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.



Le Trefle Noir – Joannès and Ale-ô-Ween

Le Trefle Noir – Joannès and Ale-ô-Ween

Discovering this microbrewery was one of the highlights of last year’s challenge.  There darker beers were all good and they even had a verrry nice IPA.  These are the last two of their beers that I tried last year…

No. 306 – Joannès

I’m not, or at least I was not a fan of berliner weisse style beers.  The problem being that the majority of them that I had tried made me think of something that you could clean a bathroom with.  So, what happens when you get your least favourite style of beer from one of your favourite microbreweries?

The aroma at first was of blackcurrant and raspberry, profoundly blackcurrant – if that makes sense.  It was bittersweet and the colour was a vivid deep pink with a very bubbly head.  It looked great.  The beer rolls through the mouth like a refreshing wave, crashing into the throat with a sour bitter taste.  There are hints of berries in the taste and it has a nice amount of fizz.  It is not too sour but still would satisfy berliner weisse fans.  I really liked this one and would recommend trying it.  7/11

No. 418 – Ale-ô-Ween

I had been looking forward to pumpkin ale season ever since I tried Mill St. Brewery’s Autumn Selection way back in the Spring.  In the end I think I only tried about 3 pumpkin ales in pumpkin season.

This one is ok.  The aroma is a little pumpkiny and there is a little spice and cinnamon there too.  The head dissipated quickly but the beer looked pretty good all the same.  The taste is a little disappointing, the pumpkin is there but it is mild.  The spice comes through nicely in the aftertaste, which is a little peppery and has a nice warmth to it without being overwhelming.  All in all, this is a decent beer but no more than a 6/11 – worth trying but there are better pumpkin ales.

And so that is Le Trefle Noir for 2017.  I will be posting about the Beer Off soon, where I retried two of their beers along with a few others to see which was the best that I tasted last year.


Two from Saint Bock

Two from Saint Bock

It has been one year exactly (at time of writing) that I wrote my first post about beer and so far I have only managed to write up about half of the beers I tried last year.  I’ve taken a long break from beer since the start of the year but am now ready to write about it again.

While I’m catching up with old beers from last year I will still be trying the odd new beer here and there.

In the meantime, here are two from Saint Bock…

No. 304 – Malédiction

I bought this one fine Saturday afternoon while checking out another Métro store (near Jean Talon metro).  They’re selection wasn’t as good as the selection at my local one (Bélanger and Fabre) and no where near as good as the selection at the Métro just off Laurier park.  Anyway…

It’s a decent, sweet milk stout.  At first, the aroma made me think of a nice cappuccino, but I think at that point the year (August-ish) I was automatically getting cappuccino from every stout.  Then the vanilla came through and it reminded me more of a sweet hot chocolate.  This sweetness comes through in the flavour, a little too much.  It has a nice creamy milk stout texture and the taste builds nicely as it coats the mouth.  There’s vanilla, chocolate and coffee but it’s a little too sweet for my taste.  I’m giving it 6/11 as I would recommend it and I may go out of my way to give it another go at some point.

No. 438 – Bison Mécanique

I chose this as I had been at a bar with a mechanical bull the previous week.  That is, I went to a bar that had a mechanical bull, my mechanical bull refused to come with me.

The first beer in Quebec brewed with bison grass?  Well the aroma was certainly a little floral, with hints of rye and ginger (this is probably me not being able to recognise bison grass) and a surprising amount of vanilla.  In fact, while I was letting the beer sit I noticed the room beginning to smell of vanilla – like vanilla candles were burning somewhere, lots of them.  This was certainly a unique beer.

It’s a fizzy little number with a bubbly head, but on drinking it has a surprising creaminess to it.  It keeps this characteristic throughout, which was a little odd in a good way.  It is light, a little spicy and floral and that little hint of rye in the aroma comes through more strongly in the taste.

Maybe it would be a good idea to go and taste some of these ingredients one day to be better able to differentiate them.  Or maybe that would be taking it too seriously.  Who knows?

In any case, this beer gets an impressive 8/11.  It’s good, well worth the price, accurate, a little different and I would drink it again and recommend it.  I’d also go out in a heat-wave for this – something tells me that it would be a good barbecue beer.

That’s two more down…



It’s Over!

It’s Over!

This is just a quick post in celebration of the fact that tonight I tried my 500th different beer of the year.  In fact, I tried number 500 and number 501.  I just wanted to be sure of getting to the target!

It was a unique banana chocolate stout made at Les Trois Brasseurs, with ingredients suggested by me and three friends and it was a decent stout.  A proper review and notes from the evening will follow, along with notes on all the other beers I have not had time to write about.  But for now that is it.  I have tried 501 different beers in 353 days.

365 beers in a year seemed too simple way back in January and I have proved it so.  Now, just to find a challenge for next year!



A great beer for brunch

A great beer for brunch

As of this moment I have tried 498 different beers this year. 

Actually, that’s a lie.  I’ve tried more than 500 but I just can’t remember some of them. 

I will try one new beer tomorrow at Isle de Garde Brasserie and then on Wednesday I will be trying my 500th official different beer for this year.  It’s going to be a unique beer made at Les Trois Brasseurs and available for one night only.  After that, I can stop drinking beer and get healthy again.

