Tag Archives: beer tasting

Dieu du Ciel! All the rest…

Dieu du Ciel!  All the rest…

I tried an even 30 beers from Dieu du Ciel! last year, the vast majority of which were very good.  Unfortunately, I only found time to write about a few of them.  This is catch-up.

No. 117 – Disco Soleil

I tried a couple of bottles of this one day last April after a short hike somewhere north of Montreal – I didn’t write any notes.  I do recall, however that it was a refreshing and fruity beer with a taste that I didn’t quite recognise.  That would be the kumquat apparently.  I recommend this on a very warm day.  6/11

Nos. 173 & 174 – Blanche Van Plateau & Gospel Stout à l’Avoine

I tried these two last May the day after I got back from a week back home, at the end of a long day of drinking in a park.  It was a good day.  The Blanche van Plateau was a fine white but nothing special, a little like a blonde in fact and gets a 4/11.  The stout was better.  A very creamy head and strong hints of coffee – unsurprisingly.  Gospel was a fine stout but not outstanding unlike a few of their other stouts.  6/11

No. 298 – Corne du Diable

My notes are a little odd on this one, but if they’re correct then it is an interesting IPA.  It had a hoppy citrus aroma at first, which was followed up by a light hint of caramel, which would explain the darker colour.  The taste was equally interesting, quite malty with the bitterness only coming through in the aftertaste.  I will be trying this one again as I think it may be worth more than the mark I gave it.  6/5/11

No. 345 – Péché Termopilas

Oddly detailed notes for this one – so it must have been good and it was in a Dieu du Ciel! glass!  I happened upon this at Bar le Vestiaire at some point last summer.  The head was bubbly and remained until I had finished the beer.  There was a light hint of coffee in the aroma, which came through much more strongly in the taste.  There was an immediate bitter hit to this one at the front of the mouth and a warmth in the throat that made it feel a little like a scotch ale rather than a stout.  A solid and interesting beer.  I’d recommend trying it if you see it around!  8/11

No. 368 – Voyageur des Brumes

This is a nicely balanced red ale.  My notes are signed off with ‘could drink it all day.’  It’s a gorgeous deep toffee brown colour with a generously frothy head and an aroma to match.  The taste is a little light, but it has all that you would expect of a decent red ale.  If I reviewed it based on look and feel it would be an easy 8 but on taste, it’s 6/11.

No. 369 – Hérétique

This is a pretty cool beer.  Like the Dernière Volonté it has a hint of leather coming from the brettanomyces, which provide the funk.  It’s lively, very fizzy with a strong hint of mango and tropical fruits and fizzles nicely on the tongue.  It’s very refreshing and like a few of the other Dieu du Ciel! beers made me think of wine – thought this time it was more a feeling of a fizzed up sauvignon blanc.  This beer is well worth trying.  7/11

No. 382 – Petit Détour

I just have this one down as a good IPA with a cloudy appearance and a fizzy head that dissipates quickly.  The fact that I gave it a 7/11 seems to show how I’ve developed a taste for IPAs throughout the year.

No. 383 – Tamarindo

Apparently this is a gose beer, but it doesn’t completely feel like it.  So much so in fact, that I gave it a good mark.  The aroma just smells acidic and citrus to me but the taste is quite a surprise.  It’s a very light and drinkable beer with a malty creamy texture to it that made me think of a red wine.  Something about feeling tannins in a beer just makes me feel more sophisticated!  It does have quite an acidic feel on the tongue but it’s not too much.  An interesting and quite refreshing beer which is worth trying.  6.5/11

No. 389 – Route des Épices

I tried this at a party at my place at some point last Autumn.  I think that by this stage I had had a few other beers but this one still stood out.  This is a pretty standard dark beer with a peppery edge that creates and nice little warmth in the mouth which builds without ever becoming too much.  A nicely balanced effort.  5.5/11

