Being a French culture, it’s no surprise that wine is the most heavily drank libation in Quebec. However, every time I go to Montreal, it’s all about the beer. I have to say, Montreal might just be the best beer city in North America. Sure you have your larger microbrews such as Les Brasseurs du Nord and McAuslan Brewery, but it’s the smaller microbrews that caught my attention.
It seems that every restaurant and dive bar I went to in the MTL has a little brewery in the back. Beer might be in a minority, but the people take it really seriously around here. There is a passion for the brew here that I’ve yet to see anywhere else, with everyone from the brewers all the way down to the bar backs having an almost collegiate knowledge of their beer. Sure you can get your Budweiser at the corner store, but why would you?
Speaking of taking beer seriously, I had the chance (thanks to my boy Ale Sharpton) to check out Brasseur de Montréal. The brewery and restauraunt is located in a gentrifying post-industrial part of the city, and is getting a reputation for creating some of the most unique beer combinations in North America. We had the chance to chat with the young brewmasters at the spot, get a brewery tour, as well as sample all of their beers on tap.
Unlike some breweries that go to the extreme with their creations, however, Brasseur is very subtle. Their best beer for the summer is no doubt their African Roobios Tea brew, which is so delicious that you forget that you’re even drinking beer!
Second on the list is the Fruit Beer (. Yes, I know that fruity beers should most likely be reserved for woo girls out at the club, but the “Les bieres o fruit” at Brasseur is a perfect combination to the summer. The fruit sensation is not that overpowering, and at 4% ABV is a nice “sipper” beer for the summer months.
If you want something darker, the guys produce three excellent brews. The “American style” RastafaYan, a brown with a light nutty chocolate taste, as well as their stout, The Ghosttown, and their award-winning Millésime (quite possibly the best beer I’ve tasted this year).
After the samplings, we stumbled into the brewery, which produces the beer for the restaurant as well as for sale. The first thing you notice about anything that comes out of Brasseur is that the “eyes” on their packaging. No one really knows who started it, but it’s a very peculiar marketing tactic and it definitely will get the small brewery noticed on supermarket shelves.
While walking through the brewery, the smells of the yeast and barley hit you immediately. The small microbrew not only makes everything that they sell, but they also do contract brews for other labels as well as private sellers (if you have the dough). Seeing the gleam in their eye, you will notice quite quickly that the brewers are passionate about what they do. They’re in the lab (yes, they have one) constantly figuring out new flavors and products.
Alas, you can only find this stuff North of The Border, and the operation has no plans to distribute in The States. What a shame. It seems that their creative take on beer will be well received here. Oh well, it just means I need to make another trip to Montreal.
Brasseurs De Montréal
1485 Rue Ottawa
Montréal, QC Canada