April 12, 2012

Montreal Beer

Beside Montreal's wonderful Marché Jean-Talon is Le Marché Des Saveurs which does a very good job of promoting Quebec-made goods.

This cooler, for instance, contains only beers that were brewed in Quebec.

Most of them are not available in other provinces, but a happy exception is the line-up of beers from Unibroue.

With labels looking like 70s rock posters or fantasy novel cover art, what is on the outside is as distinct as what is on the inside. Unfiltered and with lots of lees exposure, the flavours are full, rich and rewarding.


Their Éphémère apple is a white ale brewed with apple must. It is fully dry and crisp, packed with tart green apple flavour and a long, satisfying yeasty finish. A real treat on a hot summer afternoon, but also great with a spicy dinner.



Their Ephémère black currant is made the same way and is similarly amazing. Fruity, spicy aromas and delicious black currant flavour. Like Ribena-and-soda without the sugar and all grown up.


The Blonde de Chambly is a Belgian-style beer with lemongrass and floral aromas leading to a palate full of crisp citrus and bitter hops. Just wonderful.

We're lucky to have some of these available at BC Liquor Stores and Legacy Liquor Store. Highly recommended.

Unibroue was bought by Ontario's Sleeman Breweries who was in turn bought by Sapporo Beer Company (サッポロビール株式会社). It would be great to someday drink an Ephémère apple after a long soak in the o-furo.


*Edit:
One note about the larger bottles of Unibroue is their unique cork-and-cage closures:


Quite fun, but they can be a little tricky to open sometimes. The cage is easy enough, and then they only need a twist to get the cork started. However, the head of the cork is smaller than that of a Champagne cork and on some bottles it can be difficult to get a grip on it.

We found that a rubber dish-washing glove is the simple answer. Drape it over the cork and it increases your gripping power enormously due, of course, to Schallamach waves.
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