No. 391 – Solstice d’Été

I gave this one a 5/11, but that was after trying several other beers at the aforementioned party at my place.  I can’t remember too much about this but according to my notes it was quite a good sour beer.  Not to sour a sour beer that is.  A lot of fizz with the bitterness of raspberries coming through a little in the flavour.  5/11

No. 399 – Rigor Mortis

A strong brown ale at 10.5% which does not overwhelm makes a pretty good beer.  This one looks good with a bubbly head and deep muddy brown colour.  Little hints of burnt toastyness and deep caramel in the aroma followed by a beautifully malty creamy texture.  It has a nice balance of malt and hops.  7/11

So that’s me finished with Dieu du Ciel! in 2017.  So far this year I’ve tried their Chemin de Croix – a review will follow once I’ve finished all of the other beers for 2017.  But in the meantime – go and try some Dieu du Ciel! beers!

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‘Beer’

‘Beer’

I hadn’t drank Budweiser or similar beers in many years so I was curious to see how it would compare to the stronger and frankly better beers I had become used to.  Bud Light and Labatt’s 50 were on tap at the Irish Embassy, and I was very drunk when I tried them – in fact I don’t have a picture of Labatt’s 50 and I don’t want to have to go and buy one just to take a picture.  Labatt’s Bleue and Budweiser were both tried at Sports Station and I was also quite drunk at that point.  I believe from the picture that Rolling Rock was tried at Ye Olde Orchard on de la Montagne – just for the hell of it.

I don’t have too much to say about these ‘beers…’

No. 47 – Bud Light
2017-02-05 - 47 - Bud Light _500beers

Hmmm…Bud is light enough so why make it lighter?  3/11

No. 50 – Labatt’s 50

Like Harp or Carlsberg back home, it seems to be everywhere somehow.  It’s fine, just a standard lager. 3.5/11

No. 120 – Rolling Rock
20170417_193131

This is lemonade – I understand that it is an extra pale lager but it just tasted like lemonade.  2/11

Nos. 284 and 285 – Labatt’s Bleue and Budweiser

These were both cheap and were fine – what you would expect, Budweiser is a little lighter feeling with Labatt’s seeming closer to an actual beer but I could drink it again if it were cheap enough.  These both get 3/11.

So that’s that.  A few of the beers I tried just to fill out the numbers, I mean to compare different light beers.  I don’t like being critical but there are so many better beers out there.

Back Home 2 – Randoms

Back Home 2 – Randoms

As it’s almost a year since I went back home and tried 16 different beers in seven days and as I will be going back there quite soon, it’s finally time to put a few notes up about the other beers I tried there last year.  Here’s a link to my first post.

The picture is a bridge over the Six Mile Water at the Castle Grounds, Antrim, the other pictures are not of the same quality due to my increasing level of drunkenness…

No. 150 – Heverlee
2017-05-19 - 150 - Heverlee _500beers _antrim

I tried this at the Back Shed in Antrim.  I had noticed that it was in a lot of bars the previous year when I went back home but hadn’t tried it,  thank God.  It looks quite classy but doesn’t really taste like much.  It’s a very light feeling lager.  I’m not going to drink it again.  1.5/11

No. 151 – Roundstone Irish Ale
2017-05-19 - 151 Roundstone Irish Ale _500beers _Antrim

Also tried at the Back Shed, this is also a light beer with very little real taste to it.  I suppose it’s always nice when you get a pint glass with a logo on it. 2/11

No. 152 – Farmageddon Porter

This was recommended by a friend working at the bar (Cheers Jonny).  And while I can’t find my notes on it, I do recall it being a decent porter, which wouldn’t be out of place amongst the porters available in Montreal.  It poured a little flat, but still tasted fine.  I would try it again and recommend trying it too.  5/11

No. 160 – Farmageddon California Common

This is an odd beer.

I was unaware of the style ‘California Common’ before so I did not know what to expect.  To be fair, I didn’t really do much research and so am still quite ignorant on the subject, however I am aware that they are often very carbonated.  When I poured this a little it filled the glass and continued expanding.  In fact it kept foaming up for a few minutes to the point that it was impossible to drink.  On trying a second bottle, it was slightly easier to pour but still bubbled up like no beer I’ve ever seen.  So it’s different.  Unfortunately, the taste was not worth the effort of waiting for the beer to settle.  It was quite hoppy initially but very dry and lacked any real bitter aftertaste.  2/11 – try shaking one up!

