The ever sexy Blanche du Paradis.
In a world where the majority of beer is being produced by massive conglomerates of corporations who merger on a scale that approaches the obscene. These conglomerates often take over quaint and historical breweries and either move production of their brands to a more efficient brewery and the beer changes for the worst or drop the beer altogether. These moves further create a loss of identity and remove any complexity in beer in order to reach a broader market but there is a small movement fighting back that is the plight of the small scale brewer who is not willing to grow if there is a fear to sacrifice quality in order to satisfy demand. One of my favorites and Canada's highest revered Artisanal beer hails from the grand city of Montreal and is known as Dieu du Ciel. With a brewery name that translates god of the sky what else can you expect but incredible quality of craft?
A tall quaffable Kölsch next to the sexy Blanche du Paradis
Their brews are best looked at as being a form of art, and the process is one adhering to a great philosophy of quality over growth first satisfying the local market even though there is great demand for the beer in the states. Ingenious creations sculpted into their final form by millions of microbial specimens known as yeast cells. Brews are produced adhering to traditional styles but also leaving room to ever expand the concept of what we know and regard as beer. In their portfolio they offer an interesting array of brews created with vision such as their Rose D' Hibiscus a wheat beer base in fluxed with Hibiscus flowers which pours a vibrant red and offers subtle flavors that both quench thirst and appease the palate, having this on tap at the brew pub is an experience well worth seeking. Also of note is the Aphrodisiac a stout brewed with fair trade Cocoa and Vanilla Beans which is the smoothest tasting stout I have yet encountered and I often use this to introduce those to stouts who d say they don't enjoy dark beers even though they are both coffee and chocolate lovers (the two more predominant flavors in many stouts). An interesting beer to try is the Route d'Epices which is a rye beer infused with black and green peppercorns, although you might not be inclined to search out a peppery beer the flavors are subtle and I can't imagine a better beer to use cooking with meats. How could I forget to mention the Fumisterie a hemp and rye beer which is delectable to say the least.
Probably the smoothest stout you'll ever try.
A Dangerous beer that is entirely a slow sipper and a delightful one at that is the beer that translates in english to Mortal Sin. While at the brewpub this past summer the residual foam left on the glass left the mark of a smiling skeleton which only eluded to the notion of how dangerous a beer this is, it comes in quite strong at 9.5% and is rumored to have the equivalent of two espresso shots in each pint. This beer often replaces coffee for me in the morning and is the perfect accompaniment to rocking out a good book and looking out at a fresh snow in the picture window. I also recently went for a snowshoe amidst a heavy snowstorm and brought a glass and this beer for the voyage. The situational environment, although making it harder to pick out the subtle nuances that make this beer so fantastic eluded to more enjoyment from this beer.
The beer behind the skeleton.
Also be sure to check out their more traditional brews such as the Horn of the Devil (IPA) , Last will (Abbey Blonde), Pagan (Blonde), Blanche du Paradis, a Wit beer created with grains of paradise instead of the more often used coriander. A little more rare but worth seeking out are the smaller production brews Winter Solstice (Barely Wine), Rigor Mortis (Quadrupel), Charbonniere (smoked malts) and the Maple Scotch Ale released as seasonals. With such a broad portfolio of beers you are sure to find a new favorite for any palates tastes. As well I have only mentioned the beer that they bottle, if you are ever in Montreal be sure to check out one of their two locations as they feature many more stlyes and innovations of styles at their brewpub and microbrewery locations. If you find yourself lucky enough and being present during special occasions you might come across an opening of a bottle of one of the beers that has either been aged on oak or is of an old vintage. This happenstance is truly spectacular and being present during their anniversary party or during festivals are your best bet to have this fortune.
Visiting the pub is a pleasant experience, the brewing facilities are cramped but that plays no role in how the beer turns out.
So please do me a favor and show your appreciation to the artistic side of beer creation and if in Montreal drop in for a pint you won't soon forget as well as taking a little extra effort and tracking the bottles down at Premier wine and spirits in Halifax or the Garrisons ale house in Fredericton. The Montreal locations are as follows brewpub 29, avenue Laurier Ouest and 259 rue de Villemure St-Jérôme.
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