Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Montreal Pub Tour - April 2010

Our first Montreal pub tour was back in May of 2009. Here is the link to that entry and the fun we had.


The plan this time was to hit a few new places and of course try some new beers. We ended up choosing 3 places, including Brutopia from the first trip, and tasted 12 styles of beer before the night was through.

809 Rue Ontario Est
(514) 522-0211
Sherbooke Metro Stop (Orange Line)
Le Cheval Blanc offers a combination of house brewed and unique import beers. All selections written on floor to ceiling chalkboard adjacent to the bar. The pub was nearly ½ full when we arrived around 5 PM, new patrons at a pretty good clip.

Euro feel / dark with a punk edge. Maroon and green color palette with funky feel, café or diner like with an eclectic collection of musician pictures hanging on the wall. We could not help feeling like Kerouac could start reciting at any time while the crowd snaps their fingers in approval. Our waitress with her bright red hair and combat boots made us feel surprisingly at home. Though her English was spotty and our French limited we managed to speak the language of beer quite easily!
Cream Ale ( 5.4% ABV )
Creamy – bitter + strong after taste
Smells like warm butter
“Repeat favorite in the making”
Would be great with hot buttered popcorn

Cask Drawn Warrior IPA ( 6.4% ABV )
Yeasty and hoppy nose
Served at cellar temp
Smoky, rich and strong

Margot – ”A serious beer drinkers beer; not for the faint of heart.”

A contemplative customer enters and walks right to the chalkboard
and thinks, “Maybe I will try something I have not had.”

Blonde Lager ( 5% ABV )

Sharp and refreshing
Neutral aroma
Slight citrus taste in the finish
Would be good with a slice of orange/lemon
This feels like a classic “I wanna drink beer” beer

Noire ( stout, 4.1% ABV)

Strong mocha nose
Low carbonation
Margot – “I never like dark beer, but could drink a pint or two of this”
Tastes like a dark chocolate latte
This feels like an “experience beer”

Saison Blanc ( 6% ABV)

This beer is re-fermented with the while yeast Brettanomyces
Perfect for fish, fried or not
Clove and banana nose reminiscent of other Belgian styles
This is a “pairing or food” beer
Very dry, not as rich as Belgian dubble and tripel style

245 Sherbrooke West
(514) 543-9750
Place-des-Arts Metro Stop (Green Line)
Benelux is located in an old bank with the vault used to create a more private space in the back. Definitely a place to see and be seen with a very different clientele, think younger and hipper, than Le Cheval Blanc. Busy on a Friday night after work.
We added some food to the mix here.

Tex-Mex Chicken Panini (contained mushrooms and a spicy sauce which was light). Green olives on the plate as well – it was good with crunchy bread, but not super-special. Hit the spot with and after the beers

Chips (didn’t find out if they are made on site or not). Kind of like Cape Code plain chips
Bock ( 6% ABV )
Mild nose and medium body
Somewhat earthy, a little chocolate flavor

Olives and mushrooms paired very well with it

Lux Rouse ( Red Ale, 5% ABV)
Standard red ale.
Good but not memorable, we both agreed
Did not pair well with panini

Moonboot ( Belgian, 9% ABV )

Very clean, served in snifter so good aromas were very accessible.
Aromas and flavors were on par with typical Belgian double/triple fermented styles
Metallic smell from the glass was a little weird
The alcohol was not perceptible, but did not take long to make itself known!

1215 Rue Crescent
(514) 393-9277
Lucien-L'Allier Metro Stop (Orange Line)
Bruopia was the only stop that was a return visit. This choice was based on the solid selection from prior visits and close proximity to our hotel. It turned out that, with the exception of the Raspberry Blonde, the beers didn’t impress as much this time which might mean we would only come here to drink the selections which we know and could expect to be safe. Those are good and are worth it.
Smoked Porter
Subtle flavors, mildly bitter
Woody, reminds a bit of maple sap (not sugar)
Lighter smoke than expected
Didn’t pop, I actually didn’t finish it

Raspberry Blonde
This is our current and continued favorite in Montreal
“Will it beat the Noire?”
Smells like raspberries
Tastes of raspberries and citrus
“Raspberry lemonade OR iced tea?”
Grain and malt flavors are very perceptible and in balance

Smells like ginger sautéed with butter
Mild/low carbonation
Smells better than it tastes, not spicy and no perceptible sweetness
Medium dry
Better as a late drinker when unique tastes are not as crucial
Needs a little sweet and a little citrus
One observation is that the lighter beers made for better night drinking, which makes sense but was obvious in practice.
We weren't finished yet, but I'll save that for my next posting.

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