Savoir-boire

Arguably the country’s best province for sheer brewpub selection, Quebec enjoys a well-earned reputation for artisanal brewing. It’s due more to free-spirited European attitude than French cultural influence (France being, naturellement, more of a wine country) but, whatever the reason, la belle province is a Canadian microbrew hotspot, and Montreal in particular is an expansive brewpub hub. The one common element is craft beer — from there, each locale offers unique variations on traditional recipes alongside (frequently one-off) custom creations. No proper Montreal beer tour should end without a taste from the following five exceptional brewpubs.

Le Saint-Bock
This atmospheric brewpub sports large, comfy black leather chairs, relaxing dim lights, and a mostly French young-adult crowd. Twenty taps devoted to Québécois draft beer are in weekly rotation — the list is vigilantly updated online — and include eight house-brewed beers purchasable by the pint, glass or taster. Three recommended favourites: Traitre (ESB 5%), Malédiction (Stout, 5%), and Brown Ale Omega 3 (5%). $6.50/pint. 1749 St-Denis St., 514-680-8052.

Dieu du Ciel

Nothing to hide at Dieu du Ciel, where huge glass doors proudly display the operational brewery and the scattered array of rustic wooden tables.  Eight original draft beers are available, with weekly alternating rotations. Hop lovers will opt for the Imperial Pale Ale (Double IPA, 8%), and black-ale fans the “night goddess,” Déesse Nocturne (Stout 5%). No time like the present though: The caramel-and-maple flavored scotch ale Équinoxe du Printemps (8%) is brewed once a year, in January, and aged for two months. In other words, it’s available as of now (March 21), and only while stock lasts. $6.50/pint. 29 Laurier Ave. West, 514-490-9555.

Le Cheval Blanc

Montreal’s oldest brewpub, Le Cheval Blanc has been serving quality artisanal beers since 1987 — which goes some way to explaining the retro lampshades, ’50s diner stools and wall of decidedly modern paintings that coalesce into art-house ambiance. Among the most popular on tap are Cheval Blanc’s Classic Amber (Ale, 5%), the raspberry-flavored Saison Framboise (Ale, 6%), and the sweet-yet-subtly-bitter Pils 15 (Lager, 6.5%). $4-7/pint. 809 Ontario West, 514-522-0211.

L’Amère à Boire
Three stories tall and often filled to capacity — the brick walls, wood décor and consistent jazz soundtrack, plus the location, make it popular with the after-work crowd — this St-Denis hotspot offers strictly house-brewed beer. Must-try brews include the coffee-and-chocolate infused Odense Porter (7.5%), the bitter Cerná Hora (Blonde lager, 5%), and the German-inspired Hefe Weizen Naturtrüb. (Wheat beer, 5%). $5-7/pint. 2049 St-Denis St., 514-282-7448.

Brutopia
Given its upscale Crescent Street address, no surprise that Brutopia serves a trendy crowd. With three bars on as many floors, the brewpub is a favourite among students and young adults, and is perhaps best known for its seasonal brews, which include the award-winning Chocolate Stout (5%), the light, red beer Frosty Morning (5%) and the smooth Cream Ale (5%). $5-7/pint. 1215 Crescent St., 514-393-9277.

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Image courtesy of Anders Adermark.

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2 thoughts on “Savoir-boire

  1. Thanks for these very good advices!! I like this website, and this article a lot… maybe because I like beer!!!
    Cheers”

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