Beer

O Beer! O Hodgson, Guinness, Allsopp, Bass!
Names that should be on every infant's tongue!
Shall days and months and years and centuries pass,
And still your merits be unrecked, unsung?
Oh! I have gazed into my foaming glass,
And wished that lyre could yet again be strung
From Beer (1861) by C. S. Calverley

Beer places, beer links
Mondial de la Bière 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008 2011 2012

In the beginning

I learned to like beer when I was introduced to Dow (O’Keefe, Montréal) by DC (1941–2005) in the 1970’s. The label shown here is from the old stubby bottle shown at the top of this page. See Beerology discussion (1, 2) of Dow’s demise.

2000 May, Guided tour of Roundhouse

Steam Whistle pilsner (Steam Whistle Brewing): First tasted at the brewery after an enjoyable guided tour, while I was in Toronto for an OTL conference at the time of a weekend of open houses at public buildings. I bought a case of six to take back to D&D, and some time later they brought a case when they came to Montréal. I most recently had one with SD at the top of the CN Tower, 2001 Oct. It is a very pleasant pilsner. (The brewery is in the old roundhouse in downtown Toronto. The seemingly very appropriately train-related name was actually decided upon before the location at the roundhouse had been thought of, and was intended to convey the sense of a traditional working man's beer.)

2001 Jan, Gifts from RvW after completing his thesis

Palm: pleasant

Hertog Jan: shared with Zs, Ph&S and JL at get-together to celebrate end of Notes project.

Bock Bier: pleasant, don't really remember much

Vondel: very smooth at first, too strongly alcoholic toward the end

De Verboden Vrucht: primed by reading about it, could imagine a chocolaty bitterness, but not vanilla or coriander; as for Vondel, strongly alcoholic toward the end, too much so for my taste.

Grimbergen Tripel (made under licence by Maes): cloudy, bubbly; yeasty flavour, strongly alcoholic

Leffe Radieuse: supposedly rich, fruity and spiced, but for me everything was overwhelmed by the alcohol.

2001 May, Birthday gifts from JL and LGD

Harp: a tasty lager

Quelque Chose (Unibroue): interesting; I can't remember the taste of kriek well enough to know how alike they are

Maudite (Unibroue): large bottle shared with JMJ, May 13; his immediate reaction was that it tasted like homebrew. After trying to figure out what it reminded me of, I couldn't think of anything other than perhaps someone's very nice homebrew. Possibly aided by being in the country and drinking while walking through the woods.

Eau Bénite (Unibroue, Chambly): large bottle, again drunk at JMJ's but not shared this time. Not as magical as the Maudite, but drinkable, and not so aggressively alcoholic as many strong beers.

2001 Jul, Portland

These beers were tasted with DF while on holiday in Portland, Ontario.

Jul 1–2

Dave's Scotch Ale (Molson)

Lakeport Pilsener

Jul 3

St. Peter's Lemon & Ginger Spiced Ale, St. Peter's Brewery, Suffolk, UK. Bought by DF at LCBO. Fragrance reminds me of skunk. At first tasted spice but not lemon, but later on reminded me of lager & lime. Very nice (even the skunk). We drank it while tasting some Rare Old (4–5 years old) cheddar from Forfar, which was also very good.

Jul 4

Belle-Vue Framboise lambic, Belgium. Light raspberry flavour, little beery flavour. Slight skunk fragrance. Refreshing at beginning, sweetish by end.

Jul 4–6

Upper Canada Lager

Jul 7

Muskoka Cream Ale, on tap at marina restaurant. Good but not as creamy as I'd expected.

Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout, Young & Co's Brewery, The Ram Brewery, Wandsworth, London. Combination of brightness (presumably due to carbonation, although it wasn't very effervescent) and strong dark chocolate flavour. Very interesting, although the chocolate flavour was really too bitter for my taste.

Jul 8

Royal Extra Stout ('The Lion Stout'), Carib Brewery, Champs Fleurs, Trinidad, W.I. Less chocolaty and less bitter than yesterday's Young's stout, more pleasant to my taste.

Jul 9

Courage Directors Bitter. Full ale flavour, something of a bitter aftertaste. Very enjoyable.

Jul 9–

Upper Canada Maple Brown Ale. Mildly pleasant, no detectable maple flavour.

Jul 10

Beamish Irish Stout, Beamish & Crawford, Cork (can with widget). My impression was that it was intermediate between Guinness and the Royal Extra Stout from Trinidad.

Jul 11

Dos Equis, on tap. Amber, but very little flavour.

Jul 12

We bought some more Beamish stout and some Guinness, to compare them by drinking them in succession. First half a can each of Guinness followed by half a can each of Beamish, then later in the opposite order. The Beamish seems a bit milder than the Guinness.

Pilsner Urquell. Very nice. (The first time I had this was with Zs&M at their rented cottage in the Laurentians several years ago – perhaps my first appreciation of a lager with a really distinctive flavour.)

Jul 13

Caffrey's. Fragrance of apple as I opened the first. Enormous head. Very smooth, not a lot of flavour.

Niagara Spray Beer, Taylor & Bate, St. Catharines. Full-bodied lager, very drinkable.

There is apparently an active Perth Brewery north of Perth, but its beer wasn't available in the restaurant we went to in Perth, and the man in the LCBO here had never heard of it. We also saw a building in Perth with 'Tay Brewer' on the side, but it seemed inactive, and one of the young women in the restaurant said that she thought she remembered her father going there to get supplies for making his own beer.

Over the two weeks we've also tried the cheddar cheese from Forfar. The Old (12–18 months) seems the sharpest. The Rare Old (4–5 years) is less sharp, although drier and with some crystals in it. The Extra Old (2–3 years) was smooth, dry, flavourful but not too sharp.

2001 Nov 1, McGill Cider & Beer Tasting

I tasted three beers from the Le Chaudron brewery. Chanvre Rouge and Coeur d'Or were from a keg. At the recommendation of the representative, I tried Chanvre Rouge first – it seemed milder and smoother than I remember the bottled version being recently. Then I tried the Coeur d'Or, which had a quite distinct and enjoyable bitterness. Both were served quite cold; one representative said that they recommend drinking them at 4 C, which seems a shame. Finally I tried the Cobra, which is supposed to be an IPA, with a somewhat higher alcohol content. It was served much warmer, too warm according to the representative. It was OK but I seemed to taste too much alcohol.

I then tried McAuslan's Scotch Ale, a seasonal. It also is higher in alcohol content. The representative assured me that it would be very smooth in spite of that, but I found it too strong.

I also tried two apple ciders from La Cidrerie du Village, that only sells from their location in Rougemont. I had the last bit from a bottle of sparkling cider that didn't really have much life left in it. I then tried a clear 'wine-like' cider which had a very nice flavour of apple.

2001 Nov, Halifax

With MB, RvW and MP, and others from MB's department, tasted draught Garrison's Barrack Street Brown at the Lord Nelson. At a curry house tasted Kingfisher (ostensibly from India but actually 'Brewed under licence in the U.K.', and apparently slated to be brewed by Mendocino Brewing in the U.S.A.) At the Argyle restaurant tasted draught Propeller Bitter. At the Lord Nelson again, tasted draught Boddingtons Pub Ale (and won a music CD). I quite liked all of them, especially the draught ales.

2001 Oct–Nov

Chanvre Rouge [‘red hemp’] (Le Chaudron, Montréal): First purchased from the cheese store in the Atwater Market, 2001 Oct. When I first tasted it, I found it interestingly tasty. The next few times, the taste seemed to be mainly the unpleasant taste of a strongly alcoholic beer, even though it's only 5%. The 5th and 6th of the case of 6, however, again struck me as interestingly and not unpleasantly tasty. (Note that hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant, which is in the same family as hops.)

Coeur d'Or (Le Chaudron): First purchased from the cheese store in the Atwater Market, 2001 Nov. Enjoyable. I don't notice the same distinct bitterness that I noticed in the draught that I tasted Nov 1. Possibly because I'm drinking it warmer than it was served then? Or because it's bottled? Or it's my imagination. The case of six that I bought had a mixture of two different labels but the other cases all had only the one with a woman standing in a flaming heart. Both styles are present on the Web page.

Saint André (Brewed for Saint André Brewing by F&M Brewery, Guelph): First tasted as a gift from DF, 2001 Oct. Good flavour plus bitterness, felt very smooth in the mouth.

Eisbock 2001 (Niagara Falls Brewing): Also tasted as a gift from DF, 2001 Oct. For me the 8% alcohol tastes too strong, but there is a good flavour underneath. (Part of profit donated to United Way.)

St-Hubert, brewed for the restaurant chain by Unibroue: similar to, or the same as, Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly.

2001 Christmas, Toronto

A number of different beers were exchanged as gifts in various directions as we stayed with D&D for Christmas.

Iron Duke Strong Ale (Wellington County Brewery): brown/red, was tasty. Special Cream Pale Ale was a bit watery by comparison.

Brune d'Achouffe (Brasseurs RJ): full taste and yeasty, a bit spicy. Blonde d'Achouffe: light and yeasty plus a bit of spice. These seasonal beers are brewed under licence from the Belgian Brasserie d'Achouffe.

Warsteiner: very drinkable, described by Jackson as milder than other German Pilsners.

Tuborg: less tasty than Warsteiner, described by Jackson as ‘very mild indeed’.

Old Speckled Hen (Morland): wonderful!

McEwan's Scotch Ale (Scottish Courage): dark and strong; the alcohol taste was not overpowering, although I had the impression that it might have become so if I'd taken longer to drink it and it had warmed up further.

Foster: while imbibing a 750-cc can solo, I found nothing remarkable, nor anything objectionable. An enormous head in the first glass, perhaps because I had it rather too warm.

Exel (Molson): 0.5%, awful. Tasted like rice soup. In last-minute shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, after which I'd have to drive, I'd assumed I could find a good selection so passed up a 0.9% beer at the Beer Store, but then all I could find at Loblaw's was this and President's Choice.

Grolsch Premium Lager: mild; after it had warmed up it had quite a pleasant taste, and some after-bitterness.

Tsingtao: very little head, mild. With a slight skunkiness: I don't dislike it but I'm not sure it's supposed to be there. The bottle is quite a light colour, and maybe it was on the shelf for a long time?

Beck: very light colour, some sharpness of flavour, quite nice.

Rivière Rouge (St-Arnould): red, quite bitter.

2002 Jan–Mar

Brune d'Achouffe and Blonde d'Achouffe (Brasseurs RJ): In January I bought for myself the same gift pack of 3 large bottles that I'd taken to Toronto at Christmas. I found that I liked them enough to drink a whole bottle in an evening.

Old Speckled Hen (Morland): I bought 4 cans at a Beer Store in Toronto in February, to see if it was really as wonderful as I thought at Christmas. It was. Mild; seemed beautifully warm and flat even straight out of the refrigerator.

Waterloo Dark (Brick): a dark lager, pleasant flavour, a touch of sweetness. Draught tasted at Foster's in Toronto with SD, Feb 27, with a good beef curry.

Creemore Springs Premium Lager: on the train, courtesy of SD, Mar 1. Very tasty.

La Bolduc (Unibroue): ‘Old style Beer’, pilsner supposedly ‘reminiscent of the 1950s’, in an old-fashioned stubby bottle. Tasty.

Blonde d'Épeautre (Bières de la Nouvelle-France, Saint-Paulin): made from unmalted spelt, an ancient form of wheat. Supposedly fruity and slightly bitter, to me it tasted yeasty although it was clear.

Claire Fontaine (Bières de la Nouvelle-France, Saint-Paulin): light, as advertised.

Ambrée de Sarrasin (Bières de la Nouvelle-France, Saint-Paulin): to me tasted much like the Blonde d'Épeautre.

Rescousse (RJ, Montréal): Pleasant. Courtesy of DF.

Warthog Cream Ale (Big Rock Brewery, Calgary): pleasant, smooth. Bought at the Beer Store, to drink at Mom's apartment.

2002 Apr–Jun

La P'tit Train du Nord (Saint-Arnould (St-Jovite): blonde, nice. Described by the brewery as dry with generous bitterness.

La Muchacha del San Jovito (Saint-Arnould (St-Jovite): very light, but with more flavour than I expected, and pleasant. The brewery describes it as ‘extra blonde, type mexicaine’. The name means ‘La P'tite fille de St-Jovite’.

HEK lager (HEK, Laval & Guelph): light colour, a twist to the flavour which at first I quite liked, but later sometimes seemed too alcoholic. Bought at grocery store.

Straffe Hendrik brown (Straffe Hendrik, Brugge): very dark brown; sweet fruity flavour. Bought at Fromagerie Atwater. The importers to the United States quote a description by Michael Jackson: ‘8.5% ABV, has a rich, deep, complex malt character, with notes of rum and pears.’. The 330-ml bottles that I bought, however, were marked 6%. The name means ‘strong Henry’.

2002 Jul, Île aux Allumettes

These beers were tasted with DF while on holiday on Île aux Allumettes, Québec.

Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale: the most interesting thing at the closest dépanneur. Pleasant.

Fiddler's Elbow (Wychwood): wonderful.

Anchor Steam Beer: distinctive flavour, more ‘brown’ than its colour would suggest, drinkable but not delightful. The marketing blurb on the label is irritating: it claims a connection with the tradition of steam beer but admits that there's really no similarity of methods, then claims that their ‘brewing process ... is like no other in the world’ but gives no indication of what's different about it. (DF also bought some 3-year-old Balderson cheddar which was very nice: little crystals in it, flavour not overly pungent. It's a brand Mom liked.)

Hobgoblin (Wychwood): I detected a bit of skunkiness, enjoyed it but not as much as the Fiddler's Elbow.

Aventinus (Schneider & Sohn): ‘wheat doppelbock’, taste of cloves, not strongly alcoholic although 8%.

Ruddles Best (Ruddles Brewing, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk): pleasantly bitter. I think I was drinking it colder than it should have been. 3.7%

Schneider Weisse Hefe-Weizenbier (Schneider & Sohn): yeasty and a bit spicy.

Muskoka Honey Lager: pleasant enough darkish flavour.

Lesajsk: odd flavour that I don't know how to describe. Not sharp, perhaps flatly rounded. Enjoyable.

Also drank some Mateus (blush).

Old Speckled Hen: not as magical as when I had it in Toronto. This time it was in a bottle rather than in a can, and was straight out of a fridge. I thought I detected a bit of skunkiness. It was still quite pleasant to drink, albeit disappointing.

Aventinus: shared another with DF. Again no unpleasant alcohol flavour, and a nice spicy flavour.

Ruddles County: at least as bitter as the Ruddles Best.

Corona: very light, but a distinctive delicate flavour.

Zywiec: enjoyable, no great distinction.

Oland Export: very pleasant, struck me as round and soft.

DF and I shared a Piesporter Michelsberg with dinner. Very enjoyable, neither of us had had a sweet German wine for quite a while. We also tried a 2-year-old Balderson cheddar, and compared it with the 3-year-old. A little less sharp, no little crunchy bits.

Pilsner Urquell: distinctive clean bitterness, very nice.

At Fort William I had a Labatt 50. Drinkable, but nothing distinctive. I couldn't really distinguish it from the Molson Export I had there Jul 15.

Steinlager (New Zealand Breweries): pleasant light lager, maybe a bit of sweetness.

Czechvar: pleasant lager, faint pleasant barn aroma (hay?) at the end.

2002 Aug

The first few of these I bought myself at home. The rest were when DHL and S were here, most being tasted with DF and S in Toronto.

Kilkenny: strong taste of bitter chocolate

Éphémère (Unibroue): light hint of apple, very enjoyable

Labatt Porter: dark, very smooth and velvety, not beery.

Labatt Blue: on tap at Restaurant St-Hubert, first impression was of sweetness and rice (but maybe a result of prejudice?)

Niagara Apple Ale: strong taste of apple (Macintosh?), not much other taste.

Creemore Springs Premium Lager: impression was that it was pleasant but undistinguished, but it followed the very apply Niagara, and also had to extinguish the effects of horseradish mayonnaise. When I tasted it again a couple of days later, it had a lovely perfume as soon as I opened the bottle, and it had a very nice, full and well balanced flavour. (I'd forgotten that I'd also liked it 2002 Mar 1, see above.)

Paddy's Red (Trafalgar Brewing, Oakville & Elora): like ginger ale, not very nice.

