Montreal: beer report

Posted by Nate in Beer, Travel, Work.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

The trip report wouldn’t be complete without at least a semi-comprehensive writeup of the multitude of brewpubs we visited!  You’ve already read about most of our adventures drinking through Michigan, but the city of Montreal has some gems worth mentioning.

Our first night, which Karen blogged, was spent at one of the walking-distance brewpubs, Les Trois Brasseurs.  Overall: give them a pass.  Not bad, some good "European" flavor, but points deducted for a recurring "off" flavor in all their beers except the very nice Wit.  On the plus side they offer a huge number of beer "cocktails", and Justin and I sampled the Wit plus whisky and maple syrup: a bit sweet, but hell yeah!

The next day I realized the full impact of my post on the conference site which called on all beer geeks to join up and go out – I found myself coordinating more than a dozen people as we struck out the crown jewel of Montreal brewpubs: Dieu du Ciel! (the exclamation point is part of the name!)

It wasn’t too be – hockey playoffs left no room for our posse, so we rode the Metro and walked to L’amère à boire.  It was fantastic!  They had a house pale ale on cask, an imperial stout we tried, a great dunkelweizen, and much more.  This one definitely makes the list of "stop in if you can".

Next day for lunch, determined to hit Dieu du Ciel! that evening, I talked some people into walking through the cold wind to Brutopia.  Another good choice!  We liked it so much I was talked into going there again that night with more people and found the downstairs area where they offered a really amazing I20080415042657_pict0041.jpgPA on cask and a few of their own beers in bottles.  The IPA tasted like "England in a pint" to me: malty and rich with just a nice zap of hops.  Really excellent.  And we sampled a bottle of their maple beer – also nice.  Dry and complex.  Much fun was had by everyone at this one, we lost a few of our earlier members and gained a few new ones.  Here’s a washed out picture so you can see some of the beer list behind me…  So:  go here too, and try to get the cask IPA.  The scotch ale is also a pleaser, as is the excellent mocha chocolate stout.  Mmmm.

20080416050703_img_5557.jpgFinally, we were down to the last night of the conference, and still no Dieu du Ciel!  I announced firmly to anyone that asked that I didn’t care what everyone else did, but I was definitely, no question about it, going to Dieu du Ciel tonight.  So we did – as 20080416201957_img_5562a.jpgsoon as the closing plenary was done, I grabbed Karen and we took a cab to the pub.  Another hockey game was starting soon, but we grabbed a seat at the bar (beer geeks always sit at the bar), and I started massively drooling over their beer list.  It’s seriously phenomenal: I think 17 beers on tap and one on cask.  Started with the maple scotch ale (maple’s a theme here, I think) which was truly amazing.  So good.  There was a peppercorn rye beer, a smoked pale ale, and an "indian cream ale" which was the I-could-drink-a-million-of-these winner for the evening.  We watched hockey and drank beer and life was good.

20080416050755_img_5565.jpgSpeaking of "beer geeks always sit at the bar", I happened to recognize a guy who came in after us – he’d been at Brutopia the night before!  A Canadian in town for business, he’d been making the brewpub rounds just like us!  We struck up a conversation and had much good beer talk, and you can thank him for all these pictures since our camera battery had died.  Beer brings people together, yo… :)

20080415042904_pict0004.jpgFinally it was time to leave.  Entering the US was pretty uneventful, other than a 14+ hour day of driving.  We made it Chicago after stopping in Kalamazoo to visit Bell’s Brewery – come on, I’m not gonna drive through KZoo and not stop at Bell’s!  Another beer trade for some amazing available-only-at-the-brewery bottles and we were back on the road to Chicago.

20080415042916_pict0001.jpgChicago was great, a super-quick meet and great with the crew there – who, to my distress/excitement, are almost all moving to CO in a few weeks!  Got to play a quick round of Garage Band (?), grab some delicious breakfast, and back on the road.

20080415042935_pict0003.jpgI leave you with a road trip self-portrait, snapped in the hubcap of a truck we were passing in Wisconsin.  If I did the math right, and I think I did unless I lost a receipt, the Corolla got about 41 mpg on this trip!!!  Whoa.  Guess that’s what cruise control coupled with Canada’s lower speed limit will do for you??  Anyone have a similar amazing mpg story?

Now trying to recover and catch up at work.  Always hard after the conference because I just want to work on implementing all the cool things I saw and learned and want to steal…

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One Response to “Montreal: beer report”

  1. Mary Jo Says:

    Glad to see you made it back safe and sound–too bad there wasn’t enough time for a quick stop in West Bend, but by the time you got into Wisconsin you probably were counting the hours (or minutes) left until you got to home sweet home. That picture in the hubcap of the truck is amazing–how you ever managed to even find a truck with a clean enough hubcap to get a shot like that is amazing in itself. Glad to see that you were able to get to your #1 on the list pub. As for the Corolla, sounds right on the mpg–we had gotten that a few times too on road trips.