In the meantime, the beer advent calendar I bought from Veux-tu une bière? has turned out to be quite a surprise with some very good and very different beers that I probably would not have tried otherwise.  One of those is this fruity little number…

No. 491 – Vox Populi’s Kettle Sour (Berliner Weisse)

It’s says brunch on it and has oranges – it’s a good light beer for brunch time.

It’s a thick beer as you can see in the picture (the glass wasn’t perfectly clean but the cloudy texture comes through ok).  It took a little time to pour as it was quite thick but it looked like fizzy orange juice, with a fizzy head that dissipated quickly.

The aroma is mildly bitter, or sour if you will.  There are strong hints of orange and milder hints of other citrus fruits.  This made me think that the emphasis would be on the sourness, fortunately I was wrong.

It’s got a thick texture like pure orange and there is a little fizz to it.  The main flavour that comes through is also unsurprisingly orange.  This to me feels like a lightly alcoholic orangeade.  I’m not going to say that this is a bad thing as it does not pretend to be anything else.  I would happily drink this again early or mid morning with a breakfast and an early morning football match (European style football, of course).

2017-12-16 - 491 - Vox Populi Kettle Sour desc. _500beers

It’s good, accurate, worth the price, a little different and I would drink it again and recommend it.  I don’t think that I would go out of my way to try it but it is good.


So, the next time that I write, I will have tried 500 beers, not just in one year but in 353 days.  It seems that I was correct in thinking that 365 beers is too easy.  I will be taking all of January off beer until my birthday where the Beer-Off will occur, and I will compare the best beers and find out which is the best beer.

It’s a nice feeling to have started this kind of challenge and actually done it.




À l’Abri de la Tempête

À l’Abri de la Tempête

It feels somewhat apt that I woke up this morning to the first moderately big snowstorm of the season and opened my advent calendar to find a beer from À l’Abri de la Tempête.  I’ve already reviewed one of their beers here, so here are the other two I’ve tried…

No. 436 – Écumé
2017-12-12 - 436 - A l'Abri de la Tempête Écumé poured _500beers

This one looks great in the glass.  It’s a deep amber gold colour and the head, though a little flat looks very appealing when you swirl it around like a pro!  It has a nice aroma, with a little floral hint, and the taste is mildly sweet, without being too sweet.  It feels like a sweet pilsner, which is fine.  It’s a good beer but not great.  5/11.

No. 485 – Belle Saison
2017-12-12 - 485 - A l'Abri de la Tempête Belle Saison poured _500beers

I was very happy to see this beer in my advent calendar (day number 12) as I had looked at it a few times in the past but for whatever reason had not bought it.  It has a floral aroma and a great golden colour.  It’s very easy to drink at only 5.5% and has a floral fruity hint to it which comes through a little in the aftertaste.  It’s not too hoppy, not too bitter and quite refreshing.  Probably a good barbecue beer.  An easy 6/11.

The three beers I have tried from À l’Abri de la Tempête have all been good so it’s a little annoying that I did not discover them sooner, though maybe in 2018 I will try some of their other more expensive beers like Corps Mort.




This is one of my favourite discoveries of the year.  Inexpensive, good quality and a little different.  I found these beers at le Frigo de Bacchus on Masson and 9th Avenue after a friend told me of a beer shop not far from her new apartment.  I have actually tried four of their beers, but unfortunately I was extremely drunk when I tried one and can’t remember what it was and quite drunk when I tried the first one, hence the blurry pictures…

No. 461 – Brune au Café

The aroma is gorgeous, a very strong, thick, deep, rich coffee flavour and the head is nice and frothy.  It would probably suit a little cinnamon and chocolate.  It tastes like a mix between a brown ale and a lighter stout which is hardly a surprise as the emphasis is on the coffee.  As such it has a slightly heavier feel than a regular brown ale.  It’s fine, an easy 6/11 – it just doesn’t live up to the aroma, which is excellent.  6/11.

No. 483 – Fabuleuse

This is a real treat, I wish I’d seen this when it was warmer outside!  It has a strong blueberry aroma that makes me think of pancakes smothered in blueberry jam.  The blueberry comes through in the taste better than it did for the Éphémère Bleuet that I tried way back in the Summer, which makes it by default my favourite blueberry beer.  But, there is a little more to it than that.  It’s a nicely balanced beer.  The fruit is not too strong as to overwhelm the feeling of drinking a beer, nor is it too weak to make it feel like a genuine fruit beer.  It’s a little bitter, but by no means sour.  I recommend this one – 7/11.

No. 484 – Amoureuse

This beer smells like strawberry jelly (or jello I suppose as I’m in North America) – it’s a delight.  This beer has the same perfect balance as the blueberry beer – it’s not sickly sweet, nor is it too weak.  I’m also going to give this one 7/11 and I recommend trying it.  I may even purchase a bottle to drink with my Christmas Trifle*.

So, this was brewery was a really good find and I’m looking forward to trying anything else that they have to offer.  If you like fruit beers, you should definitely check them out.

*Trifle being…fruits, sponge cake, jelly/jello, custard and maybe some liqueur.