Tag Archives: Scotch Ale

Comme Si, comme ça – Nos. 449 – 453

Comme Si, comme ça

I’ve been to Sherbrooke several times over the last year and always had the intention of visiting Si-Boire at the bus station for a few beers.  Fortunately, there’s a Si-Boire in the plateau, not too far from the orange line.  I was there last night for two beers to bring my total up to 450, I ended up having five…

No. 449 – Quaker Stout
2017-11-22 - 449 - Si-Boire Quaker Stout _500beers

This stout was described as an oatmeal stout, but felt much more like a milk stout, which was a little disappointing as I haven’t had an oatmeal stout for a while.  It had a lightly creamy head with  mild hints of coffee coming through.  To be honest it tasted like a decent Guinness, not a great one but it wasn’t bad either.   It’s an odd one to mark, because it’s good, it’s not entirely accurate but it is worth the price and I would drink it again.  It’s a little comme si comme ça!  I’m can’t give it more than 5/11.

No. 450 – Mcamen
2017-11-22 - 450 - Si-Boire Mcamen Scotch Ale _500beers

The big 450 was always going to be a scotch ale.  This one was somewhat weaker than the scotch ales I’ve tasted at home at only 7% but was still fine.  It felt a little more like a fortified red ale.  There were hints of caramel or toffee and a little sweetness in the aroma and the taste.  It did not have the warmth that I like in a scotch ale unfortunately but it did have the advantage of being a scotch ale that is accessible to those who don’t like their beers too strong.  I’m giving it a 6/11.

No. 451 – Ingénieuse
2017-11-22 - 451 - Si-Boire Ingénieuse _500beers

Where do you go after a stout and a scotch ale?  Red ale of course.  This is an Irish style red ale, which in all honesty was not too dissimilar from the scotch ale.  A decent red with hints of caramel and a nice balance between the sweet and the bitter.  Fine but not great again – it is the theme after all. 5/11.

No. 452 – Hops ‘n’ Cream
2017-11-2 - 452 - Si-Boire Hops n Cream _500beers

I decided to try this one as it was another hybrid that I haven’t seen or tasted before – an IPA/cream ale mix.  A little hoppy floral scent comes through the very thick creamy head which was a first for a cream ale for me.  To taste, it has a really nice thick creamy texture and tastes initially like a decent cream ale – but then there’s that lightly bitter floral hoppy aftertaste that comes through.  This was a little bit different from the other cream ales I’ve had so I was impressed with it – I’m giving it 7/11 as it is a decent beer with a little something different about it.  I would recommend it.

No. 453 – InsPirAtion
2017-11-23 - 453 - Si-Boire InsPirAtion _500beers
Well, this is a first, I got drunk and forgot to take a picture of a beer.  The proof is my receipt!  InsPirAtion is a decent fruity IPA.  That’s all I have to say about it as my notes are quite frankly unreadable.  I do however remember that it wasn’t bad, and wasn’t great.  5/11.

And so that is Si-Boire, a bar with decent beers that I would recommend trying out.

47 to go.



No. 400 – Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale

No. 400 – Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale

It feels a little strange writing about the landmark of beer number 400 for the year before having written about the landmark of 365 beers that was achieved mid-September – but that won’t stop me. 

I had a house party yesterday, a Super Nintendo evening in fact, and at the beginning of the evening was at 396 beers, with four new beers in the fridge.  Those beers were Boréale IPA (the regular one), Les 2 Frère’s Hickson Imperial IPA, Dieu du Ciel’s Rigor Mortis and a curious orca themed beer.  Needless to say these beers have all been tested and it was Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale that got the honour of being No. 400…

If I have learned anything this year, it is that I like scotch ales, porters and stouts more than any other type of beer.  Sometimes it feels that one or two of the styles are blending together when I taste them now.  This was the case with this beer.

I hadn’t noticed that it was ‘à l’érable’ before I tasted it, so I was expecting a dark beer with a little sweetness initially followed by a warm bittersweet aftertaste.  Oddly, the aroma made me think more of a porter – I got cocoa from it and a little sweetness but didn’t really get that scotchy warmth that you get from a good scotch ale.  I also got a strange hoppy aroma from it, which was a little odd.

To taste, it was malty, a little warm and there was a chocolate hint to it.  It did however make me think more of a porter.  There was also a little sweetness to it, which must come from the maple and it was quite refreshing but it didn’t have the lasting warmth of a scotch ale.  I had two other people try it as well – one of whom seemed to agree with my assessment that it wasn’t really a scotch ale, and the other getting some hints of scotch ale from it.  I’m not entirely sure what conclusions to draw from that as they would both know their beers a bit – but it confirms for me that it’s a bit of a mixed up beer.