Guinness: on tap at the new Irish pub near DF's; very smooth, S (who often drinks it in England) said it had travelled well.

Steamwhistle: also on tap at the pub; I didn't detect the distinctive pilsner taste that I remember from the bottled version, but it was pretty late and my palate wasn't exactly fresh.

Niagara Olde Jack: distinct chocolate flavour, not as bitter as the Kilkenny.

Millstone Premium Lager (Niagara Falls): to be honest I don't remember; I liked it, and I think I thought it had a slight hint of chocolate.

2002 Sep

Löwenbräu Original: not a lot of flavour, but pleasantly gentle and clean, whether room temperature or cold.

Labatt Blue: a bottle this time, left over from DHL's visit. Not much flavour, but a hint of a chemical or medicinal taste. I didn't have the impression of rice that I got from the draught one last month (see above).

2003 Jan–Feb

Treebu Regular: a private label of the Metro grocery chain, available since 2002 May. Quite drinkable, although in my first taste I had an impression of ‘squooshy sweetness’ and on a couple of other occasions I've been reminded of 7-Up.

Maudite (Unibroue): large bottle drunk with dinner. Delicate spiciness, very enjoyable from beginning to end, no taste of alcohol. Cf. very good experience with JMJ in 2001 May.

Stella Artois and Harp: Both satisfying solid flavours. Bought in the local grocery store.

St-Ambroise Pale Ale: Again a satisfying pronounced flavour, perhaps a little softer around the edges than the Stella Artois and Harp (or my imagination comparing an ale with lagers?). I've had this one before and liked it a lot.

Belle Gueule Pilsner: not much flavour, and a strangely empty feeling on the way down.

Champps Pilsner: more flavourful and satisfying than the Belle Gueule, but not great. Bought at Loblaws, the first time I've seen this brand, apparently brewed in Montreal.

Champps Wild Red: not much flavour.

2003 Feb–Mar, Daytona Beach

All of these beers, unless otherwise noted, were bought at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, on A1A near the Comfort Inn.

Kirin Ichiban: didn't make a note about this at the time and don't really remember it. I think I enjoyed it as a light-tasting beer. Drunk at a Sapporo restaurant. It claims to use a ‘luxurious single wort (or first press) process’. Kirin actually list the ingredients of their beers on their Web site; they include rice and corn in addition to water, barley malt, yeast and hops.

Grolsch Premium Lager: fine full flavour, reminded me of my previous enjoyment of it. Drunk at Italian restaurant with WD, JJJD and LK, then again with JL and LGD.

Yuengling Traditional Lager: nice flavour.

Dergy’s Golden Ale: interesting, sweetish, I thought I’d opened a black & tan before I checked the bottle.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: very nice, very bitter.

Yuengling Black & Tan: slightly bitter, not much else.

Sam Adams Winter Lager: very full flavour, some bitterness, maybe a bit of chocolate. Label says it’s a ‘dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices’.

Yakima Grant’s India Pale Ale: tasty, quite bitter, repeatedly reminded me of grapefruit.

Dergy’s Black & Tan: much like a porter, little or no hint of ale, very different from the Yuengling B&T.

Sam Adams Lager: Draft at Bennigan’s. Nice flavour, well balanced (i.e., I can’t think of anything else to say about it).

Dundee’s Honey Brown (High Falls Brewing): a bit sweetish, not bitter at all, some hints of dish water.

Killian’s Red: some ale taste, maybe a bit watery. On tap at Don Giovanni’s.

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale: tremendously rich and dark, fairly bitter. Didn’t really remind me of chocolate the way some do, I’d say nutty but probably it’s because of the name.

St. Pauli Girl: a light lager, pleasant. Drunk at the European Café & Schnitzel House, on A1A just north of the hotel.

Young’s Ram Rod: the first few mouthfuls were bitter chocolate, but after that the chocolate seemed to be gone, leaving only a nice bitterness. The 2nd half of the bottle seemed even to have lost most of the bitterness, leaving a nice comfortable ale.

2003 Mar–Jun

Unibroue Bolduc: enjoyable ale, a bit of bitterness at the end of a mouthful. Cf. my description 2002 Jan–Mar; I like it and have drunk it many times since then, am now trying again to describe it.

Leffe Blonde: pleasantly yeasty, maybe a bit spicy

Grolsch Amber Ale: taste is mouth-filling but mild, very drinkable.

La Barberie Blanche: interesting flavour, a bit yeasty, a bit sour.

Loch Ness (Le Cheval Blanc): a full flavour, a bit yeasty, with overtones of anchovies. (So much for my credibility.) A beautiful clear dark amber colour. Described on the bottle as a ‘Scottish tradition strong ale’, with bottle refermentation that ‘yields a yeast-enriched flavour’.

Guinness: full, smooth, bitter, with the bitterness tasting of coffee rather than the chocolate I usually taste in dark bitter beers. (See notes about Guinness for 2001 Jul and 2002 Aug, when I didn't really describe the taste.)

St-Ambroise (McAuslan): delightfully bitter, I caught a hint of grapefruit in the last mouthful of a bottle. Cf. 2003 Jan–Feb.

Creemore Springs Premium Lager: mild but full flavour, very enjoyable. Brought from Toronto by SD (cf. 2002 Mar 1 and 2002 Aug).

Boréale Rousse: sharper and ‘browner’ than the Creemore Springs lager, not as bitter as the St-Ambroise, very nice. I've had this many times before, the first time being at lunch with people from work a few years ago, but this is the first time I've described it here.

La Barberie India Pale Ale: very bitter in a grapefruity way, enjoyable. Bought at the Metro Joannette in Lasalle, on my first visit there.

Mona Lisa Rousse (Express Broue, St-Eustache): most striking characteristic of this lager was a brightness on the tongue. Bought at Metro Joannette.

La Suroît (Schoune): cloudy, delicately yeasty ale. Bought at Metro Joannette.

Hart Amber Ale (Hart Brewers, Carleton Place): fairly full ale flavour with strong and long-lasting bitterness at the end of a mouthful. Bought at Metro Joannette. Hart Brewers was apparently bought recently by Banks. There was a recent court case involving Hart.

Pumpkin Fall Special Reserve (Hart): slightly spicy, last couple of mouthfuls actually reminded me of pumpkin pie. Bought at Metro Joannette.

Mona Lisa Blonde lager: mild taste but not watery, drinkable. Bought at Metro Joannette.

Finnigan's Irish Red (Hart): No discernible character. Bought at Metro Joannette.

Almaza (Lebanon): light, drinkable. From Lebanon, labelled as ‘Pilsener’ and ‘light beer’. Bought at SAQ, tasted in Sherbrooke with DF.

La Barberie Blonde Biologique: DF suggested that it tasted like pickles, and it's true that it had more of an acidity than the bitterness of chocolate, coffee and grapefruit I sometimes taste. I got a hint of grapefruit toward the end. Delicious and altogether satisfying, aided by the wonderful weather. Bought at Metro Joannette.

Molson Spring Bock: I got a hint of airplane cement in the first mouthful, DF detected a taste of chocolate, I didn't taste much after the first impression.

Old Speckled Hen (Morland): still very nice, distinct beery bitterness (cf. 2001 Christmas, 2002 Feb, 2002 Jul 13), Bottle bought at SAQ (first time I'd seen it in Québec), certainly no hint of skunkiness (cf. 2002 Jul 13).

Ulysse (F & P): nice foam, citrus fragrance on the nose, very smooth on the way down. A gift from the Easter bunny in Sherbrooke.

Boddingtons Pub Ale (Strangeways Brewery, Manchester): smooth, slight bitterness, like drinking a mild beer through unsweetened whipped cream. Has one of those nitrogen(?)-filled pingpong balls in the can.

Export (Molson): a fair flavour with little or no bitterness, actually not at all bad, I thought I caught a hint of corn syrup only once partway through. Inspired to try it after seeing a mention of its history in Sneath's book – it's been around since 1903.

U (Unibroue): light colour, maybe a hint of skunkiness, maybe a hint of wateriness, maybe a hint of the pils that it says it is.

Duvel: also a light colour, first impression was of slight acidity, no bitterness, and an alcoholic (7.8%) warmth going down the throat. Later in the bottle a yeastiness became more apparent, and the alcohol became more noticeable. A very longlasting head, and continued fine bubbles.

Stary Melnik (Efes, Moscow): a bit of fruitiness as I opened the bottle, a pleasant mild lager. Name means ‘old windmill’, and there's a picture of a windmill on the cap. Brought from Toronto by SD.

Sol (Mexico): ‘delicate’, a bit watery sometimes, even if it was a birthday gift from JL.

Griffon Rousse (McAuslan): pleasant, mild.

Trois Pistoles (Unibroue): pleasant, sometimes a bit too much alcohol flavour, sometimes a bit yeasty.

Maudite (Unibroue): similar to the Trois Pistoles, but with an additional mild spiciness, maybe a touch of alchohol flavour sometimes. Cf. 2001 May and 2003 Jan–Feb.

Rousse bitter (La Barberie): very bitter, like grapefruit, maybe overdone but I enjoyed it.

Blonde biologique (La Barberie): this is the one that reminded DF and me of pickles recently, SD's first impression was of acidity. He said it reminded him of when he touched a battery to his tongue when he was young. Notwithstanding these descriptions, it is very nice to drink.

Canadian (Molson): nothing awful about it. At one point I thought I caught a bit of beer taste. As it warmed up it seemed maybe slightly sweet but it never became distasteful. It seemed to have a lot of burps in it. I thought it hadn't been available in Québec for some years, and have read that it wasn't sold here, but I see that it is now. I found some in a dépanneur at Girouard and Sherbrooke, Provisions N.D.G., that advertises a ‘grande variété de bière’, when I went in for the first time this week, and thought maybe they were bringing it in themselves, but this evening I noticed that Provigo sells it.

2003 Jun, Mondial de la Bière

These were tasted at the Mondial de la Bière at Windsor Station.

Seneca Trail Pale Ale (Wagner Valley, NY): strong grapefruity bitterness.

Seadog Bluepaw (Shipyard, Maine): bubble gum more than blueberry, watery. Poured without head, at least partly because the samples were from already open bottles.

Blind Faith (Magic Hat, Burlington, VT): an IPA, much like the Seneca Trail, but cloudy.

Alaskan ESB (Alaskan Brewing): an ‘Extra Special Bitter’, served very cold (like most of the samples) and not much flavour at first, but a nice beery bitterness once it had warmed up. Unfortunately there wasn't much left by then.

2003 Jun–Jul

Newcastle Brown Ale: slightly ‘brown’ flavour, very mild. Bought at SAQ. A subsequent tasting brought out a much stronger brown bitterness, almost coffee-ish like the dregs of the Hobgoblin (see below).

L'Écossaise (L'Alchimiste): brown flavour, slightly sweet but not corn-syrupy, only bitterness was in the dregs in the bottle the next morning. This and the others from L'Alchimiste were bought at Métro Joannette.

Indian Pale (L'Alchimiste): grapefruity bitterness, perhaps somewhat more restrained than the Barberie IPA.

Weize (L'Alchimiste): bright flavour, neither brown nor bitter.

Bock de Joliette (L'Alchimiste): pleasant to drink, neither brown nor bitter nor bright, a fragrance that struck me as turquoise and ‘open’ (no better description comes to mind). Brown bitterness in the dregs next day.

Hobgoblin (Wychwood): some brownness, more beery and less sweet than the recent L'Écossaise. Marked brown bitterness in the dregs next day, almost like coffee. Bought at SAQ.

Madison (Les Brasseurs de Gayant, France): some sticky sweetness, maybe a slight hint of orange, little or no beeriness, more like ginger ale. ‘Flambée à la liqueur Grand Marnier’. Bought at SAQ.

Stary Melnik (Efes, Moscow): detected a slight skunkiness and a slight pilsner flavour. (cf. 2003 May) Gift from SD, from Toronto.

Birra Moretti: A gradual evolution from ginger ale to mild lager. Gift from SD, from Toronto, also available at SAQ.

Guinness: in a bottle, brewed by Labatt, less flavour and body than tastings on tap or from can (cf. 2001 Jul, 2002 Aug, 2003 Mar). Bought from Provisions N.D.G.

Folie Douce (Brasseurs de l'Anse): a blueberry ale, with a purplish tinge to its colour but no blueberry flavour for me, nor much of anything else; JL said she smelled cherry. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Côte des Argoulets (Microbrasserie Charlevoix, Baie-Saint-Paul): labelled ‘hefe weizen’, gently and somewhat yeastily sour. Brewed exclusively for Métro Joannette in Verdun. According to the label, the name was used from 1665 to 1669 for what is now Verdun.

La Côteilleuse (Microbrasserie Charlevoix): mildly yeasty. Bought at Métro Joannette.

John Labatt Classique: in the first few mouthfuls I detected an odd flavour, reminding me of chicken gone off. In a couple of other mouthfuls there seemed to be some kind of chemically taste, and once I caught an odd aroma. Mercifully, most of the glass was just uninteresting. Bought from Provisions N.D.G.

Schoune Ambrée: a bit yeasty, a bit fruity.

2003 Jul, Sherbrooke

Bavaria (Molson): very little flavour, appealed to someone who finds Corona too flavourful.

La messagère: very drinkable, not a lot of flavour (but more than Bavaria). From Métro Joannette.

Saint-Antoine Abbé blonde: slightly yeasty, DF detected honey before being told that that's what it says on the label. From Métro Joannette.

Lion Stout: I tasted a coffee bitterness. DF detected an aftertaste of melting snow, which I thought I detected once after the suggestion.

Seigneurie: slightly yeasty, very slightly spicy, DF detected ginger. From Métro Joannette.

Saint-Antoine Abbé rousse: also a honey ale, quite similar to the blonde. From Métro Joannette.

Liefmans Raspberry Beer: delicious raspberry flavour, not much beer nature except for the lack of excessive sweetness. From Métro Joannette.

P'tit Train du Nord Blonde: crisp grapefruity bitterness. From Métro Joannette.

Ambrée d'Amour (Lion, Lennoxville): drunk on tap at the Lion pub, after several hours of cycling. Very welcome, of course, and quite drinkable, but not very distinctive. Unfortunately neither Lion's Pride nor Bishop's Bitter was available.

Townships Pale Ale (Lion, Lennoxville): I tasted the 'blonde de maison' that DF ordered – I detected an odd aroma, seemingly familiar but unconnected with beer or maybe even anything organic. The closest I came to identifying it was to think of some some of soap, not flowery or very aromatic but soft. (Later it occurred to me that it might have been something along the lines of new-mown hay or chamomile.

Lion's Pride (Lion, Lennoxville): In the first mouthful or two I tasted a grapefruity bitterness but after that it became a full, satisfying brown bitterness. The bottle was bought from the brewery this afternoon.

Kamour (Brasserie Breughel, Kamouraska): somewhat yeasty, delicately spicy, perhaps less so in fact than on the label (includes coriander and curaçao). Practically no head, a lot of sediment.

2003 Jul–Oct

Griffon Rousse (McAuslan): I bought another case of this, and think that I undersold it in my previous notes (2003 May). It isn't overwhelming, but ‘mild’ isn't quite the right word: it has a definite brown flavour and a straightforward beery bitterness. Very drinkable.

Rivière Rouge (Saint Arnould): full brown aroma, bitterness with just a hint of grapefruit. Delicious. From Métro Joannette.

Blanche des Trois-Rivières (Les Frères Houblon): a white beer on lees, but little or no yeastiness, a sour flavour, maybe a bit thin but certainly not watery. Interesting. From Métro Joannette.

Old Yale Pale Ale (Old Yale, BC): oily and odd, with a slight bitterness. JL said it smelled like sherry. I found it quite unpleasant. The dregs a couple of days later had turned to vinegar, the first time I've seen this; the weather has been warm and very humid, which might explain it, but perhaps the beer itself was off to start with. Since it's available here only in a large bottle, I don't know how likely I am to try it again. From Métro Joannette.

Sergeant's IPA (Old Yale, BC): after the previous experience, I approached this one nervously, but it was pretty good – bitter with some grapefruit taste.

Bass: mild flavour. From SAQ.

Double Diamond: mild flavour, a touch more bitterness afterward than the Bass. Or was it the other way around? From SAQ.

Sainte-Paix (Brasseur RJ): an apple beer on lees, but I didn't really detect much if any apple, mostly a thin sourness with a hint of the yeast. It reminded me of the Blanche des Trois-Rivières that I tasted recently. From Métro Joannette.

