Booze Cruise: Quebec brewers set the bar for a top-notch craft beer tradition

Monday 11th, August 2014 / 19:46
By Jeff Jamieson

CALGARY — Here in Alberta, the movement toward true craft brewing is still in its infancy. Exciting things are on the horizon with small start-ups like Tool Shed and Last Best Brewing arriving on the scene, and the amount of quality beer coming out of Alberta will only increase over time. It is fun to watch this burgeoning beer scene take hold and grow, but we have a long road ahead if we wish to be considered a great beer-making province.

If we wish to one day be the best, we are going to have to aim high and the way to do that is to recognize the greatest of our contemporaries, the province of Quebec, which, on the whole, has been producing the country’s best beers for decades.

Brewing is a large part of Quebecois culture. They love and respect the process and, because of this, they have long produced the best beers this country has to offer. One of the best ways to explore the province of Quebec is through its beers and there are many great starting points. Below are just a few of the province’s outstanding brewers.

MicroBrasserie Charlevoix

The Charlevoix brewery has been making beers since 1998 and is a true microbrewery. Focusing on Belgian-style beers, Charlevoix makes one of Canada’s great food beers, Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus. Charlevoix’s beers are known for their complexity and balance. I count their Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout as one of my favourite beers and believe it to be one of Canada’s great brews.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

AB-CITY-Booze-Cruise-mThe Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! on West Laurier in Montreal may be Canada’s best brewpub. We are blessed here in Alberta that we have had Dieu du Ciel! beers available in this market for years. The most impressive thing about Dieu du Ciel! is its range: whether you try some of their dark-style high alcohol beers, like Péché Mortel, or some of their delicate lighter beers, like Blanche du Paradis, they never disappoint.

Micro Brasserie Le Trou du Diable

I can’t say enough about this wonderful producer. I have yet to try a beer from them that has not impressed on some level. They are dedicated to the process and make styles of beer with enviable precision and consistency. Noteworthy brews from Le Trou du Diable are the La Buteuse, a barrel-aged saison with a secondary fermentation in the bottle, and La Dulcis Succubus, a wild ferment saison-style beer that begs to be consumed with food. Simply outstanding.

These are only a few of Quebec’s otherworldly brewers. There is also the legendary Unibroue, brewer of Maudite; the McAuslan Brewery, who does wonderfully straightforward North American-style beers; and the fresh new face on the scene, Brasserie Dunham, who, after only four years in production, is poised to be Quebec’s next great brewer.

All of the above-mentioned producers are available here in Alberta so head down to your local purveyor of fine beer and check them out! Vive la bière Québecois!

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