Tag Archives: Stout

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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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!

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!

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No. 408 – Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

No. 408 – Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

The vast majority of the beers I have tried to date have been from Quebec breweries with the exception of a few imports that you can get at most bars around town.  Seeking to add a little variety to my beer list, I decided to check out an SAQ to see what other international beers were easily available close to my workplace.  Their selection seems pretty good online, a load of Belgian beers, some German, British, Irish, Italian and Greek but it seems to be a lottery when you actually go in to one of their stores.  On Friday, from the smallest beer selection I’ve seen so far, I picked out three beers, all reasonably priced from outside Québec.  Typically, I’m going to put a few notes about the third of them up first…

I wasn’t too sure what this would be like, most of the craft beers I tried when I was back home earlier in the year were fine without being anything special.  However, this is a mixture of my favourite things.  I like stout and have never had any food described as ‘double chocolate’ that has been disappointing.  Further to this, a google search reveals that it gets some very good reviews here and there.  I don’t normally check out other reviews but once in a while it is interesting to see if my tastes match those of other people.

It pours nicely and gives a frothy light brown head, though I had to work at it to get it looking good.  The aroma is that of a decent stout with a hint of chocolate.  However, there is nothing that stands out, nothing that I haven’t noticed or been impressed by in many other stouts and porters over the year.  So it starts off a little disappointing by comparison to other beers I’ve tried.

To taste, it feels like a slightly more watery Guinness texture wise, with a dark chocolate aftertaste that lingers in the mouth a while.  It has a nice immediate sweetness to it which is rather subtle, not what I was expecting to be honest.  I’d have liked a richer flavour rather than a little sweetness and an aftertaste that builds slowly as you get through the bottle.  This all makes it a little hard to rate.

Yes, it is good, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it.  It’s definitely worth the $4 or so that I paid for it, so that’s another Yes.  Is it accurate though?  Not really, it’s like a porter and didn’t feel ‘double chocolate’ to me as such I’m giving it half of a Yes, a Ye if you will and the same for being a little different as I’m in a generous mood.  I’m also going to give it a Yes for drink-again-ability and a Yes for recommend-ability.  5/11

This is a perfectly fine beer and I think my disappointment with it and the relatively average mark comes from the fact that I have tried many great stouts so far this year from places such as Dieu du Ciel.  I will however reconsider this one in January when I do the Beer-Off to determine the best beer available in Montreal.

 

 

3 From Les Trois Brasseurs

3 From Les Trois Brasseurs

A quick mention for Les Trois Brasseurs, or the Three Brewers if you’re in Ottawa.

I visited their St. Catherine/Crescent location on Saturday after a day at the Chambly Beer Festival (write up to follow).  It’s s place I’ve been to on a few occasions in the past and always liked somewhat.  This year so far, I had only visited the St. Denis location and tried their brown ale, so an opportunity to try others was hard to resist…

Nos. 326 – 328 – Les Trois Brasseurs Stout, Amber and Blonde

None of these live up to the Brown Ale that I tried earlier in the year at the St. Denis location, but having said that, they’re not bad.

The stout has a creamy thick head and is in effect very much a Guinness style beer.  It’s pretty good if that’s what you’re after and I’m giving it a 6/11.  If I really fancied this type of beer (a standard stout without those extra coffee flavours), I would probably just go and grab a good Guinness somewhere.

The Amber and the Blonde ale were both a little disappointing.  Appearance wise they are not that different, which tells you more about the potential flavour of the amber ale than the blonde.  It was a little weak, fine for drinking with a meal in that the flavours will not overwhelm anything, but only enough to get a 4/11.  The blonde was a decent blonde ale, but lacked anything special that would give it a higher than average mark.  Again, it’s probably fine for accompanying a meal, it’s not going to be overwhelming but if you’re just out to enjoy good beer, it won’t sate your thirst.  Also a 4/11.

That’s four from Les Trois Brasseurs to date.  It’s a fine place, but not special for tasting beers, which is disappointing on consideration of the Brown Ale.  If I find myself there again this year trying a new beer it will be opportunism rather than choice.

Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Until a couple of Fridays ago, I’d been in Benelux on Sherbrooke twice in my life.  The first was in 2009 and involved cocktails (from what I recall), the second was almost three years ago for the first of many micro-brewery tour meet ups that I have gone to over the last few years.  So this was an untapped source of new beers.  I have now visited both the locations, the other being on Wellington in Verdun.  I definitely prefer the feel of the bar on Sherbrooke and would recommend it over the other…

No. 275 – Le Beat (Sherbrooke)
2017-08-04 - 275 - Benelux Le Beat _500beers

This is a standard black IPA, hops in the aroma and a little hoppy to taste.  The bitterness really comes through in the warm aftertaste.  Not much else to say on this one!  It gets a standard 5/11, for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 293 – Troy (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 293 - Benelux Troy _500beers

This one’s a little deceptive.  It’s pitched as a dry stout but doesn’t look like one, the picture was taken just after it was poured and the head and already disappeared.  The colour as well was also quite light.  I thought it was a little bland at first but it grew on me a bit.  There’s a nice chocolate/caramel character to this beer which seems to coat the mouth and make the drink more pleasurable which each gulp.  It’s getting 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate (this is a bit of a stretch, but they’re my marks so…), for having something a little unique, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 294 – Prélude (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 294 - Benelux Prélude _500beers

This is a very bright blonde ale that was surprisingly good.  It has a nice maltyness that coats the mouth and a little hit of bitterness from the hops.  It’s a nice balance.  I didn’t pick up on much else flavour wise, but this was a refreshing pint indeed.  I’m giving it 5.5/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The extra 0.5 of a Yes is for luck.

So, I’ve had three beers from Benelux and while there has been nothing outstanding as yet, they do have some decent beers and I will go back before the end of the year.  At least, I’ll go back to the Sherbrooke location.

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

 

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

It’s nice to feel like you’ve earned a beer, that’s why I think bars should be located at the tops of hills.  Yesterday, I earned my four beers by exploring the nature reserve at Mont-Saint-Hilaire.  My legs hurt today…

No. 259 – Smash Beloeil

I was hoping for a lot from the beers at this bar as I’d meticulously planned my trip to Mont-Saint-Hilaire and Beloeil and knew that I would probably be in pain by the time I sat down for lunch.  I wasn’t aware of what this was supposed to be as I couldn’t see the description clearly from my table.  I immediately thought it was a hoppy pale ale.  Pretty close in fact, as it is a hoppy blonde ale.  However, it doesn’t taste like a blonde – it made me think a lot more of pale ales that I’ve tried from Archibald and St. Ambroise.  It seemed a little watery and bland by comparison.  It gets 2/11 for being all right (1), for the price (0.5) and for the description (0.5).

No. 260 – Le Matsi

This was an odd beer.  It’s an English Red Ale, with a more caramel brown colour.  The aroma was a little surprising – a strong and distinct milk chocolate aroma with hints of toffee.  This is more common in slightly darker beers so I wasn’t expecting it here in what looks like a lighter red ale.  The aroma follows through into the taste.  It still seemed a little watery but there was enough here to impress me enough to give it a decent mark.  It gets 6/11 for being good, for the description, for having something slightly different, for the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 261 – La Douce Caroline

I had to try this as my ukulele is called Caroline.  Anyway, it’s blonde ale and it looks pretty good in the glass, with an almost burnt aroma, which I cannot describe in a better way.  This was promising.  Unfortunately, it was a little bland like the Smash Beloeil.  It did however have more of a blonde ale feel to it.  It was malty and a little thicker than the majority of other blonde ales I’ve had.  I like maltyness so this was a good thing.  It’s getting 4/11 for being good, for the price, for the description and 0.5 for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability each.

No. 262 – La Noire Bassine

And a milk stout to finish.  This was fine, it doesn’t compare to the best stouts I’ve had this year so far but for a weaker stout that’s no surprise.  It made me think of an average pint of Guinness, with similar creaminess in the head and a similar flavour in the body.  I can’t really fault this beer for what it is so it’s getting 5/11 for being good, worth the price, accurately described, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The problem with the beer is that it is not a pint of chocolately-coffeeish heaven.

So, I didn’t find a great beer here, which is disappointing but three decent beers out of four is still pretty good.