Blanche de Blé (Cheval Blanc): yeasty, not bitter. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rousse de Blé (Cheval Blanc) much like the Blanche de Blé but some red flavour (whatever that means). Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ambrée d'Orge (Cheval Blanc) same yeastiness as the white and the rousse, plus a slightly different flavour than the rousse. I think it was this one that, as I strained to identify the flavour, reminded me of broccoli. Oh well. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2003 Thanksgiving, Sherbrooke

Sleeman Cream Ale: very smooth, not a strong flavour. Bought by DF in Sherbrooke.

Claire (l'Alchimiste): two bottles, bought at the same time, one with an extraordinary head, one with practically none, seemingly different flavours but hard to judge. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Kilkenny Draught Irish Cream Ale: like drinking a mild beer through cream. Bought by DF in Sherbrooke.

Blanche aux mûres (La Barberie): slight bitterness, slight fruity sourness, DL said she definitely tasted blackberries. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Cobra (Le Chaudron): an odd bitterness high in the back of my mouth, close to a grapefruit bitterness but not quite, possible due to the high alcohol? An IPA with 6% alcohol. Bought at Fromagerie Atwater. First tasted 2001 Nov 1 at McGill.

2003 Nov–Dec

Duchesse de Bourgogne (Verhaeghe Vichte, Belgium): thick and soft in the mouth, a taste of cherry/sherry, even a reminder of rum at one point, warmth but not excessive taste from the alcohol. An ale ‘matured in oaken casks’, to be served at 8–12 C. Very enjoyable. A gift from DF, bought at SAQ in Sherbrooke.

St. Andrew's Ale (Belhaven, Scotland): a bit airy at the beginning, mild but some bitterness, maybe a slight sweetness, pleasant. A gift from DF, bought at SAQ in Sherbrooke.

Boréale Noire: substantial; not as bitter as I remembered from a first tasting a couple of years ago, but as it warmed up there was definite dark chocolate leading to burnt coffee. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Frousse (du Lièvre): thin, not much flavour. There was a head but it disappeared quickly and completely. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Celtic Pure Irish Ale (Trafalgar, Oakville): an odd combination of a bit of grapefruit bitterness sometimes and a small sourness the rest of the time. This brewery has 24 beers listed at RateBeer.com, of which 4 are called Irish or Celtic. In 2002 Aug I tried their Paddy's Red. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Elora ESB (Old Mill Brewery, Elora): a fair degree of somewhat grapefruity bitterness, with a touch of something else that reminded me of lima beans. Not much head. Quite drinkable. The bottle says Old Mill Brewery, but apparently the brewery has closed and the beers are brewed by Trafalgar in Oakville; the bottle cap is Trafalgar's, and this beer is listed under Trafalgar at RateBeer.com. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Scotch Ale (La Barberie): not bitter, a bit sweet, I thought I detected a touch of molasses near the beginning.

2003 Christmas, Sherbrooke

‘I perceive this to be Old Burton,’ he remarked approvingly. ‘Sensible Mole! The very thing! Now we shall be able to mull some ale!’
Ratty to Mole in The wind in the willows, K. Grahame, 1908.

Chimay Grande Réserve: little bitterness or other beeriness, great warmth going down from the 9% alcohol but without a disagreeable alcohol flavour, slight spiciness, eminently and dangerously drinkable.

Harp: pleasant lager, no strong character.

X.O. Beer (L & L S.A.S., Cognac, France): 40% X.O. cognac mixed with 5% lager to give 8%, gives a pleasant diluted cognac with little sweetness.

Ambrée de sarrasin: odd little bitterness, hint of molasses (identified by DL) and (identified by JL) of buckwheat, surprise surprise. Sarrasin is French for buckwheat.

Boddington's Pub Ale: a mild bitterness, as though drunk through cream. I like it.

Chimay: like the Grande Réserve but, at 7%, lacking the distinct warmth going down the œsophagus, making it perhaps even more dangerous. Very enjoyable.

Kriek (Liefmans): definite, enjoyable cherry flavour, not too sweet, not beery.

Frambozenbier (Liefmans): delightful raspberry flavour, otherwise similar to the Kriek.

Brune d'Achouffe (Brasseurs RJ, Montréal): delicately spicy ale, very enjoyable after snow sledding.

Tütz (Brasserie Schutzenberger, Schiltigheim, France): essentially no flavour. Touted as ‘the freshest beer in the world’, ‘bière brassée glacée depuis 1740’, whatever that means.

Imperial Stout (La Barberie): extremely dark, a hint of dark chocolate but mostly La Barberie's typical grapefruity bitterness.

Vimeuse (St-Arnould): I'd earlier tasted this one at home. I find the flavour to be slightly odd and hard to identify, not unpleasant, coloured by the 6.2% alcohol.

Lambic (Mort Subite): this was a package of 5 types (and a glass) from the SAQ. DF, SF's S and I tasted them, with some input from DL. The gueuze was effervescent and somewhat sour (quoting from a description I found somewhere), with some apparent fruitiness, kriek-like, although not explicitly flavoured. The cassis (bessenjenever, black currant) reminded people of raspberry. The framboise (raspberry) itself was not successfully identified. The pêche (peach) was identified as such by DF and (almost) by SF's S. The kriek (cerise, cherry) was not successfully identified. I was pouring and saw labels, so was not contributing to the attempts to identify the flavours. The flavours are indicated on the bottle labels in either Flemish (gueuze and kriek) or French (cassis, framboise and pêche).

2004 Jan–Mar

Dorée (Boréale): a ‘honey ale’ which is mild, perhaps (power of suggestion?) slightly honeyish, and pleasant but not remarkable.

Carling Black Label (Molson): little flavour, an empty feeling on the way down. Thinking the next day about how to describe it, the word ‘vacuous’ came to mind.

Bière rousse (Les Frères Houblon, Trois-Rivières): not only a grapefruity bitterness, but a grapefruity fruitiness. Very nice. The label claims that the method of brewing, ‘d'empâtage en montée’, is their technical innovation, and says that the fruitiness comes from ‘la garde spéciale à l'ancienne’. This and the next two were all bought at Métro Joannette and shared with DF.

Ambrée d'Amour (Lion d'Or, Lennoxville): nicely balanced, with a whiff of vanilla. Described as being brewed with four aphrodisiacs, ginseng, damiana, yokum and vanilla, which ‘combined with the powers of our magical totem pole make this a uniquely stimulating brew’. Somebody has too much time on his hands.

IPA (Bièropholie): a bitterness somewhere on the boundary between grapefruit and chocolate, quite enjoyable. The label advertises that it has an aftertaste, a sniff in the direction of mainstream ‘dry’ beers. From the Web site, it appears that there are two somewhat different versions; from the label I infer that this is from the first batch.

Bière à l'Ancienne (Les Frères Houblon, Trois-Rivières): the odour is nothing but vinegar; when sipped while exhaling there was a slight hint of beer. Awful. The label says that the beer ‘dévoile des notes d'agrumes [citric acidity] qui laissent derrière elles une pointe d'acidité’. Quite an understatement. It also says that ‘Elle se bonifiera pendant plus d'un an’ [it will improve over a period of more than a year]. Since this one was bottled in 2003 Oct, I guess I drank it way too soon.

Rickard's Pale Ale (Molson): my first deep breath after pouring reminded me of beef stew, but maybe that's because there was some stew in the next room. It was about the most distinct flavour I was able to find. I occasionally had the impression that it had some flavour but I wasn't able to identify it. It was a bit sweet, with a hint of ginger ale in the last mouthful or two. I had some hopes of it since the cases are labelled India Pale Ale, but the bottle doesn't call it that, and the Molson Web site doesn't either, although they do say that it is ‘brewed in the style of traditional India Pale Ales’. Amazing what marketers can get away with saying. (I went back to the store and checked inside one of the cases labelled India Pale Ale – the bottles were labelled the same way. The bottle I'd bought had been in the cooler, not in a case, since I certainly wasn't going to buy a lot of these. I don't know if they're in the process of changing labels, or if somehow the cases are rest-of-Canada cases; on the bottle I had, it said ‘Bière Pale Ale’ where the others say ‘India Pale Ale’.)

Bock Émissaire (Bièropholie): solid taste, bitterness with hints of both grapefruit and coffee (in that respect similar to their IPA, described above). A 6% dark lager. It was pretty good but I didn't enjoy it as much as the IPA, I'm not sure why.

Ma P'tite Gueuze (Schoune): a whiff of ginger ale at the beginning, very flat, a touch of sweetness but no fruitiness. I didn't really like it much, and it was very different from (and less pleasant than) the Mort Subite gueuze above. Said to be aged 2.5 years, and to have won the Prix du public at the Mondial de la Bière (Montréal) in 2002.

DAB (Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei): a nice full-bodied lager with a mild taste. Bought at local SAQ, which has a pitifully small selection of beer.

Kokanee Glacier Beer (Columbia Brewery, BC): the screw-topped bottle either had not been sealed properly or had been tampered with – it was completely flat and didn't fill the glass. Bought this week at Provigo.

Rickard's Red (Molson): started with a substantial head which, when I inhaled deeply, reminded me of old frost build-up in a refrigerator; some flavour, some bitterness, but overall an impression of weakness. Bought this week at Provigo, but I first tasted it a few years ago at the nearby St-Hubert restaurant, when I didn't yet realise that it was really a Molson product.

Leffe Brune: on tap at Chez Lévêque on Thursday and then on Saturday at Resto-Pub l'Aventure. Delightfully full and round, lightly spiced and lightly yeasty. Both restaurants had it and Stella Artois on tap and then a pathetic selection of uninteresting bottled beer.

Old Speckled Hen (Morland): unfortunately seemed to be a bit skunky. A second bottle, bought at the same time and drunk a week later, had no skunkiness. Bought at SAQ on Somerled.

Steinlager (New Zealand): a touch of bitterness, maybe even a bit of sourness, thinner than the DAB but not watery. What a pathetic name. Bought at SAQ on Somerled.

Beck's: not a lot of flavour, nothing unpleasant. Can, bought at Marché Dunn (Métro) on Décarie, who have a bit more variety than most grocery stores.

Leffe Blonde: much like the Leffe Brune, but less so. Bought at Marché Dunn.

Dominus Vobiscum Ambrée (Microbrasserie Charlevoix, Baie-St-Paul): compared with the Leffe Brune, this one is less spicy, a bit less body, but quite drinkable. I noticed that there wasn't an obtrusive alcohol taste, but then I noticed a certain hardness to the flavour that might have been the alcohol. At the end I noticed a kind of wateriness, but not irritating as it is in some light beers. This beer doesn't appear on their Web site. The name is not exactly modest, but their URL is even less so. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Straffe Hendrik (Brugge): slightly spicy and yeasty, quite nice. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Snoreau (Cheval Blanc): along the lines of a kriek, but with cranberry. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Hue (Vietnam): I thought I tasted a rice bitterness, but it might have been imagination. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Hoegaarden: It's been 5 days, I don't really remember.

Newcastle Brown Ale: very mild, perhaps slightly sweet (cf. 2003 Jun).

Dominus Vobiscum Blanche: definite family resemblance to their Ambrée, maybe a touch spicer, no hardness (it's 5%, compared with the 6% of the Ambrée), same wateriness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier: a touch of acidity at the beginning, little spiciness, a touch of yeast. There was some wet brown sludge collected around the neck and bottle cap when I opened it, I guess it got turned on its side at some point. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Tsing Tao: another tasting, not remarkable, too much time has passed to remember much.

Eggenberg: this and the following 3 beers were tasted in March, but too much time passed before making notes so I don't remember them.

Jan van Gent. Cf. 2004 Jun.

La Belge

DAB

2004 Apr, England

Worthington Cream Ale: like the Boddington's Pub Ale that we get in cans here. On tap in the hotel restaurant, a Toby Carvery in Wootton.

Brakspear Bitter: a bit of ginger ale taste and bitterness; a second time I didn't taste the ginger-ale flavour. On tap at the Abingdon Arms in Thame, and again at the Angel on the River in Henley.

He that would shine, and petrify his tutor,
Should drink draught Allsopp in its "native pewter."
From Beer (1861) by C. S. Calverley

Chiltern Ale: mild, flat, long bitter aftertaste. Directly from cask (no pump) at the brewery on Nash Lee Road in Terrick.

Gales HSB: a bit sweet but less of ginger ale, less aftertaste than the Chiltern. SW tasted caramel and orange. On tap at the Marquis of Granby in Wendover.

Marston's Pedigree: enjoyable, but I didn't take notes. In a bottle at CD's house.

Hogs Back T.E.A.: enjoyable, but I didn't take notes, and didn't have time to finish it :-( In a bottle at CD's house.

Young's Waggledance: explicit honey flavour. On tap at the King's Arms (I tasted SW's).

Jesters IPA: delicate grapefruit bitterness. On tap at the King's Arms in Oxford.

Greene King IPA: bitter, but not grapefruit, chocolate or coffee. On tap at the Royal Oak in Blisworth.

Courage Directors Bitter: a touch sweet, dark bitterness but not really chocolate or coffee. On tap at the Queen Eleanor in Wootton.

Hook Norton Best Bitter: very mild, delicate bitter aftertaste. On tap at the Mole and Chicken in Easington. (At the Royal Oak they said they no longer have Hook Norton because it's too variable.)

Tetley's Smoothflow Bitter: poured foamy, I didn't distinguish much flavour, but it was late and my palate was rather clouded by champagne and orange juice. On tap at the wedding reception at the Notley Tythe Barn.

Fuller's London Pride: a lovely rich brown flavour. In a can on our British Airways flight home. Fuggle hops Phoenix hops

Blues (Rother Valley Brewing Co.): strong coffee bitterness. Brewed in Sussex with locally grown traditional Fuggle hops blended with newer Pheonix [sic] hops; apparently brewed seasonally as a winter beer. Gift from CD in England. (Images of Fuggle and Phoenix hops courtesy National Hop Association, UK.)

Golden Sovereign (Chiltern): a mild brown bitterness with a hint of grapefruit, and a long aftertaste. Very enjoyable. Bought at the brewery, drunk at home in May.

300s Old Ale (Chiltern): a delightfully distinctive flavour which I don't know how to describe – light brown with hints of caramel? Wonderful. Bought at the brewery, drunk in Sherbrooke in May.

Shropshire Lad: at first seemed similar to the 300s, but later seemed a bit yeasty and perhaps more airy. Bought at the brewery, drunk in Sherbrooke in May.

Cotswold Way: at first a less marked flavour, later some bitterness appeared. It foamed up out of the bottle when I opened it; it was probably warmer than it should have been. DF detected a strawberry fragrance, and by power of suggestion I did too. Bought at the brewery, drunk in Sherbrooke in May.

2004 Apr–May

Na Zdraví! (Bièropholie): fairly light colour but an interesting dark bitterness with a hint of grapefruit, not much head. Labelled as a pilsner with Czech inspiration; ‘Na zdraví!’ is Czech for ‘Cheers!’ or, more literally, ‘Santé!’. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Vache Folle ESB (Charlevoix): an intriguing bitterness hovering between dark chocolate and grapefruit. I drank it at cellar temperature; there was a very big head, and a lot of sediment landed in the glass, with a lot still in the bottle. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Vache Folle Milk Stout (Charlevoix): started off like dark chocolate, ended up tending towards coffee, started off gassy, ended up creamy. Again a considerable amount of sediment. The last drop in the glass, a couple of hours later, reminded me of bacon – oh well. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Blanche (Cheval Blanc): slightly yeasty, lightly spicy, very pleasant. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blanche de Blé (Cheval Blanc): family resemblance to La Blanche, at first I thought it was a bit less spicy, later I felt that it was more watery. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ambrée d'Orge (Cheval Blanc): again a family resemblance, I thought the combination of yeast and spice somehow tended to the reddish side (maybe the power of suggestion), there was some bitterness that I didn't find in the Blanches, and the heft of the body was more like La Blanche than like the Blanche de Blé. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rousse de Blé (Cheval Blanc): this one seemed a bit spicier than the others, with a body perhaps between those of La Blanche and the Blanche de Blé. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Boris: a lager with a nice colour and some flavour. Bought by JL at Loblaw's.