It’s a difficult one to rate – I’m giving one Yes for the adoption of Al (image above right) to begin with.  It’s a decent beer, definitely not bad, so it gets a Yes for being good.  It was definitely worth the fiver I paid for it so that’s a third Yes.  Accuracy is a problem, I can’t give it a Yes because it wasn’t a true scotch ale to me, but I will give it one for being different.  Yes I’d recommend trying it and Yes I’d try it again but that would be as far as I would go – 6/11.

I was initially a little disappointed by this but on further reflection I think it was quite good.  Maybe I’m just in a good mood because I’m not too far away from 500 beers.  Write ups on the other three beers I had last night will follow at some point.

Laval Beer Festival, part 1

Laval Beer Festival,  part 1

The second of my monthly trips to beer festival within striking distance of Montréal.  Firstly, a quick note on the festival itself…

This is a much less expensive alternative to the beer festival in Montreal.  The admission plus a glass was less than the price of a glass in Montreal and the samples all seemed to be less expensive and somewhat more generous.  Maybe this will change with time as popularity grows but for now I know which festival I will go back to next year.  It is also in a park a little bit out of the way, but easily accessible by public transport which is free with a pre-sale ticket for the day, so the ‘would I go out of my way for it’ question is particularly relevant to these beers.

Nos. 234, 241 & 242 – Brasseurs Illimité’s Session Mango, Imperial Cherry Stout and Mastoc Porter

Session Mango – I started out the day with a light fruity beer after having strolled the majority of the way there in the blistering heat (anything about 20c is blistering for me).  A little hoppy, a little fruity and a little fizzy.  A nicely balanced IPA style beer which worked well as a thirst quencher.  It’s getting 5.5/11 because it’s good, worth the price, accurate, I’d drink it again and I’d recommend it.  The extra 0.5 is there as it is better than the average IPA but I think 6/11 is a stretch.

Imperial Cherry Stout – this is a great beer.  The aroma is strong, like cherry and chocolate, deep and rich and the taste follows up perfectly.  It has the texture of a porter and lacks the warmth of a stout so I’d think of it more as a porter.  There were also hints of caramel the further I got into it.  But I won’t hold that against it.  I would fight a bear for this.  9/11

Mastoc Porter – another very good beer here.  A scotch porter (I like these hybrid names) with a standard porter aroma.  The pleasure in this one comes from the chocolate flavour that coats the front of the mouth.  It’s a little creamy and thick for a porter.  There is a warmth from the hint of scotch ale that balances out the beer nicely in the throat.  This easily gets an 8/11, I’d go out in a snowstorm, but I’d let the bear have his beer.

Nos. 235, 244 & 245 – Le Trefle Noir’s L’Été Des Indiens, La Gosebuster and Le Chernoe Pivo

L’Été des Indiens – I had fun with the auto-correct on my phone while making notes on this ‘Eternal Indien,’ which was ‘Gratuitous’ with the beautiful Le Trefle Glass that you can see above.  The beer itself was a treat.  I very good blond ale, thicker than most others I’ve tried but not heavy, almost a creamy texture to it.  An easy 7/11.

La Gosebuster – I was advised that this may not be entirely to my taste but had to give it a go anyway.  It’s somewhat sour and tastes of bitter fruits.  This is not as bad as the other one or two sours drinks I’ve tried up to now but still gets a lower mark.  0.5 of a yes each for being good and for the price, a yes for the description and a yes for being a little different.  3/11

Le Chernoe Pivo – Another imperial stout and my final beer at the festival – another great one.  This has that pure coffee aroma that I have grown to love in great stouts this year.  The bubbly head lasted a long time in the sun and tasted like that froth you get at the end of a good cappuccino.  Taste-wise it was smooth, well balanced and warm – a rich roasted coffee taste which lived up to the promise of a great beer to come made by that aroma.  I’d fight a bear for this one – I’d punch him right on the snout!  9/11.

So that’s the first six, the next six are a bit more of a mixed bag but there are some decent beers in there all the same.



Nos. 136 – 138 – L’Aventure from Les Brasseurs RJ

Nos. 136 – 138 – L’Aventure from Les Brasseurs RJ

Another case of purchasing beers just because I like the labels…

I’ve so far tried three beers from Les Brasseurs RJ, none of which are online yet but they have gotten two very good marks and one bad mark.  The good marks helped push me towards buying this selection pack from my local Métro.