No. 162 – Tennent’s Ice Cold

Suffering for one’s art.  I’ve never liked Tennent’s but I decided to try this again to get the numbers up.  This was quite watery, and lacked taste, but it did keep it’s fizz well and was reasonably refreshing.  3/11

In conclusion, it is very probable that the previous four years of Quebec beers has taught me to expect more from beer.  I still have to write up notes on a few other craft beers I tried at home so I will also summarise my conclusions when I have reviewed them too.

Until next time!

Two Brothers

Two Brothers

If anyone can knock beer into twelfth gear it’ll be these guys.  They’re just called Two Brothers.

No. 349 – Les 2 Frêres Charles Henri Ambrée

Or maybe not.  This is a nice looking amber ale with an appealing colour and a nice bubbly head.  There is a hint of toasty caramel in the aroma that comes through in the taste and it is quite malty.  This is all good but there is no kick.  A little bitterness comes through but it doesn’t hit the back of the throat and have a bitter aftertaste the way I like a red/amber ale to do and to have.  It gets 4.5/11.

No. 356 – Les 2 Frêres Charles Henri Blonde

This is curious.  It’s a nice looking blonde ale, which is quite similar to the amber ale.  It has a toasty hint to it and a little bite in the aftertaste.  It seems that this and the amber ale together may make a good beer together.  Having said that, this stands on it’s own pretty well and gets a 6/11 for being quite smooth – a contender for barbecue season.

No. 398 – Les 2 Frêres Hickson Imperial IPA

Easily the best of these three beers and another kind of mongrel beer – being a stronger more amber/red IPA.  It’s a nice deep amber, light brown colour with a foamier head than the previous two beers.  The aroma is a little floral and promises a bitter taste, but there is also a little toastiness too.

It’s refreshing to taste, and the bitterness hits the throat sublimely.  It has hoppy and floral tones but the most interesting thing for me is a kind of rye taste that comes through slowly as you continue drinking it, building a nice warmth in the throat and mouth.

This is a really good beer – I recommend it highly and am giving it a 7.5/11.

A mixed bag from Les 2 Frêres this time as I continue to play catch up with the write ups…

No. 16 – Guinness

No. 16 – Guinness

Guinness is a curious thing. 

A good pint can be a glorious transcendent experience.  Whereas a bad pint can be a thunderous let down.

2017-05-19 - the art of making Guinness _Antrim

In my year of beer, I tried Guinness early on at the Irish Embassy (where it was pretty good) but I tried it at various other places throughout the year as well.  I’m basing my notes and score on a pint I had at Dublin Airport last May as it stands out as head and shoulders above the others.

2017-05-18 - 16 - Guinness _500beers

After flying Montreal to Dublin last (sore arms!) I like to stop and have a beer before hopping on the bus for a couple of hours trip back up to Belfast.  The Angel’s Share, the bar near the bus stop, is a little expensive but being many people’s welcome to Ireland they have to have a good pint on tap.

It is worth noting that I hate flying so any pint I have afterwards always feels like a victory.

This pint was great.  It was creamy and smooth, served at the right temperature and oddly refreshing for a stout.

Having tried a lot of different stouts last year and having developed a taste for more complicated flavours (the beers on offer from Dieu du Ciel for example), when I think of a good Guinness it remind me of how simplicity can be perfection.  It does not have a strong flavour behind it the way a lot of microbrewery beers do but it is a perfectly balanced and well textured stout.  I can’t really describe it in more detail unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps) but in the context of a year of beer in which I tried between 50 and 75 different stouts, I will still always go back to Guinness when I fancy a good stout.

It’s a very good 8/11.

Here’s a treat,  a couple of old beer mats I found when I was back home!

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.