Köstritzer: a dark lager from Germany, not really a tremendous amount of flavour. I'm not sure I would have guessed that it was dark if I'd had my eyes closed. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2004 Jun, Mondial de la Bière

These were tasted at the Mondial de la Bière at Windsor Station, in company with SD.

Ginger Beer Épice (du Lièvre): light flavour, watery, sweet. I just had a taste of SD's.

Petite Futée (Barberie): light fruity flavour, watery, a lot of lees.

Vaisseau des Songes (Dieu du Ciel!): bitter aftertaste, slightly grapefruity. SD detected a touch of jasmine. A cask-conditioned IPA.

IPA (Wagner): strong grapefruity bitterness.

Deep Cover Brown Ale (Left Hand Brewing, Colorado): brown, round, very slightly sweet. Very nice.

Tabernash Brewing Pilsner (Left Hand Brewing, Colorado): nice flavourful lager.

Decadent Chocolate Porter (Church-Key Brewing): dark chocolate bitterness. I just tasted SD's.

Northumberland Ale (Church-Key Brewing): fat? Pleasant.

2004 Jun–Aug

Jan van Gent (Fou de Bassan) (Liefmans): a touch of ginger ale, maybe a slight hint of skunkiness, very little bitterness. ‘Jan-van-Gent’ and ‘fou de Bassan’ are the Dutch and French names, respectively, of the northern gannet (Morus bassanus). Bought at Métro Joannette.

Brugse Straffe Hendrik Brown (Straffe Hendrik, Brugge): yeasty, a bit sweet, with a dark taste of cherries and maybe molasses. Very gassy at the start. At the end of the bottle I tasted the alcohol. Cf. 2002 Apr–Jun. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Imperial Stout (Bièrepholie): at first I tasted dark chocolate, but then it became burnt toast and marmite. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Moosehead: this was a sample offered at Métro Joannette. I detected no flavour besides a touch of skunkiness. I mentioned it to the young woman offering it: she was taken aback, and suggested that it might be because the bottle she'd just opened was from the shelves, and not from the cases that just arrived last week. In fact, the bottle she took might have been the one that I'd noticed lying down, way at the back of the shelf, the last one there; I'd picked it up and moved it closer to the front of the shelf. I've had Moosehead before and certainly not noticed skunkiness, although I hadn't noticed much else either. We have two Moosehead T-shirts that I won in a draw after ordering a couple of Mooseheads at a restaurant in St. Petersburg Beach in Florida, while there with JL at an ARO conference; that was probably the first time I had it.

On the way home from Métro Joannette, I stopped at the terrace along the Lachine Canal, behind the McAuslan brewery. This was my first visit since it opened a year or two ago. I was shattered to discover that they have nothing on tap; supposedly they might have their Cream Ale on tap later in the summer. I declined to spend $4 for a bottle that I can get at the local grocery store.

Riez (Labatt): I had a hard time finding any flavour; possibly a hint of bitterness in one mouthful, perhaps a touch of corn syrup in some others. Less unpleasant than the last two times I tried it (cf. 2002 Aug & Sep); might have been more satisfying if very cold. Whenever I've seen the label, I've thought that perhaps somehow they're admitting to putting rice in their beer, but then I realise that Labatt Blue (which this really is) is the ‘offical beer’ of MontrÉal's Just for Laughs festival.

Karlsbräu (Karlsberg): a bit thin but a nice substantial bitterness and aftertaste. Bottled in Germany. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bière à l'Ancienne (Les Frères Houblon, Trois-Rivières): still vinegary, but much less terrible than last time (2004 Jan), could almost imagine developing a taste for it. Possibly because it wasn't as bad as my recollection and expectation, possibly because my taste had developed, possibly the effects of aging since this bottle had been in my refrigerator for a long time. There was an enormous brown island of sludge on the head. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ginger Beer (du Lièvre, Montréal): distinct and enjoyable ginger flavour, slight beeriness, light, seemed less watery and sweet than when I had a sip 2004 Jun. Brewed under licence with a recipe from the brasserie du Château Lausanne (Switzerland). Bought at Métro Joannette. This and the next few tasted in Sherbrooke with DF.

Organic lager (Mill Street Brewery, Toronto): light beer flavour, seemed a bit skunky to me. Brought from Toronto by DF.

Calumet (Bièropholie): aroma of smoke and leather, strong dark chocolate flavour. Labelled as a ‘double porter fumé’. Brewed '‘avec la collaboration de la Brasserie Le Chaudron, Montréal’. A ‘calumet’ is a peace pipe. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Kent Old Brown (Carlton & United, Victoria): an odd little sharp bitterness, a sharpness that I would associate with high alcohol content but the beer is only 4.4%. Brought by DF from Australia.

Autumn Amber (Cascade Brewery, South Hobart, Tasmania): delicate brown bitterness, very enjoyable. Brought by DF from Australia.

Golding Indian Ale (Bièropholie): grapefruity bitterness, enjoyable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Dentergems Witbier (Riva): light, pleasantly spiced. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blonde (Seigneuriale, Boucherville): light, slightly yeasty, pleasant, not overpowered by alchohol although 7%. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Tord-Vis (Cheval Blanc): distinct maple-sugar flavour, not much bitterness but not overly sweet, quite nice. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Beck's: substantial flavour, some bitterness in the aftertaste, quite drinkable.

Sheaf Stout (Carlton & United, Sydney, NSW): dark chocolate flavour, somehow softer than, say, the recently tasted Calumet. Brought by DF from Australia.

Bière rousse (Les Frères Houblon, Trois-Rivières): delicate sourness, little if any bitterness, something like lemonade without the sweetness, very drinkable. Family resemblance to their Bière à l'Ancienne. Bought at Métro Joannette.

St. Bruno de Kamouraska (Brasserie Breughel, St. Germain de Kamouraska): somewhat grapefruity bitterness with some brownness in addition, quite drinkable. Labelled as ‘bière brune sur lie’. Bought at Métro Joannette. La Geuze de Kamouraska (Brasserie Breughel, St. Germain de Kamouraska): astoundingly big head (straight out of cold refrigerator), a lot of carbonation, slight yeastiness but not much else. The label has a preprinted range of brewed-on dates but the actual brewed-on date wasn't marked. Note that they use what is apparently the Flemish spelling of ‘gueuze’. Bought at Métro Joannette.

l'Ensorceleuse (Alchimiste): dark chocolate bitterness with occasional hints of grapefruit. Practically black, not at all what I expected for a beer labelled as a brown ale. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blonde (Boréale): pleasant flavour, not as distinct as St-Ambroise, maybe a bit softer. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Claire (Alchimiste): comparable to the Boréale Blonde, somewhat similar and here too I enjoyed it but had a hard time finding adjectives. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blanche (Barberie): sour but not terribly so, maybe a tiny bit yeasty. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Beck's Non-Alcoholic: started off all right, later there were hints of a metallic bitterness, and towards the end there was a distinct but baffling aroma reminiscent of a cross between cleaning solution and vanilla.

2004 Sep, Québec City

Trois de Pique (Inox): first impression was that it was thin, then it built up a nice sharpness. On tap at brewpub.

Transat (Inox): again thin, bitterness left over from previous? Hint of something not right. On tap at brewpub. Trouble-Fête and Scotiche were also on tap.

Rousse Bock (Barberie): not terribly distinctive but nice bitterness and aftertaste. On tap at brewpub.

Original Lager (Bowes): not thin but no flavour until a bit of alcohol or chemical at end. Can bought at grocery store in Québec City.

Cream Ale (McAuslan): solid head, lovely flavour, bitterness verging on grapefruit. On tap at Bistro le Hobbit in Québec City.

Double Dry (Bowes): slight hard taste. Can bought at grocery store in Québec City.

Blonde Biologique (Barberie): solid head, full mouthfeel, slightly grapefruity bitterness, long aftertaste like the others I've had here in Québec City. On tap at brewpub.

Griffon Rousse (McAuslan): very enjoyable, while watching Canada win the World Cup of hockey over Finland. On tap at Delta Hotel, Québec City.

2004 Sep–Dec

Mort Subite Gueuze: slightly sour, slightly sweet, becoming more like champagne as I went along. Not very beer-like, but really very enjoyable. Bought at SAQ some time ago.

La Vache Folle ESB: ridiculous amount of head when poured, and a lot of sediment, as last May; nicely full in the mouth, not a memorable taste. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La folle du roi Les Trois Mousquetaires: a hard bitterness, a bit grapefruity though darkly so. A hemp red ale. This is a new Québec microbrewery; the URL given here is from the label, but doesn't seem to be working. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Aramis Les Trois Mousquetaires: nothing unpleasant but a very slight flavour. A red lager. Bought at Métro Joannette.

D'Artagnan Les Trois Mousquetaires: more substantial than the Aramis, quite a satisfying bitterness, although less so than St-Ambroise. A blonde lager. Bought at Métro Joannette.

St-Pierre Noire Multi-brasses, Tingwick: smooth bitterness in the dark-chocolate/coffee range but not definitely either one, reminded me of wood smoke at the start. An oatmeal stout with lactose. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Escousse (RJ, Montréal): pleasant dark chocolate flavour. A ‘black lager’. This is the 2004 edition of Escousse (apparently an old French word meaning ‘sometimes’); the 2002, 2003 and 2004 editions have each featured a different endangered species on the label. Royalties from the sale of this and Rescousse (cf. 2002 Mar) are donated to La Fondation de la faune du Québec. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rousse Spéciale (RJ): very nice yeasty taste. It's labelled as a beer on lees, and the back label mentions an aroma of wheat. This beer isn't mentioned on the RJ Web site; it may be the same as the Cheval Blanc Rousse de Blé.

Milwaukee's Best (Miller/Molson): flavour of ginger ale at first, a couple of hints of beery aftertaste, then nothing. If this is Milwaukee's best ... perhaps the name is meant to be ironic. Brewed by Molson under licence from Miller. Single bottle bought from grocery store.

Jos Montferrand (du Lièvre): seemed slightly yeasty at first (there were some lees), then I noticed that it smelled dusty, and was quite gassy. Bought at Fromagerie Atwater.

La Gallante (Schoune): a maple beer, although it reminded me more of caramel than of maple syrup; pleasant in a dessertish way, not very beery. According to the Schoune Web site, this is a limited-edition beer made for the cabane à sucre run by the Auberge des Gallant, using maple syrup produced there. Bought at Fromagerie Atwater.

Rescousse (Cheval Blanc): slight hint of ginger ale in the first taste, slightly spicy and yeasty thereafter, maybe a bit thin. Bought at Fromagerie Atwater.

50 (Labatt): there was a nice beery aroma from the bottle as I took the cap off, but unfortunately that was about the last sensory impression I had, apart from a feeling of hollowness. Single bottle bought from grocery store.

Brune au miel (du Lièvre): unexceptional but satisfying, some chocolate at the back of the throat.

La Tokée (Multi-brasses, Tingwick): slight bitterness, slight sweetness, slightly sour fruitness but couldn't detect specific apple/cranberry flavour, taste reminiscent of a gueuze, but quite flat. For some reason it's labelled as a ‘malted beverage’ rather than as a beer; it's 5.1% ABV. Bought at Métro Joannette.

India Pale Ale (Alexander Keith's): very bland and flat, nothing actively unpleasant. Certainly not an IPA. Apparently they also brew a light beer – boggles the mind. Annoying Web site insists on entry of a year of birth.

Red Ale (Sleeman): maybe a touch of sweetness, some nice bitterness, but overshadowed by skunkiness. It was on an open shelf in its clear bottle. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Silver Creek (Sleeman): there seemed to be a good substantial bitterness, but again overshadowed by skunkiness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Honey Brown Lager (Sleeman): faint whiff of skunkiness at the start, a touch sweet, some bitterness, enjoyable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Premium (Sapporo): soft, a bit of flavour, not thin but not much character. Brewed in Guelph, Canada. Bought at Métro Joannette.

O'Keefe (Molson): when I first opened the bottle I thought I got a really nice malty whiff, but the the first few mouthfuls were more like lemonade, and after that nothing much at all.

La Blonde des Cantons (Lion d'Or, Lennoxville): pleasant mild taste, nice body with a somewhat oily feel. This is the same as the Townships Pale Ale, cf. 2003 Jul; I didn't catch any odd aroma this time. Bought at Métro Joannette.

PC Pilsener (Whitewater): skunky, not much else. It was in a refrigerator in its clear bottle, not in a box. Pretty bad if they can't keep their own house brand in good condition. Bought at Provigo; PC (President's Choice) is a house brand of Loblaws/Provigo. Label says it was brewed by Whitewater Brewing in Laval (QC) and Waterloo (ON). Labels says it contains corn.

I.P.A. (Charles Wells): beautifully balanced brown bitterness with a hint of grapefruit in the aftertaste (I admit, I only noticed the grapefruit after re-reading the label and remembering that it's an IPA). This beer presumably corresponds to the Eagle IPA listed under Our Beers on their Pub Explorer Web page, although this one is 5% ABV rather than the 3.6% described there; on their own Web site, the Eagle Bitter is apparently what used to be called an IPA. Under the name Eagle IPA it's described at RateBeer as ‘A pasteurised higher abv export version of the regular cask beer. Available in cans and plastic bottles. Rich, full flavored ale and notably dry.’ Can, bought at Métro Joannette.

Crozes-Hermitage 2002 (Dard et Ribo): a wine drunk with an excellent dinner at Restaurant Laloux, recommended by the waiter as a white that could stand up to the salmon with meaux mustard; very enjoyable, with a straw colour and a very distinct flavour which actually reminded me of beer.

Premium Lager (Charles Wells): soft, some body, undistinguished, quite drinkable but disappointing after the IPA. At one point I thought I caught a faint metallic taste. Can, bought at Métro Joannette.

Wildcat (Labatt): at first I thought I caught a whiff of caramel, but after that nothing much, head disappeared quickly, nothing unpleasant. Something like the Charles Wells lager but less so. Beer cap proudly describes it as ‘A Quality Beer’. Described on Labatt's Web site as a ‘popular priced’ [sic] ‘quality mainstream lager using unique corn adjunct to deliver a light, dry flavour’. The words ‘mainstream’ and ‘light’ cancel out the word ‘flavour’.

2004 Christmas, Sherbrooke

Bière de Noöl (Schoune): quite drinkable but unremarkable, faint signs of alcohol (it's 6%). Mortal sin of a grammatical error on the label (‘souhaites’ instead of ‘souhaite’), noticed by DF. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rousse forte aux fruits sur lie (Barberie): fruitiness of indeterminate species, slight hardness (due to 7.5% ABV?), some underlying bitterness, no yeastiness; quite drinkable. In English, label says ‘Strong fruit ales [sic] on lees’. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Éphémère au moût de canneberge (Unibroue): pleasant, fruity but not particularly like cranberries. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Goudenband (Liefmans): satisfying full body, slightly fruity and somewhat yeasty, very drinkable. Followed by a Liefmans frambozen which has a much more distinct (and delicious) fruit flavour but perhaps less presence. The higher alcohol content of the Goudenband (7.5% vs. 4.5%) was not really obvious in the taste. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bishop's Best Bitter (Golden Lion / Lion D'Or, Lennoxville): strong but not outrageous grapefruity bitterness, very pleasant. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

La Kingsey (Multi-brasses, Tingwick): a wheat beer, slightly yeasty, a hint of lemon, a bit thin. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

Blanche des Anges (St-Arnould, Mont-Tremblant): another wheat beer, less yeasty and less flavour than the Kingsey but more body. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Rousse des Cantons (La Mare Au Diable): very enjoyable, with an underlying hint of dark cherry but no sweetness, no marked bitterness. (The following two beers are mentioned in D'Eer's 2004 book, but this one wasn't available when he visited.) On tap at the very pleasant brewpub, made all the more pleasant by chatting with the owner, Christophe Pernin, and briefly meeting his charming wife and little son. As of 2009 Dec the previous Web site is gone.

Sans Nom (La Mare Au Diable): very strong beer (13%) with a powerful smell of alcohol, a heavy body and a flavour that (in the one sip of DF's glass that I tasted) reminded me of sherry. Called ‘La furieuse’ by M. Pernin. On tap at the brewpub.

L'Abénaquis (La Mare Au Diable): very dark, repeatedly reminding me (delicately) of bacon, very nicely balanced; afterwards the memory of the taste made me think of a touch of dark chocolate. On tap at the brewpub.

