The downside to being a carry-on only traveler is that I can never bring beer home from my travels. It is really, truly a bummer when you visit Montreal, home of one of the finest craft beer scenes in Canada. In addition to eating all the delicious food, craft beer figured heavily in my recent trip to Montreal, where I got to mix it up at beer bars, microbreweries, and in the comfort of my temporary home for the weekend.
Microbreweries, Beer Bars & Brewpubs
Dieu du Ciel! 29 Avenue Laurier Ouest
I liked it so nice, I went back twice. My apologies, that was terrible. Looking up at the board to 20 or so DDC beers on tap, I decided to only order things I hadn’t had before, or weren’t available in bottles at home. The choice was easy: Gaélique Irish Ale. I had been hoping to have their Solstice d’Été summer seasonal, but, my bad luck, it was not on tap on of my visits. On my visit, I returned for a flight (une dégustation en français) consisting of Mild End mild ale, Rosée Hibiscus flower wit, Lanterne Rouge bitter. All of them light and fresh for a warm Montreal summer night. Best tip: check the website for an up to date taplist before you go!
Vices & Versa: 6631 Boulevard Saint Laurent
We visited Vices & Versa after a fun stroll around Montreal’s Little Italy neighbourhood and were ready for some snacks and refreshment. The day we visited, there was a wedding reception happening, which made for fun, festive atmosphere. I had the Brasserie Dunham American Pale Ale, and a Session IPA from Microbrasserie Le Naufrageur Session IPA, as well as some nachos to refuel after a busy day or wandering. Before you go, visit their website for a handy beer-finder to help you pick the beer you’ll like best when you visit.
Brutopia: 1219 Rue Crescent
Brutopia was a bit off of the beaten path for my particular trip, but most visitors to Montreal will easily find themselves in the vicinity. Located on a bar-filled street near lots of shopping, hotels, and festival venues, the atmosphere is familiar and friendly. For us, it was a perfect place to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon. The crew and locals on hand were friendly and happy to chat, both about their product and any of suitable topic, and the visit ended up as one of the highlights of the trip.
I had the Cherry Wheat Ale (with all of the cherries pitted by hand by the beermaker), Hoptimus Prime, a richly flavoured, but not bitter, hoppy ale, followed by some onion rings and a Scotch Ale. The pub food is great for rainy afternoon snacks and making new beer friends. Try to find a seat at the bar!
Le Cheval Blanc: 809 Rue Ontario Est
Le Cheval Blanc was dark, with loud music, so it really not conducive to conversation with my friends or anyone else for that matter. I just ordered off the board, but really enjoyed their raspberry wheat ale. It was quite hip and decent fun, but after the extra-super fun we had with the crew at Brutopia, it was a diminished experience. I’ll give it another try the next time I’m in town!
Craft beer by the bottle
Upon arrival, we stocked up on groceries at the store by our flat. The craft beer selection was simply fantastic, and, unlike at home, all contained within the store. No need for two stops!
Microbrasserie Le Bilboquet: La Bienfaisante Pale Ale sur lie
Admittedly, the aging process used in this brew is one I know nothing about, but the end result was a light, flavourful pale ale. According to the brewery, it’s brewed to support local organizations, which I can heartily endorse!
Le Trou de Diable: Shawinigan Handshake Strong Ale
A strong ale notably inspired by Hopfenweisse. Depending on which side of the handshake you found yourself, this was one of the more noteworthy moments of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s time in office and is celebrated as a “pugnacious” ale suitable for throttling Canadian “personality” Don Cherry. The recipient of the original Shawinigan Handshake was far less enthused, read up for a very Canadian version of events (if you’re Canadian, you’ll know what I mean: )
The only that got away: DDC’s Solstice d’Été
Montreal is a great city for beer lovers, there are delicious options everywhere, people love talking about beer, and there are a bunch of craft breweries a short drive from the city if you want to get out and see a bit more of La Belle Province. This trip was a fun one for me, lots of light, fun summer beers, but I went home disappointed, I didn’t get to try the much-anticipated Solstice d’Été by Dieu du Ciel. As luck would have it, one of the beer shops down the street from my house got a huge supply in days after I got home. So, so, so good. Such a perfect summer beer there are no more words.
Tell me, beer travelers, where’s another great beer destination? Hit the comments or Tweet me at @bitesizedtravel!