No. 136 – Lochness

This is a scotch that probably suffers from the fact that number 135 was a scotch ale and is the best beer I’ve tasted so far this year.  The colour is good and the aroma was pleasant but not as warm as O’Born Evil.  To taste, it is quite good, bitter with a hint of scotch.  The problem is that it seems somewhat light for a strong beer and the flavour lacks a warmth that I would now expect in a scotch ale.  Yes, it is good and Yes the description is accurate.  There is another Yes for the price and Yes I would drink it again.  Yes, I’d recommend trying it as it was reasonably priced and as there is nothing wrong with it – it just lacks that certain something.  5/11

No. 137 – Canon

This doppelbock gets a theoretical bonus point for forcing me to look up what ‘doppelbock’ actually means.  I had assumed that ‘doppel’ is ‘double’ and a visit to Berlin zoo informed me that a ‘bock’ is a goat or something similar.  ‘Doublegoat’ seems strange to me.  This is however a somewhat dark strong lager.

Anyway, this is a fine beer and the best part of this selection by a good distance.  I was taken with how glorious it looked in the glass in sunlight, which is always a good start.  To drink, it reminded me somewhat of the scotch ale but better with a nice sweetness to it.  Again, this seemed too easy to drink for a strong beer, which I suppose is good thing.  Yes, it is good.  Yes, I will drink it again.  Yes, I would recommend it.  Yes, it’s worth the price.  Yes, the description (or my understanding of doppelbock) is accurate, I’m also giving it a Yes for having something a little different – the hint of the scotch ale really struck me.  Yes, I would go out of my way for a six-pack if the mood took me.  A solid 7/11.

No. 138 – Death Valley

“Hop lovers, rejoice!”

I’m not particularly into very hoppy beers.  Drinking IPAs and beers labelled as ‘triple hop’ is however a necessary evil when trying to drink 500 different types of beer in a year, particularly in Montreal so it would seem.

Death Valley was actually a pleasant surprise.  Full bodied with a strong lively orange colour and light fizzy head.  It is quite hoppy of course but this did not put me off.  There are hints of fruit in the flavour, which made me think of some stronger white beers that I’ve tried so far this year.  It get Yeses for the following – being good, nice price, drink-again-ability (that’s now a word), description, recommend-ability (so is that), having something different or surprising.  6/11 

This is a pretty good showing and I would recommend the selection pack for anybody seeking a couple of different stronger beers.

No. 135 – Le Trefle Noir’s O’Born Evil

No. 135 – Le Trefle Noir’s O’Born Evil

This is the third beer I’ve tasted from Le Trefle Noir.  The first was their Stout, which got a very impressive 8/11 and the second was their Le Chronique Red Ale with a very respectable 6/11 (I still have to write up notes on that one).  This one just may be the best beer I’ve had so far…

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil image poured _500beers

This pours like a stout and the colour is very similar too.  I didn’t notice the hints of red mentioned in the description and that seem to be characteristic of the other scotch ales I’ve tried so far but that’s not really the point.  At 8.7% this is a pretty strong beer and the aroma reflects this.  The scent is warm and brings back memories of whiskey shots but it is also gentle almost like whiskey liqueur – the sort that you get in chocolates around Christmas time.  Before even tasting it, it made me think of sitting in a proper bar back home with a fireplace while the snow falls on a cold winter day.  These associations before even tasting the beer mean that it has something special to it.

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil image _500beers

Taste-wise, this was sublime.  It is very smooth, full of those caramel and toffee flavours that the description promises but it was also somewhat subtle for a stronger beer.  There was also that slight burn that you get with a whiskey after every gulp that warms the body.  Having had what I’d consider to be the ideal Summer beer only three days ago, I would suggest that this is the perfect Winter beer.  The aftertaste is also quite pleasant, like a good red wine, or even like a good liqueur chocolate it seems to linger on the tongue.  The gift that keeps giving.  I really like this beer.

To the scoring…

2017-05-03 - 135 - Le Trefle Noir O'Born Evil desc. _500beers

Yes, this is good.  Yes, I will drink it again and Yes, I would recommend it.  Yes for the price, I’d easily pay more than double for this.  Yes, it perfectly matches the description and Yes, it has that little something extra that makes it interesting or different.  So it gets all the standard marks now to separate the average from the amazing…

Yes, I’d go out of my way for this and given that it is now my new Winter beer, Yes, I would definitely go out in a snowstorm for it.  I would fight a bear for this, even a big one in a bad mood, so that’s another Yes and only the second beer to get this far.  I believe that I would even go out of my way to fight that bear, so this is the first beer that gets that tenth Yes.  I’m going to resist giving it that eleventh yes for the moment, but may revisit this one once I’ve tried a few more hundred beers to see if I still feel the same way.

So, we have a new leader with 10/11, O’Born Evil is the finest beer out of the 135 different beers I’ve tried this year.