Alt (La Memphré): good body, somewhat sour, quite enjoyable; not at all what I was expecting from the description by D'Eer in his book. On tap at the brewpub. Their ‘Snow White‘, with anise, was not available this evening; apart from the four here, the two others on tap were their blonde (described by the waitress as very blonde) and their brown ale (described by her as less ‘corsée’ than the Alt.

Scotch Ale (La Memphré): somewhat similar to the Alt but more alcohol, and a pleasant strong citric aroma carried upward by the alcohol. On tap at the brewpub.

IPA (La Memphré): distinct but not overwhelming grapefruit bitterness with perhaps a touch of spiciness on it. On tap at the brewpub.

Numéro 8 (La Memphré): a stout with a dark chocolate bitterness and some of the family's citric touch. On tap at the brewpub.

Entre Chien et Loup (Multi-Brasses, Tingwick): smooth, substantial body, touch of spice, could be cinnamon although it could be the power of suggestion since that's how the person at the store described it; quite drinkable but the cinnamon adds a ‘flat’ flavour and aroma (described by DF as ‘opaque’ rather than liveliness. On the label, English ‘lees’ is written as ‘lies’, ‘veloutée’ is translated as ‘light’ rather than as ‘smooth’, and ‘spicy’ is used as a noun. But the name and the image on the label (nearing sunset) are nicely evocative. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

Brasse-Camarade (Barberie): started with a powerful plum pudding aroma, followed with a good body, rich taste, with slightly grapefruity bitterness; as time went on the alcohol built up steam and became somewhat too noticeable for my taste. Labelled as a ‘strong red ale on lees’; La Barberie is a coöp, and part of the profits of this particular beer go to a fund which makes loans to local small businesses. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2005 Jan–Feb

La Carotte (du Lièvre): slight bitterness, a delicate odd flavour that reminded me of carrots – nothing at all to do with the name of the beer! Bought at Métro Joannette.

Premium Beer (Bitburger): flat and skunky, a real disappointment. The bottle is brown, but more transparent than the regular brown bottles. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Fine Porter (Sleeman): a distinct but restrained and smooth dark-chocolate bitterness, good body.

éphémère apple (Unibroue): a hint of apple aroma occasionally but dominated by a bubble-gum taste, not nearly as nice as in 2002 Aug.

Fontaine du Diable (Frères Houblon): an initial smell of vinegar reminding me of their Bière à l'Ancienne, then a strong smoky flavour which promised to be overpowering, but later on these flavours blended with dark chocolate, with sometimes one or the other taking precedence. Altogether an interesting and not unpleasant drink. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Atoka (Multi-Brasses, Tingwick): a bit sour, a touch sweet, at the very end I thought I got an undercurrent reminiscent of Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Premium Beer (Bitburger): hint of ginger ale in first mouthful but thereafter a well-balanced flavour with good aftertaste, very enjoyable. This was in a can and was a very different experience from the bottle disappointment a few weeks ago. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Coup de Grisou (Brasseurs RJ): yeasty spiciness with solid body, very enjoyable. Oddly, I had one a few days ago and wasn't much impressed. I'm sure I've had this before, but this seems to be its first time in this list. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Silver Creek (Sleeman): substantial taste, gentle bitterness, sometimes almost fruity, with thick body, almost like flannel sometimes but not in a bad way. In a can, so no skunkiness as there was last November.

Blonde d'Achouffe (RJ, under licence): practically no head, few bubbles, slight spiciness and a fragrance of rubber. Tried it again the next day, not quite as rubbery. Disappointing after previous positive experiences. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blonde Spéciale d'Achouffe (Achouffe): pleasant but not as welcomingly yeasty and spicy as I remembered and was expecting. Certainly none of the rubberiness of the RJ version. Christmas gift from SD.

Beck's non-alcoholic: not terrible, but not great. When offered one when he was going to be driving, DF said he'd rather drink water. Might be right. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2005 Feb, New Orleans

Boston Lager Samuel Adams: nice body and flavour, good bitter aftertaste. On tap in Ida's Seat, a tavern at the Cincinnati Airport. They sell a 10-ounce glass for $4.25, then 22 ounces for an extra dollar, so of course ... After ordering it I saw that they had the locally brewed Christian Moerlein Select Lager in bottles, which would have been interesting. The bartender saw my Sony F707 camera and recognised it (well, he guessed it was a 717), apparently he bought the 828 a few months ago and loves it.

Gordon Biersch: At lunch with WD and JD. We first tried the free samples: Premium Light Lager (definitely light, some flavour, perhaps of corn); Hefeweizen (very nice, yeasty and fresh); Märzen (nice, a bit sweet); Pilsner (fairly good flavour and body); Schwarzbier (quite smoky); and their seasonal, a Vienna-type lager (pleasant). WD and JD then each ordered a Märzen and I ordered a Hefeweizen; theirs came in 400-cl generic glasses and mine came in a special 500-cl Hefeweizen glass. The Hefeweizen continued to be very pleasant.

Budweiser: pointless. In a plastic cup at a reception.

Amber (Abita): seemed a bit watery sometimes, not much bitterness, but a very nice full flavour, slightly sweet. On tap with dinner in the courtyard behind the Olde Naulins Cookery. Had another for lunch the next day, on tap at Griffin's Marlin Bar & Grill, it tasted more like ginger ale, sweeter, still rather thin. Had again, from a pitcher, with dinner and jazz a couple of days later at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, where it was very enjoyable.

San Miguel (San Miguel, Philippines): reasonable flavour, good body, seemed a bit oily, quite drinkable. In a bottle, drunk with an excellent dinner (with charming service) at the Streetcar Bistro, run by a family originally from the Philippines.

Sharp's (Miller): pointless. I didn't realise when ordering it that it was not only from Miller but also non-alcoholic.

Dixie (Dixie): not much flavour. Bottle, at the Pearl Restaurant.

Blackened Voodo (Dixie): a dark lager with a flavour of toast, quite drinkable. In a bottle – in fact, from a bottle, since no glass was offered – at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.

Black Forest (Crescent City): quite heavy and dark, very enjoyable (would have been more so if I'd had more time). On tap at the Crescent City Brewhouse.

Turbodog (Abita): solid body, sweet malty flavour, extremely nice. In a bottle, with a very good dinner and great jazz at Palm Court Jazz Cafe.

Golden (Abita): thin, not much flavour. In a bottle at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe.

Red Brick Ale (Atlanta Brewing): very nice, solid taste, good bitterness. On tap at Red Brick Tavern in Atlanta Airport. It was a bit of a hike from where my incoming and outgoing gates were to where this tavern was, but it was worth it.

Peachtree Pale Ale (Atlanta Brewing): also very nice, perhaps crisper than the Red Brick Ale, seemed to be served colder. On tap at Red Brick Tavern in Atlanta Airport. Fortunately, my plane was delayed long enough that I could try a second beer.

2005 Mar

Budweiser: really not much to it. I tried it again (cf. draft in New Orleans) because Ken Wells, in his Travels with Barley, mentions a couple of times that it's supposed to have an apple taste. Too subtle for me, I'm afraid. In a bottle, bought at local grocery store.

La Grand Duc (Barberie): odd, main impression for me was vinegary sourness. I saw it described as ‘sweet toasted rye’ – could be. A ‘rye red ale on lees’ brewed ‘exclusively’ for the dépanneur Grand Duc in Longueuil. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ste. Mathilde (Brasserie Breughel): yeasty, a bit thin; very cloudy, a lot of sediment. 8% blonde ale. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Chanvre Blonde (Le Chaudron): good body, well balanced and substantial maltiness and bitterness, with a slight touch of grapefruit sometimes. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bishop's Best Bitter (Lion, Lennoxville): considerable grapefruity bitterness (a touch of coffee in the dregs next morning) with some malty body, very noticeable in the aroma at times. Bought at Métro Joannette.

India Pale Rousse (l'Alchimiste): wonderful malty body balanced by substantial but restrained bitterness, grapefruity at times. Very nice, even more positive than in 2003 Jun. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Chanvre Rouge (Le Chaudron): an initial sour aroma, and occasionally thereafter, but also some very nice malty aromas combined with a subtle bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Chanvre Noire (Le Chaudron): roaming in the region between coffee and dark chocolate, but not too bitter, with a feel that was somehow creamy. Bought at Métro Joannette.

1664 (Kronenbourg): delicate round flavour with a little bitterness, especially in the aftertaste; nice body, quite pleasant. I couldn't enter their Web site using Firefox. Bought at Métro Joannette.

St. Bruno de Kamouraska (Breughel): slightly grapefruity bitterness; DF described it as ‘mince’, which seemed to me to somehow fit the nature of the taste, although not the body. Tasted with DF at Easter, as were the next few, until the MacKroken. Bought at Le Vent du Nord (I think — I may be wrong about which of these were bought by me at Métro Joannette and which were bought by DF at Le Vent du Nord).

La Gladiamori (Multi-Brasses): little impression, then alcohol; DF said it was a bit sweet, which reminded me of the surprise I had many years ago after tasting a spaghetti sauce (chez Barb & Bill) that tasted different from any I'd had before, then being told it was because it had sugar in it.

Claire (Alchimiste): taste of caramel. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Claire Blonde (Alchimiste): rather nondescript. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Riveraine (Barberie): strong whiff of raspberry at beginning, but not thereafter; no taste of raspberry, an interesting little bitterness, an intimation of sourness. Brewed for the Dépanneur de la Rive. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

St. Pacome de Kamouraska (Breughel): no aroma of raspberry, a bitterness that had me thinking of bitter cabbage and asparagus. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

Kamour Double (Breughel): yeasty, a bit watery, not a strong flavour of alcohol although 7%. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

MacKroken Flower Scotch Ale (Bièropholie): dark chocolate, firm body, again didn't seem strongly alcoholic although 9%. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Apricot Wheat Ale (McAuslan): distinct but delicate apricot aroma and taste, with a restrained bitterness. Very nice. I first tasted this a few years ago, but this is its first appearance here; the same is true for the two Griffons below. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Griffon Extra Blonde (McAuslan): a certain bitterness which seemed somehow sharp. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Griffon Rousse (McAuslan): softer and less bitter than the Extra Blonde, a bit sweet. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2005 Apr–May

Duchesse de Bourgogne (Verhaeghe Vichte, Belgium): impression like that of 2003 Nov, although I didn't get a reminder of rum this time. Gift from JL, bought at SAQ.

Cusqueña (Cervesur, Perú): not much bitterness or maltiness, somehow oily, not unpleasant. Bought at SAQ.

Floreffe (Lefebvre, Belgium): delightful soft fruitiness (cherry?) but not very sweet, substantial body, very nice. Bought at SAQ.

La Saratoga (Multi-Brasses): yeasty, perhaps a slight sourness; very gassy or, I should say, ‘effervescent’. Labelled 'Wheat beer, hefeweizen'. Reading about the hefeweizen style afterwards, I could convince myself that there was a hint of clove and banana, and I realised that I should have purposely stirred up the yeast before pouring. Brewed for Marché Centre-Ville Chicoutimi, very similar to the Blanche from the same brewer (see below). Bought at Métro Joannette.

Écume, Bière des Îles (À l'abri de la tempête): not much bitterness, a touch of caramel. The word ‘écume’ means ‘foam’; the beer comes from Îles de la Madeleine. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La tentation d'Ève (Frères Houblon): maybe a touch of apple because I knew it was supposed to be there, a slight sourness, not much beeriness, quite drinkable but not wonderful. It foamed all over the place as soon as I opened the bottle (it wasn't particularly warm, having been out of the refrigerator less than an hour) and was extremely cloudy, with bits (of apple, presumably) floating in it. Labelled as a ‘bière à la pomme de glace’ (ice apple beer) made from apples picked last December at temperatures between −7 and −10 C. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Escousse (RJ): burnt coffee taste, not too strong, quite drinkable. A less coffee-ish bitter aftertaste was still there a long time later. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Hefeweizen (Multi-Brasses): Much like (identical to?) their Saratoga (above) and Blanche (below), maybe just a difference of label. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blanche (Multi-Brasses): a slightly sour yeastiness. Could be the same wheat-beer recipe as La Saratoga above, brewed by the same brewer for a store in Chicoutimi. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Boddingtons Pub Ale: creamy, tasty and enjoyable. This and the next two were bought at Provigo, mainly because for a few weeks they had no St-Ambroise.

La Bolduc (Unibroue): pleasant. When I tasted it again a few days later, I noticed a not unpleasant oiliness. Note that, since Unibroue was bought by Sleeman, La Bolduc is no longer in the old-style stubby bottle.

Honey Brown Lager (Sleeman): Pleasant; none of the skunkiness that I tasted in November.

2005 Jun, Mondial de la Bière

These were tasted at the Mondial de la Bière at Windsor Station. For some beers I have noted how many $1 coupons were required for a 100-cl tasting. The beer experience was made all the more pleasant by the cheerfulness of the staff in the Petit Pub, and by some people I met: on Friday, a man and his son who had a spreadsheet with RateBeer ratings to guide their tasting, making me look casual by comparison (they have a database with ~1000 tastings compiled over ten years); on Saturday, HF & SF and their friends D (who had also been there on Thursday and Friday) and P (it turned out that HF & SF knew DF's family); and on Sunday, a man with a Sony F717 camera (he'd had an F707 like mine but dropped it).

Deep Cover Brown Ale (Left Hand & Tabernash): nice brown maltiness, a bit watery, maybe a bit sweet.

Southampton Secret Ale (Southampton Publick House): substantial bitterness, slightly grapefruity.

Organic ESB (Lakefront): first impression was surprising but I wasn't sure how to describe it: malty, sweet and bitter. I tried it again the next day, it wasn't so surprising (that might have been partly because of previous beers I'd had) but it had a nice brown bitterness.

La Brune (3 Brasseurs): faint hint of coffee, not very bitter, nice body.

Petrus Oud Bruin (Bavik): slightly sour cherry, very enjoyable. (3 coupons)

Wild Blueberry Pancake (Kuhnhenn): very gassy, slight blueberry aroma and taste. (4 coupons)

Pilaarbijter Dark (Bavik): slightly sour, slightly fruity, similar to their Oud Bruin but maybe less taste. (3 coupons)

Sunshine Pils (Tröegs): pronounced, interesting long-lasting bitterness, neither grapefruity nor anything else. (4 coupons)

Tabernash Pilsner (Left Hand & Tabernash): pleasant, somewhat bitter, not outstanding. (2 coupons)

Brooklyn Pennant Ale (Brooklyn): mild, pleasant, not special. (1 coupon?)

Brooklyn East IPA (Brooklyn): slightly grapefruity bitterness, very pleasant. (1 coupon)

Lost Sailor IPA (Berkshire): more bitter but still restrained, very nice. (3 coupons)

FF Farmhouse Summer Ale (Flying Fish): beautiful balance, delicate round bitterness with faint hint of grapefruit. Supposedly the same beer as the one listed in the programme as FF Extra Pale Ale. (2 coupons)

Old Oak Amber Ale (Carver): rich, full body, imagined a hint of oak, became even richer and browner towards the end. (4 coupons)

Jackman's American Pale Ale (Left Hand & Tabernash): ‘American’ as in grapefruity, not as in tasteless; smooth, nice body, more grapefruity than the FF EPA. (2 coupons)

Sawtooth Ale (Left Hand & Tabernash): Similar to the FF EPA, quite soft and brown at the end. (2 coupons)

Shipyard India Pale Ale (Shipyard): very bitter but a dark bitterness, veering only slightly towards grapefruit and not coffee or dark chocolate. Labelled as a single-hop beer using Fuggles hops. (2 coupons)

60 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head): also a dark bitterness, perhaps even less grapefruity than the Shipyard IPA, still no coffee or dark chocolate flavour. (2 coupons)

2005 Jun

Silver Creek (Sleeman): mild, soft, perhaps a hint of skunkiness in its clear bottle.

U (Unibroue): a slightly odd hint of skunkiness that did not go well with the rest of the experience. Another clear bottle. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2005 Jun, Belgium

De Koninck: full rich body, slightly sweet, slightly spicy bitterness that was hauntingly longlasting. On tap at the Pelgrim, across the street from the brewery; enjoyed while chatting with a local plumber. The next day I had one on tap at the café at the Nachtegalenpark, and it seemed to be a bit harsher, although WD said it tasted normal.

Westmalle Trappist: rich, subtly fruity, airy but full-bodied, very smooth but occasionally a hint of the alcohol. On tap at Het Elfde Gebod; there was no-one drinking inside, and a small number of people on the terrace; a small musical interlude from the carillon added to the enjoyment.

Liefmans Kriek, unsweetened: Extremely sour, but identifiably cherry and very enjoyable; little need to worry about a jaded palate before drinking this. On tap at the Kulminator. The owner warned me that the kriek was unsweetened when I ordered it, to make sure I knew since the sign was in Flemish. There were three men at the bar, talking with the owners, and a few people in the back. A cat walked over the bar beside my beer almost as soon as it was served, and was shooed away by the owner.

Nen Bangelijke: full body, flavour reminded me of leather, some hints of the high alcohol level. On tap at 'T Pakhuis. Drunk with a late dinner with WD, just before the kitchen closed; lamb stew was delicious, although the meat was a little on the chewy side.

Hommel Bier (Poperings): like a somewhat milder Bangelijke, with some of the ‘leathery’ taste. In a bottle, with WD in Kampenhout.

Jupiler: pleasant pilsener, somewhat soft, not very bitter. Bottled, on several occasions.

Westmalle Tripel: just the slightest hint of the leathery taste, more balanced, more of a hint of fruitiness than the regular Westmalle that I'd had earlier. This is WD's favourite tripel. Bottled, in Kampenhout after a late-evening bicycle ride to and along the Mechelen-Leuven canal.

Rodenbach: nice balance between sourness and sweetness, with a touch of cherry at one point. On tap at Aux Caves d'Artois in De Panne.

St. Idesbald Blond: a hint of leatheriness, body perhaps a bit light. On tap at Palermo in Sint Idesbald. Not clear what the relationship is between this and the Ten Duinen coaster.

Duvel: no real leatheriness but some of the same yeastiness, full body, brightness from the effervescence, little hint of the high alcohol level. Bottled, in Kampenhout.

Tongerlo Tripel Blond (Abdij Tongerlo, Antwerp): bright, almost lemony, plus some of the yeasty abby taste, very nice. Bottled, at the Sportopolis at the Middelheim campus of Universiteit Antwerpen. Label says ‘Norbertijnerbier’ in Flemish, after the founder of the order, and Bière des Prémontrés‘ in French, after the place where the order started.

Chimay Tripel Blond: lightest yeast and leather flavour, and the first bitter aftertaste, of the abbey beers I've tasted. Very nice, very drinkable. On tap at 't Waagstuk (claiming to be the only place in Antwerp that has this beer on tap) after a ride into town on the 21 bus that has a route like a fractal.

Westvleteren Groen (Sint-Sixtusabdij): soft and hoppy, delightful. Bottled, at 't Waagstuk. The brewery is quite close to where we were while at the sea on the weekend. The Groen (Green) is the 5.8% blond version; on their Web site they refer to it as a lager in English but not in Flemish or French; from the rest of the site it appears that it's an ale, brewed like their stronger versions.

Rodenbach Grand Cru: substantial and somewhat fruity sourness, over a strange smokiness. Bottled, at 't Waagstuk.

Hoegaarden: Yeasty and light, very nice. Bottled, at house of S&F after cycling there.

Belle-Vue Kriek: good cherry flavour, neither sweet nor sour, quite drinkable. Cans, bought at duty-free shop at Brussels airport.

2005 Jul

U2 (Unibroue): a gentle ale, little bitterness, mild brownness, seemed very gassy although the head disappeared quickly. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Belle Hélène (Multi-Brasses): the delicate pear aroma and flavour blended with (or simulated?) the yeastiness; quite bright. Bought by DF in Sherbrooke.

La Petite Futée (Barberie): an underlying bitter sourness (sour bitterness) that reminded me of some raspberries, otherwise not strongly fruity to me. Labelled as a ‘Pale ale aux fruits’ with pears, raspberries and blueberries. Bought by DF in Sherbrooke.

India Pale Ale (Alchimiste): this was the first time I'd seen it in a small bottle, and my impression was of a smaller taste than when I've had it before, not such a grapefruity bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Pénombre (Multi-Brasses): an oddly dusty aroma, some yeastiness, a bit of bitter aftertaste, and later on some hints of fruitiness. Quite drinkable. Bought by DF in Sherbrooke.

2005 Jul–Aug, Oregon, BC & Alberta

...

Rooster Tail (Cascade Lake): nice round mouthfeel, not much flavour but quite drinkable. On tap at The Gallery in Sisters.

Bachelor ESB (Deschutes): grapefruit bitterness. Bottle from convenience store in Sisters.

...

Industrial Park Ale (Wild Rose): a distinctive aroma, then a strong chewy maltiness, followed by a strong bitterness, very well balanced, delightful. In a large bottle, bought at the Calgary Airport; there were no small single bottles of microbrewery beer on sale.

Rutting Elk Red (Grizzly Paw): a dark bitterness, slightly chocolaty, somewhat surprising in a red beer, perhaps slightly watery. In cans, bought at a small liquor store in Banff; it was one of only 2 or 3 microbrewery beers available singly.

2005 Sep–Oct

3 Monts (Saint Sylvestre, France): an initial impression of syrupy sweetness, although overall it wasn't overly sweet, there may have been a hint of vanilla, and the high alcohol content (8.5% by volume) wasn't obtrusive. Strange, interesting, pleasant. Bought at Métro Joannette, where there were signs indicating that the beer was at long last available again in Québec.

La Fabuleuse (La Tour à Bières): very cloudy, thick visually and in the mouth, rather neutral flavour but quite drinkable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bock de Joliette (L'Alchimiste): first impression of molasses, then the thought that it might just be the alcohol (6%) playing with the malt, but then again a definite hint of molasses, and occasionally a strong aroma of it. Hard to connect this impression with that of 2003 Jun. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Milady (Les Trois Mousquetaires): struck me as yeasty (although it's said to be filtered) and somewhat rubbery. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Blanche Soleil (Bièropholie): yeasty, a touch of sharpness, an impression of a higher alcohol content than it actually has. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Pilsner Urquell: marvellous flavour, good body, not particularly bitter or malty, but balanced and substantial. Reminded me of St-Ambroise, although I didn't detect any of the fruitiness that is sometimes apparent in St-Ambroise. In both can and bottle. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Cap Trinité (La Tour à Bières): delicate, slightly yeasty. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Pride (Le Chaudron International): hint of ginger ale. For what it's worth, the dregs 36 hours later were pure vinegar. Brewed by Le Chaudron for the Pride Foundation, the goal being to aid gay sporting teams. The bottle says ‘Une recette typiquement Québécoise!’ (unfortunate if true) and ‘A genuine receipe [sic] from Québec!’ (unfortunately meaningless). Bought at Métro Joannette.

2005 Oct, Ontario

Cream Ale (Cameron)

Steamwhistle

Dark Ale (Rockwater)

Grasshopper (Big Rock)

Lager (Creemore)

Bishops Finger (Shepherd Neame): first impression of butterscotch; complex, maltiness playing with alcohol, warming but not alchoholic, bitter aftertaste. Lovely. Had it fairly warm. Bottle bought at LCBO in Mississauga.

Nut Brown Ale (Black Oak): very drinkable, good body, hints of sweetness and of smokiness. Bottle bought at Beer Store in Mississauga.

London Pride (Fullers): not as heavenly as I recall from first time (2004 Apr) but very rich, full-bodied and satisfying. Bought at LCBO in Mississauga.

Old Speckled Hen (Morland)

Cream Ale and Silver Creek Lager (Sleeman): both had a faint skunkiness, and were otherwise quite drinkable but not very remarkable. The lager may have been somewhat ‘sharper’ than the ale. In plastic glasses on the Via train from Toronto to Montréal. The Sleeman Web site has an irritating insistance on Macromedia Flash, although the substantive content seems to be viewable by ignoring their warning.

2005 Dec

Délice des Moines (Bièropholie): somewhat sour fragrance, and flavour on the way in, but somehow something of caramel in the mouth. Very nice. No flavour of alcohol, and it wasn't until I stood up after the last mouthful that I remembered it's a 7.5% ‘bière Blonde forte de style belge’. Bought at Métro Joannette.

San Antonio (San Antonio, Dorval, QC): struck me as a smooth yeasty flavour, although the beer is a very clear dark amber. Not great but quite drinkable. The gimmick is that it's supposed to be made from the finest whiskey malt, to recall the 1849 gold-rush practice of drinking beer with whiskey. (I can imagine that those people were not necessarily drinking the ‘finest’ whiskey.) Although there's no indication on the label, this apparently is a new Sleeman-Unibroue concoction – it has been said that the brewery's address happens to correspond to that of a new Sleeman-Unibroue warehouse, and someone has quoted a Sleeman-Unibroue salesperson as saying it's theirs. Bought at Provigo.

2005 Christmas, Sherbrooke

Ginger (Multi-Brasses): interesting and enjoyable taste of cloves and possibly cinnamon, not really any ginger Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Tourelle (La Tour à Bières): not much taste, effervescent at first, later flat and watery. Tremendous amount of lees, also tasteless. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Spontanée 2005 (Schoune): gueuze, pleasant delicate flavour, slight fruitiness, not very effervescent. Bought at Métro Joannette.

St-Charles Brune Allemande (Le Chaudron): wonderful rich brown maltiness. Flavour stood up well even after overwhelming my sensory system with a beautiful 1969 calvados. I don't know what the significance is of the ‘Allemande’ in the name, it's certainly not a typical German lager. Bought by SL at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Le Patriote (Le Chaudron): not very interesting. Bought by SL in at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

53% Moutai (Kweichow Moutai): not a beer but a distilled liquor made of sorghum and wheat. An unusual taste that takes some getting used to: an initial powerful alcoholic sensation with an aftertaste of something like burnt toast. Others have described the taste as reminiscent of bamboo or, less enthusiastically, the bottom of a laundry hamper. Quite enjoyable; small quantities recommended. Kindly brought from China by mother of HL.

Malin Plaisir (Schoune): wonderful taste of berries, dry, and offset by an underlying dark bitterness. Very nice. Bought at Métro Joannette and by SL at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

St. Peter's Ale: delightful brown maltiness, perhaps hints of wateriness sometimes, quickly forgiven (especially given that it's only 4.5%). Bought at LCBO in Mississauga in October.

Rousse Forte aux Fruits 2005 (Barberie): very delicate, quite drinkable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Boswell (Breughel): distinct, pleasant but hard-to-define flavour; I detected hints of orange and rubber. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Gobelet (St-Arnould): pleasant but indistinct, at one point I detected a touch of medicine. Bought by SL at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion, for whom it is brewed by St-Arnould.

3 Monts (St. Sylvestre): smooth but hefty body, almost creamy, delicate flavour with hints of honey. Cf. my impressions in 2005 Sep. Bought by SL at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Chanvre Noire (Le Chaudron): like a diluted Guinness, hints of burnt toast, somewhat watery. This is rather different from my impressions in 2005 Mar. Bought by SL at La Maison des Bières (Dépanneur Le Gobelet) in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Pils legende (Wernesgrüner): a very pleasant smooth lager, maybe a touch of grassiness, and a delicate but lasting bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2006 Jan–Mar

Irish Stout (Golden Lion/Lion D'Or, Lennoxville): good body, bitterness like coffee and burnt toast. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Hue Beer (Hue, Vietnam): soft, mild, maybe a hint of rice. Bought at SAQ by JL as a gift.

Lambic Framboise (Mort Subite): marvellous raspberry fragrance as I poured it, and a continuing pleasure of raspberry, fruity but not cloying. Bought at SAQ by JL as a gift.

Birra Moretti (Heineken Italia): first impression of ginger ale, final impression of a twisty little bitterness (cf. 2003 Jun). Quite drinkable. In a bottle at a local Italian restaurant.

Logique (Le Chaudron): smooth, round, with some bitterness in the aftertaste. Certified by Ecocert Canada as an ‘organic beer’ or ‘bière biologique’. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2006 Easter, Sherbrooke

These beers were tasted with DF. I don't remember which were bought at Métro Joannette and which were bought in Sherbrooke.

(bock): taste of molasses.

Bière Nouvelle 2006 (Saint-Sylvestre): a thin bitterness, then a resemblance to the brewery's 3 Monts, then a hint of old cheddar.

St-Ambroise Ale Millésimé 2001 (McAuslan): reminded me of Christmas pudding and the water left after soaking raisins, reminded DF of cognac and the Sans Nom that we had at La Mare Au Diable (2004 December). This had been in the refrigerator for quite a long time.

La Festive (Les Trois Mousquetaires): first impression of rich dark ale, then dominated by grapefruit bitterness.

Blonde du Moulin (Frères Houblon): a lot of sediment; very yeasty, even dusty; some sourness.

IPA (St-Arnould): very grapefruity. In a big bottle with a very fancy label.

La Riveraine double bock (Barberie): rich, DF said cider, I thought a touch of raisin, hard because of alcohol but not alcoholic, quite nice but hard to describe. Brewed by La Barberie exclusively for Dépanneur de la Rive.

Édition Limitée Carnaval de Québec 2006 (Unibroue): like a watery version of the McAuslan Millésimé, and with the high alcohol level a bit more evident.

La Riveraine bière de blé à la framboise (Barberie): pleasant delicate fruitiness and underlying bitterness. Brewed by La Barberie exclusively for Dépanneur de la Rive.

2006 May

Warthog (Big Rock, Alberta): interesting dark little flavour, maybe a bit oily, quite nice. Bought at Beer Store in Manotick.

Ruddles County: delightful rich chewy taste. Bought at Beer Store in Manotick.

2006 May–Jun, Mondial de la Bière

Barberie IPA Cream Ale at Mondial de la Biere

These were tasted at the Mondial de la Bière at Windsor Station.

The Wise ESB (Elysian, Washington): grapefruit aroma at start, but then a nice malty bitterness, but then a delicate grapefruit aftertaste.

Old Thumper (Shipyard, Maine): soft, indistinct.

Bierbrier (Bierbrier, Montréal): a touch of butter near the start, passing hints of flavours unidentified. This brewery started up just recently. I spoke with Charles Bierbrier, president, brewer and bottle washer. The name is pronounced as beer-brire and is originally from Germany (presumably spelled Bierbrauer) where his great-grandfather (I think) was a brewer. Charles is a long-time home brewer, is extremely enthusiastic and was delighted to be at the Mondial as a brewer.

Fuller's ESB Bitter (Fuller's Smith & Turner): a definite family resemblance, a rich maltiness, perhaps a bit brighter than I remember Fuller's London Pride from two years ago.

Hopfish (Flying Fish, New Jersey): pleasant, substantial, but not nearly as grapefruity, or even as bitter, as suggested by the name.

Pietra (Pietra, Corsica): drinkable, unremarkable, except that at one point I imagined a chestnut flavour, likely stimulated by the mention of chestnuts on the label.

Saison d'Épautre (De Blaugies, Belgium): yeasty and delicately spicy.

Rare Vos (Ommegang, New York): Much like the Saison d'Épautre, long finish.

Corne du Diable (Dieu du Ciel!): I detected an aroma of wet earth, but then realised that it really was the wet earth. A restrained dark bitterness with a hint of grapefruit going down, maybe some maltiness. Described as an American IPA.

May Bock (Southampton Publick House): soft, alcohol not intrusive but warming by the end, no bitterness, maybe a touch malty and sweet. This was being served instead of the advertised Southampton Anniversary Ale.

IPA Cream Ale (Barberie): like grapefruit juice through unsweetened cream, beautifully balanced. On tap.

Penetration Porter (Kuhnhenn, Michigan): at the start I thought it was an interesting mix of chocolate and sourness, toward the end it seemed to become an almost fruity sourness.

Dead Guy Ale (Rogue, Oregon): at first just soft and mild, but later realised that it had a very friendly maltiness sitting in the mouth.

Just before leaving at the end of my third visit, I saw two beer T-shirts: ‘Beer: Helping ugly people get laid since 1869’ and (on an older man) ‘Life is too short to drink cheap beer’.

2006 Jun–Dec

Oatmeal Stout (McAuslan): Solid head, smooth, dark, very nice. I'd had this before but hadn't noted it here. Bought at Provigo.

Guinness: very enjoyable, sitting outdoors. On tap at Grace O’Malley’s in Stittsville.

Wellington Best Bitter: thin, a bit of ginger ale, SW suggested burnt honey. On tap at the Ironworks Pub.

Heritage Traditional Dark: also thin, delicate On tap at the Ironworks Pub.

Beehive (Wellington): slight. Bought at The Beer Store.

Stella Artois: enjoyable. At Mario's East Side restaurant.

Guinness: seemed somehow sharper or rougher than the draft I'd had here recently. In a can at Grace O’Malley’s.

Bombardier (Wells): not particularly bitter or malty, but rich and deep, reminding me of port, or perhaps molasses, but not sweet. SW commented that this is a good beer but not really for the afternoon. Bought at LCBO.

80 Shilling (Caledonian): marvellous! On tap at a Scottish restaurant.

Tankhouse Ale (Mill Street): pronounced bitterness, increasingly grapefruity with time. Bought at The Beer Store.

Fiddler's Elbow (Wychwood): from the bottle I smelled something like medicine; drinking, at first it reminded me of the Wells Bombardier, but it became somewhat more subdued as I went on. Bought at LCBO.

Innis & Gunn: a whiff of skunkiness from the bottle, and a hint sometimes while drinking. Not bitter or malty, but a lovely thick body, reminded me of cream of wheat at one point, with a hint of vanilla. Described as ‘oak aged beer’. Didn't taste alcohol but felt its heat. In 2009 May, WD was reminded of a Mokatine, a coffee-flavoured caramel from Antwerp. Bought at LCBO.

Premium Dark Ale (Muskoka): pleasant but not outstanding. Bought at The Beer Store.

Confederation Ale (Robert Simpson): gentle taste, good body, slightly oily. Bought at The Beer Store.

Bishops Finger (Shepherd Neame): wonderful body, distinctive but balanced flavour, excellent. Bought at LCBO.

Special Pale Ale (Wellington): nice taste, definite bitter aftertaste. Bought at The Beer Store.

Arkell Best Bitter (Wellington): mild, not much body; SW detected a slight apple aroma. Bought at The Beer Store.

Tankhouse Ale (Mill Street): strong bitterness but not overdone, somewhat grapefruity. On tap at the Ironworks Pub.

Silver Creek (Sleeman): unremarkable. On the train.

Cream Ale (Sleeman): unremarkable. On the train.

Wells IPA (Charles Wells): very nice. I'd had this before but never in a 2-litre plastic bottle. Bought by SW at the LCBO or Beer Store.

Smithwicks: Odd metallic[?] bitterness, only occasionally a slight hint of a Guinness-like bitterness, once or twice a hint of ginger ale (the taste, not the sweetness). Bought at the LCBO.

Tetley’s: very creamy, very mild. Bought at the LCBO.

80 Shilling (Caledonian): lovely nutty malty flavour, as nice as I remembered from the Scottish restaurant. Bought at LCBO.

Mort de Rire (Brasseurs et Frères): definite but delicate malty taste, a touch of dark chocolate, a bit thin. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Gavroche (Saint-Sylvestre): tremendous head; slightly spicy yeastiness, much like the Saint-Sylvestre 3 Monts. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Récompense (Brasseurs et Frères, Dunham): muted bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

D’Ham Rousse sur lie (Du Hameau, Ham-Sud, QC): cloudy, a foamy (not gassy) flannel (in a good way) maltiness and yeastiness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bierbrier (Montréal): not bitter, not nutty, not creamy, but a hefty mild body; JL suggested oatmeal, which seems right (cf. tasting at Mondial de la Bière). Bought at Métro Joannette.

Maredsous 8 (Belgium): an dark cherry aroma at the start, solid body, restrained but pleasant dark flavour, slightly yeasty, no sense of the alcohol (8%). A dubbel abbey ale. Bought at SAQ.

Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) (Zhujiang Brewery, Guangzhou, China): thin, flat, slight but inoffensive flavour. According to their Canadian Web site, it’s made with ‘Czech hops, German yeast, Chinese Rice and Canadian Barely Malt’. I guess the fact that the barley malt is barely malt would explain the result. Bought at SAQ.

Cruzcampo (Heineken España, Seville): light, with a hint (possibly imagined) of metallic aftertaste at the end. Perhaps I drank it warmer than is fair for this kind of beer. The dregs the next morning were more sweet than anything else. I had one the next evening, colder but maybe not cold enough. It did have a flavour, not especially beer-like, although I don't know how to describe it. Actually seemed a bit dusty at the end. The ingredients are listed (in fine hard-to-read gold-on-red print) as ‘Agua, malta (malte), cereales (cereais), lúpulo, antioxidante E-224, estabilizador de espuma E-405’. The head stabilizer didn't work. Bought at SAQ.

Floreffe (Bras. Lefebvre, Belgium): a pleasant understated yeastiness.

Durham County Signature Ale (Durham): unexceptional but quite drinkable. Bought at The Beer Store.

Warthog (Big Rock): unexceptional but quite drinkable. Bought at The Beer Store.

Original Organic Lager (Mill Street): gentle, pleasant. Bought at The Beer Store.

Grasshöpper (Big Rock): unexceptional, quite drinkable. Bought at The Beer Store.

Stock Ale (Mill Street): unexceptional, quite drinkable. Bought at The Beer Store.

Gritstone (Niagara Brewing): a restrained but definite and very enjoyable maltiness, with a good body. Bought at The Beer Store.

Trailhead (Wellington): good body and flavour, reminiscent of Pilsner Urquell. Bought at The Beer Store by SW.

Pale Ale au Cassis (La Barberie): a bit fruity at the start, perhaps a touch of metal as it warmed. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Alt bier (Au Maître Brasseur): good body, substantial bitterness with a trace of grapefruit as it warmed. The label says that this is the first in a series of seasonal beers brewed for the newspaper Le Sous-Verre. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Route des Indes (Au Maître Brasseur): Sharp grapefruity bitterness at the beginning, notable smoothness along the way, and a definite maltiness at the end but still a bitter aftertaste. Very nice. An India Pale Ale; I'm not sure why there's a feather on the label. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bière du Boucanier Red Ale (Van Steenberge, Evergem, East Flanders): slightly fruity (cherry? apple according to DF), became slightly yeasty. 7%. A gift from H&S, along with the 9% and 11%. Bought at LCBO.

Bière du Boucanier Dark Ale (Van Steenberge, Evergem, East Flanders): family resemblance, but exaggerated, little direct evidence of the elevated alcohol; reminded DF of the Sans Nom at La Mare Au Diable (2004 Christmas). 9%.

Konigshoeven Blond (Holland): less fruity than the Bucanier. A gift from DF & DL, along with the Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel. Bought at SAQ.

Konigshoeven Tripel (Holland): again less fruity, alcohol more evident than in the Bucaniere.

Konigshoeven Dubbel (Holland): more character than the Blond, alcohol less intrusive than in the Trippel.

2007 Jan–Jun

Konigshoeven Quadrupel (Holland): still not fruity, a bit sweet and caramelly, a touch yeasty, no sharp alcohol presence but a great warmth.

Récidive (Brasseurs et Frères): a stout with a rather rough coffee bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Irish Stout (Lion, Lennoxville): a deep dark chocolate bitterness with a clear touch of melting snow. This impression was partly the effect of having read my note from 2003 Jul, but this time was more than just an aftertaste; I think it may be because the strong bitterness is coupled with a thinner body than in some other stouts. Bought at Métro Joannette.

L'Abord-À-Plouffe Weizen (Au Maître Brasseur): taste of rubber, with a hint of bacon at one point. The beer is named after L'Abord-À-Plouffe, an old village in what became Laval. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Complice (La Barberie): a bit yeasty, maybe even a bit musty, and somewhat sour. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Barikade (Au Maître Brasseur): a very emphatic Scotch ale, powerful slightly sweet maltiness, touch of molasses, almost like sherry at the end. Very enjoyable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

D’Ham Brune sur lie (Du Hameau, Ham-Sud, QC): good body, some yeastiness, quietly pleasant. Stirring up the lees at the bottom of the glass seemed to bring out more bitterness. They call themselves a nanobrewery, and use a gravity-fed system taking advantage of the four floors of their building. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bière du Boucanier Golden Ale (Van Steenberge, Evergem, East Flanders): thick body, delicate caramel flavour, slight yeastiness, alcohol not overwhelming. Had me thinking about a butterscotch ice-cream float. Very enjoyable. 11%. Bought at LCBO.

La Trouille (Brasseurs et Frères, Dunham): I felt an pronounced bounce on first taste, but then it settled into an enjoyable but unremarkable drink. A pumpkin ale. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Beck's non-alcoholic (Beck): made me think of sour rice and chemicals.

Oktoberfest (Les Trois Mousquetaires, Brossard): started off pleasant, and as it warmed up developed a delightfully hefty maltiness backed by a definite bitter aftertaste. Bought at Métro Joannette.

D'Ham Noire sur lie (Du Hameau, Ham-Sud, QC): At the start, a fairly delicate stouty chocolate taste together with a bit of yeastiness, interesting. It seemed to all diminish as it warmed up.

Levity Amber Ale (Odell, Fort Collins, CO): an almost sherry-like sweetness at the start, but later a delightfully full nutty maltiness became dominant. On the bottle they say that the finishing hops ‘shine, for a beer that's more crisp than bitter’ (I'm not sure I'd say ‘crisp’) and that ‘Munich and honey malts’ are used. Bottle bought at Denham Liquor in Denver.

5 Barrel Pale Ale (Odell, Fort Collins, CO): slightly sour. The blurb on the bottle emphasizes that they use a lot of hops, but there was little bitterness. Bottle bought at Denham Liquor in Denver.

D’Ham Blonde sur lie (Du Hameau, Ham-Sud, QC): slightly yeasty. Bought at Métro Joannette.

St-Ambroise Framboise (McAuslan): delightful raspberry aroma and taste, delicate, not sweet, reminiscent of raspberry-flavoured dark chocolate but not chocolaty. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Vitale (Le Grimoire, Granby, QC): rubbery yeastiness, with the rubberiness increasing as it went along; seemed a little watery toward the end. I noticed some bits of something in the bottom of the glass and assumed that it was yeast, although the beer is not advertised as being on lees; a review mentions seeing ‘some sugar cube grains swirling around’. The label contains an annoying poem about the Fountain of Youth. On their strangely organized Web site they give its style as ‘American Pale Ale’, which seems far-fetched, and say that it has ‘a soft raspberry flavour which hardly snuffs our senses, its bitterness takes seat while marrying adequately with a refreshing fruity taste.’ The French version is less awkward than the English translation but contains two typos, and oddly enough doesn't mention raspberries. According to the Wikipedia, a grimoire is a book describing magical beliefs and practices. The article also mentions that carelessly translated grimoires are common; perhaps the careless marketing language is ironically purposeful? Bought at Métro Joannette.

Or Noir (Saint-Arnould, Mont-Tremblant, QC): edgy bitterness, a bit thin, just a hint of coffee in the dregs. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Taïga (Belgh Brasse, Amos, QC): bland, a hint of ginger ale at one point. Another reminder (after La Vitale) not to buy beer with a blue label. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Téméraire Vieille Ale (Brasseurs et Frères, Dunham, QC): a very substantial body, with a bottle full of big bubbles after pouring; at first the main impression was of a delayed bitter aftertaste, but later the bitterness moved up front and displayed hints sometimes of coffee and sometimes of grapefruit. No real impression of the 7.4% alcohol level. Brewed exclusively for Métro Joannette. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Déraille (Au Maître-Brasseur, Laval, QC): interesting bitterness, made me think of rye bread, completely uninfluenced of course by the fact that it's labelled as a rye beer. Brewed exclusively for the Marché Centrale in Chicoutimi. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Chambly Noire (Unibroue): somewhat yeasty, not the roasted bitterness that one expects from such a dark beer. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Cristal (Cervecería Bucanero: bland but inoffensive. The Bucanero Web site is centred on this beer although they also make a light beer (Mayabe Clara) and a stronger one (Bucanero Fuerte). The English version of the Web site is hosted at www.cristalbeer.ca by Labatt; the site is focussed on young people in swimming suits, with a completely different feel than the site in Spanish. Brought back from Cuba by JL.

La Brune L3B (Les 3 Brasseurs, Montréal): good body, slightly sweet, some bitterness. This microbrewery-restaurant chain is based in France. The descriptions of the beers on their Web site are annoyingly meaningless, based on the supposed characters of four sisters. Enjoyed with SF. On tap at Les 3 Brasseurs Ste-Catherine.

L'ambrée L3B (Les 3 Brasseurs, Montréal): pleasant, perhaps a touch of caramel. A higher alcohol content (6.2%) than La Brune (4.7%) but it wasn't noticeable in the taste. The food was quite good: shrimp brochettes on rice for me, an up-market ‘hambourgeois’ for SF. On tap at Les 3 Brasseurs Ste-Catherine.

Fuller's ESB (Fuller's, Chiswick, UK): full body, flavourful bitterness, somewhat like McAuslan's St-Ambroise. Bought at SAQ on Monkland.

London Pride (Fuller's, Chiswick, UK): good body and flavour, perhaps richer and less bitter than the ESB, but again without the lovely brown chewiness that I remember from 2004 April. Bought at SAQ on Monkland.

Bucanero Fuerte (Bucanero): still a fairly mild flavour but certainly more character than their Cristal. Brought back from Cuba by JL.

‘The only genuine and wholesome beveridge in England, is London porter, and Dorchester table-beer’.
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, 1771

London Porter (Fuller's, Chiswick, UK): started with a dark bitterness and some of the chewiness that I missed in the London Pride, then evolved to a mixture of coffee and dark-chocolate aftertaste, and finally a full-bodied coffee bitterness. Bought at SAQ on Monkland.

Cristal Weizen (Alchimiste): light yeastiness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ma Nouère (Au Maître-Brasseur, Laval): strong coffee bitterness combined with burnt rubber. Maybe not my favourite. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Hockley Gold (Hockley Valley Brewing, Hockley Village, ON): soft, pleasant but not striking. They recommend drinking it very cold, which I didn't do. The URL www.hockleybeer.ca is given on the can but is not live. Bought at LCBO in Manotick.

Hockley Dark (Hockley Valley Brewing, Hockley Village, ON): some dark-chocolate/coffee bitterness. (I think I've had this before but I can't find a note about it.) Bought at LCBO in Manotick.

Scotch Ale (d'Orléans, Ste-Famille, QC): less sweet and more alcoholic than I expected from a scotch ale. 7.8%. Bought at Métro Joannette.

SV Caramélisée Au Maître Brasseur): Delicate flavour; DF's first impression was floral, which led me to think of dandelions. This is the second in a series of seasonal beers brewed for the newspaper Le Sous-Verre. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Ambrée à l'Érable (d'Orléans, Ste-Famille, QC): a slight touch of maple sometimes, and in one mouthful toward the end a hint of having been smoked. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Sorcière Rousse (d'Orléans, Ste-Famille, QC): a nice maltiness, my favourite of these three from d'Orléans. At a later tasting I sometimes detected a slight fruity sweetness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Orval (Villers d'Orval, Belgium): a really lovely cherry perfume; in the mouth I felt a certain hardness at the beginning, almost metallic, but on the whole there was a pleasant subdued follow-up to the perfume. Bought at SAQ on Monkland.

Cascade Plus: very bitter, very slightly grapefruity aftertaste. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Cap Espoir (Brasseurs RJ, Montréal): fruity aroma when I first opened the bottle, something like St-Ambroise; a hint of ginger ale early on, otherwise rather bland. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Vieux-Montréal Bière Rousse (BVM du Canada, Montréal): quite drinkable, but unremarkable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Grimousse (Le Grimoire): good body, good mix of maltiness with underlying bitterness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Cascade (St-Arnould): substantial bitterness over a delightful chewy maltiness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Écume (À l'abris de la tempête): thin, a bit sour, a bit of corn, a bit of metal in the aftertaste Bought at Métro Joannette.

6X (Wadworth & Co., Devizes): solid round body with hints of bitterness. Bought at LCBO.

Blonde (Vieux Montréal): not explicitly corny or metallic or sour or watery, but nonetheless thin and not very enjoyable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

James Ready 5.5 (James Ready): bland. Apparently owned by Moosehead although it's not mentioned on the bottle. I bought a case of 12 because that's all they had and I wanted to try it; I left most of them in Ottawa. Bought at The Beer Store.

Traditional Dark (Heritage, Ottawa): good balance of maltiness and bitterness. Bought at The Beer Store.

Folle du Roi (Trois Mousquetaires): slightly sour aroma as I opened the bottle, interesting taste that reminded me of pepperoni. Labelled as a ‘Rousse au chanvre’, ‘chanvre’ meaning ‘hemp’ (see Chanvre Rouge, 2001 Oct). Bought at Métro Joannette.

MacAllen Pils (Les Trois Mousquetaires): full feel in the mouth, and a nice beery bitterness. Label says ‘Brassée par Ryan Allen – Best of Show au March in Montreal 2006’ (talk about bilingual!) of the Canadian Amateur Brewer’s Association. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Belle Brune (Au Maître Brasseur): a rather sharp black bitterness, perhaps a touch of coffee, more like a stout than the brown ale I was expecting. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Export (Molson): reasonable body and taste, little bitterness, a hint of corn syrup. On tap at Nickels.

Belle Gueule Pilsner (Brasseurs RJ, Montréal): similar to the Molson Ex, but no hint of corn. From bottle at Théatre Ste-Catherine.

Maredsous 6 (Duvel Moortgat): good body, a bit yeasty, some rubberiness. Blonde, 6%. A gift from WD.

La Garce (Au Maître Brasseur): slightly sweet, almost cherry flavour at start, at end a somewhat bitter yeastiness. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Maredsous 10 Tripel (Duvel Moortgat): somewhat yeasty maltiness, somewhat foamy feel in the mouth, slightly bitter aftertaste after a while, no direct sensation of the high alcohol level, misleadingly gentle. Tripel, 10%. A gift from WD.

Maredsous 8 (Duvel Moortgat): Not much yeastiness or bitterness, a slightly fruity flavour. Brown, 8%. My favourite of the three. A gift from WD.

2007 Jul–Dec

La Duchesse d'Aiguillon (Schoune): slightly yeasty, perhaps slightly sweet, very enjoyable. Brewed by Schoune for a restaurant in Québec City. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Alt Secrète (Sticke Alt) (Les Trois Mousquetaires): a strange dark bitterness, with just a hint of grapefruit. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rousse (St-Urbain): unremarkable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Sainte Adresse (Au Maître Brasseur): at first I thought I detected a touch of ginger ale, but after that it became pretty bland. Bought at Métro Joannette.

La Plaisir de (Au Maître Brasseur): started off very interesting, but before I'd labelled the taste it had almost disappeared. Labelled as a Brune Belge. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Saku Original (Saku Õlletehase, Estonia): good body, otherwise unremarkable.

Abbot Ale (Greene King): initial impression of a distinctive maltiness with cherry overtones. The flavour subsided but the experience remained pleasant.

Ste-Mathilde (Breughel): slightly fruity, slightly yeasty, nice body, rather warming. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Bière Rousse (Les Freres Houblon): a bit yeasty, a bit sour, sometimes a bit dusty in the nose, but not as bad as it sounds. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Joanette 80th Rauchweizen: smoky, a bit sour, a bit yeasty, interesting and pleasant. DL said there was a taste of lemonade. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Tusker (Tusker, Kenya): very bland after the Rauchweizen. Toward the end I started getting a distinct aroma and taste of ginger ale, although DF after much thought said it reminded him of a British brown ale. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Brassin 1er Anniversaire (Brasseurs & Freres): slightly fruity, somewhat syrupy, a bit yeasty, beautiful body, delightful overall effect, and I felt the alcohol only at the end. Labelled as an Ale Belge. Bought at Métro Joannette.

EB (Elbrewer Company, Elbląg, Poland): mild beery aroma, mild taste, soft, good body. The URL given on the bottle, http://www.czasnaeb.com.pl, gives something unrelated.

Blonde (St-Urbain): unremarkable, drinkable. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Mythos (Mythos Brewery, Greece): promising smell at first but then not a lot of flavour, body not bad.

John Bull (Wells): started off well, then I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of character, but at the very end it became very nicely malty.

Du Moulin (St-Sylvestre): clean, rounded, probably worth trying again. I tried a small sample at La Fromagerie in the Atwater Market.

Arrogant Bastard Ale (Stone Brewing Co., California): creamy, slightly fruity sometimes, perhaps a touch of molasses, alcohol evident at beginning; strong and interesting bitterness, perhaps slightly grapefruity but reminded me of marmite. I sent them e-mail pointing out a typo on their Web site, and suggesting that if you're going to be arrogant, it's best to be correct. They didn't answer and haven't corrected it. A gift from DN.

Marshmellow (Oxfordshire Ales): mellow indeed. Flat, delicate maltiness, sometimes slightly sweet, slightly bitter aftertaste. Overall very much worth trying again. Gift from CD, brought from England by H.

St-Ambroise Citrouille (McAuslan): taste of nutmeg, quite successful. Labelled as 'The Great Pumpkin Ale'. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Spitfire (Shepherd Neame): delicate maltiness, not bitter. I thought it was slightly skunky, although SW didn't think so. Earlier in the day I also thought that an Innis & Gunn was skunky. Both were in clear bottles, and both were bought at LCBO in Stittsville the day before.

X.O. (L & L, Cognac, France): very rich, a bit sweet and fruity, maybe like maraschino cherries in milk chocolate; 8% alcohol not intrusive. La Biere au Cognac X.O. Bought 2 or 3 years earlier and kept refrigerated.

Tawny Owl (Cotleigh): wonderful, rich maltiness, with a slightly sweet, delicate bitterness. This and the following were from Somerset, gifts from H and S when they returned from visiting W&BD.

Peregrine Porter (Cotleigh ): a touch of coffee bitterness especially at the start, mild but rich and round, slightly fruity.

Strobile Indian Pale Ale (Multi-Brasses): odd flavour that I had trouble placing; a dark toffee came to mind at one point, but not sweet; only slightly bitter, full mouthfeel. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Clair de Lune (Multi-Brasses): labelled as 'Black beer & apples', an odd idea, an odd experience; impressions passed from cherry through a hint of apple, then cod liver oil, and finally sherry; slightly sweet, not bitter; odd but not unpleasant. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Corne du Diable (Dieu du Ciel!): Substantial but well balanced bitterness, just a hint of grapefruit at times, very pleasant. Labelled as an 'American pale ale' and as a 'biere forte'. 6.5%. Bought at Métro Joannette.

1608 (Schoune): no marked bitterness or maltiness, but a satisfying body and perhaps a slight touch of raisin sweetness. Labelled as an 'all natural amber ale'. The 'subtitle' of the name 1608 is 'Champlain a Quebec'. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Rosée d'Hibiscus (Dieu du Ciel!): not bitter or malty, slightly sweet and fruity, in fact much like a rosé wine. Bought at Métro Joannette.

2007 Christmas

Cardinal de Richelieu (Trois Mousquetaires): not bitter, malty or yeasty, rather soft perhaps a touch of caramel, pleasant 'Golden strong lager', 8%. Bought at Métro Joannette, shared with DF.

Porthos (Trois Mousquetaires): at first it seemed a bit smoky, then settled to mild coffee bitterness, with perhaps a touch of fruitiness. 'Doppelbock', 8.3%. Bought at Métro Joannette, shared with DF.

Ramdham (Du Hameau): slight taste of orange rind, or perhaps of the white part between the orange-coloured rind and the pulp. Labelled as 'Orange'. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

La Gladiamort (Multi-Brasses): Slight yeastiness and fruitness, and hardness of the 9% alcohol. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

La McHarty (Multi-Brasses): perfume of apples at the start; fruity, touch of apple, sweetish, not bitter or malty, quite pleasant. Labelled as 'Honey & apples'. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

La Pentecôte (Multi-Brasses): slightly sweet, slight cherry flavour, rich although not thick. Bought at Le Vent du Nord.

La Brunante (Les Frères Houblon): at first a bit fruity, a bit bitter, rich and warming.

2008 Jan–Apr

Sinha Stout (The Lion Brewery Ceylon, Sri Lanka): slight coffee bitterness with a touch of smokiness, rather a mild stout, 8% alcohol well disguised. Bought at SAQ.

Dernière Volonté (Dieu du Ciel!): yeastiness and slight spiciness combined with a sharp bitterness with a touch of grapefruit. Labelled as a blonde abbey ale (biere).

Wells I.P.A. (Charles Wells): lovely maltiness, not as bitter as I'd expect from an IPA. In a 2-litre plastic bottle bought by SW.

80 Shilling (Caledonian): very rich maltiness, creamier and perhaps sweeter than Wells I.P.A. As lovely as the previous two times. On tap at Royal Oak in Ottawa.

Fin de Siecle (Amère à boire): more like a good mild American IPA, with some grapefruit bitterness and only a touch of maltiness. Described as a red ale in the English style. On tap at the brewpub.

Drak (Amère à boire): I really couldn't get any flavour notes out of this, although the body was OK and there was nothing unpleasant about it; a bit like the fish and chips. Described as a red lager in the Czech style. On tap at the brewpub.

Kozak (Amère à boire): a bit smoky, a touch of bacon at times, a slight touch of sweetness and maybe cherry, no hint of chocolate; matched better with the description of the Odense Porter. Described as a strong black lager and as a Czech-inspired Baltic porter. (PW had Černá Hora, Fin de Siècle and the Boucanier.) On tap at the brewpub.

Holsten Premium (Holsten, Hamburg): at first not much flavour, but some oiliness. Later a definite but odd bitter aftertaste became evident, still oily. In can, bought at LCBO.

Gösser (Brau Union Österreich, Linz) at the beginning there was a slight flavour which I looked forward to getting a better impression of, but it disappeared; there was also very little bitterness, although it was marked in the dregs the next morning. In can, bought at LCBO (as was the recent Hosten)

St. Peter's English Ale (St. Peter's Brewery, Bungay): very full-bodied, slightly malty and substantially bitter, very enjoyable, no hint of the slight wateriness that I commented on before (2005 Christmas). There was a note attached to the bottle apologizing for the ordinary round bottle; apparently their oval bottle will return. Bought at LCBO.

La Noire Soeur (Le Grimoire): very strange taste reminded me of Coffee Crisp; JL's first reaction was flat Coca Cola. The air of Coffee Crisp also had hints of Rice Crispies and dust. A taste that could perhaps be acquired. Label carries a pretentious prayer. The name is a pun, illustrated by an image of a black nun. Bought at Métro Joannette.

Radeberger (Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei>, Radeberg): A flavourful pilsner, with a nice beery bitterness and a good body. Radeberg is near Dresden. Bought at LCBO.

Pilsner Urquell: nice sharp bitterness, made me think 'grassy'.

Premier Baiser (Schoune): quite yeasty, almost milkily so, with slight spiciness. I'm not sure what the connection with a 'premier baiser' is supposed to be, but it was extremely enjoyable, seemed to be over too soon, and left me wanting more. Oh.

Cinquième Saison (Schoune) a very subdued shadow of the Premier Baiser.

Hefeweizen (Benelux): yeasty, with a slightly medicinal rubberiness. On tap at the brewpub.

Yakima (Benelux): mild grapefruitiness. On tap at the brewpub.

Blonde d'Abbaye (Benelux): mild compared with Hefeweizen, full body, occasional hints of honey and vanilla, slight yeastiness. On tap at the brewpub.

Armada Texas Brown Ale (Benelux): mild. On tap at the brewpub.

Fumisterie (Dieu du Ciel): soft but an odd sharp bitter aftertaste. A 'bière de chanvre'.

Bruxelle la Nuit (Schoune): I detected and enjoyed hints in turn of cherry, sweet chocolate, molasses and cod liver oil, although it advertises itself as having a chocolate coffee taste.

Nut Brown (Brutopia): more smoky than nutty. On tap at the brewpub.

IPA (Brutopia): reminded me of clothes-washing powder. Perhaps the odd taste was related to the pakora I was eating? Or perhaps both this and the Nut Brown were the first pulls out of a line that had held something else, since it was just after opening time. The IPA that I had later had the expected grapefruit bitterness, albeit restrained. On tap at the brewpub.

Scotch Ale (Brutopia): slightly sweet maltiness. On tap at the brewpub.

Nigerian Nectar (Brutopia): odd, sparkling, slightly fruity, perhaps apricot? I didn't catch the name at the time but was told that it was gluten-free, so I assume that it was the Nigerian Nectar (see below, 2008 Jul). A free taster at the brewpub.

Mocha Stout (Brutopia): good body, restrained coffee bitterness. (Waitress called it mocha stout, but on Web site it's called chocolate stout.) On tap at the brewpub.

Raspberry Blonde (Brutopia): indistinct taste; SF said there was a strong raspberry aroma. On tap at the brewpub.

2008 May, Mondial de la Bière

ESB (Propeller): mild, decently bitter aftertaste, last mouthful malty.

London Ruby (Brasseur de Montréal): enormous head; when it warmed up it became nicely malty. Brewpub opened 2 months ago.

La Chi (Brasseur de Montréal): very gingery. I just had a taster.

La British (À la Fût): similar to London Ruby but a bit more bitter and less malty.

Ellie's Brown Ale (Avery): full body, malty, touch of molasses.

Black Mama (Broadway): some coffee bitterness, a bit thin compared with a real stout. A black lager.

Indian Brown Ale (Dogfish Head): good body, nicely balanced maltiness and slightly chocolaty bitterness.

Saison Station 16 (Hopfenstark): yeasty, slightly sour (power of suggestion?), interesting flavour (rye?). Server said that 'saison' referred to a yeast that makes it a bit sour, and that the rye makes it malty (I may have misunderstood what he said).

Fleur du diable (Brouhaha): slightly spicy, sharp bitterness at beginning, good body. A 'pale ale belge'.

La morsure (Le Trou du diable): slightly grapefruity bitterness, slightly buttery? An IPA.

Blonde au Chardonnay (Barberie): mild, sweet. 10%. I had a taster. From a bottle.

Claymore (Barberie): very mild, soft. 'Brune forte aux épices'. Draft.

Rousse Hyper Bitter (Barberie): very pleasant, very bitter, grapefruity if anything but not really.

Métayer Rousse (Bilboquet): some malty fragrance at the start; perhaps slightly watery, detectible bitterness.

Saison (Boulevard): nicely spicy (clove?). The server told me that it was a blonde (redundantly, since he'd already poured it) and douce.

Omega-3 Brown Ale (Saint Bock): mild, a bit thin.

Big Swell IPA (Maui): grapefruity but also sweet? spicy? malty?

La Rouge Flamande (Thiriez): sour, slightly fruity although not identifiable, very enjoyable.

2008 May

Cheetah: Reminiscent of ginger ale, somewhat flat, and milk; similarity to mango kulfi (ice cream). Bottle, at Devi, an Indian restaurant.

Canon (Brasseurs RJ): Rich, perhaps a touch of sherry, high alcohol effective but not obtrusive. Bought at Métro Bellemare, formerly Métro Joannette. When I visited on May 11 after a long period without visiting, I discovered that the store is under new management. According to the cashier it had changed 3 weeks earlier. There was still a good selection of beer, but some disturbing signs, like bottles of Labatt Blue among the 'Nouveautés et saisonnières'.

Sainte-Adresse (Au Maître Brasseur): Very effervescent at first; delicate taste of cloves, quite pleasant. (See above, 2007 Jul–Dec)

Nouvelle France Rouge (Les Bières de la Nouvelle France, St-Alexis-des-Monts): very mild, touch of sweetness, no bitterness. Label recounts the legend of the evil sorcerer of Lac Sorcier in the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve, but no information about the beer beyond the legally required alcohol content (4.5%).

Public House Light (Brasseurs & Frères): mild but with a noticeable bitter aftertaste which perhaps became a bit metallic toward the end. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

L'Armûre (Le Grimoire): sweetish, a bit like sherry but somewhat thin. 7%. Labelled as 'Bière ambrée au miel et aux mûres'. Label contains a strange text about some kind of hero. 'Armure' means armour, but with the accent on the 'u' is a pun on 'mûre', or blackberry.

MCV (La Tour à Bières): remarkably unremarkable, especially given the promise on the label of 'arômes complexes de caramel et d'alcool', 'une onctuosité déconcertante qui laisse sur la langue une épaisse sensation de crème dominée par un goût intense de caramel', and a 'finale houblonnée'. Over the course of 660 ml I noticed neither the caramel, the cream nor the hops; there was perhaps an edge due to the 7.5% alcohol. Label says 'Brewed by La Tour a Bières exclusively for the Marché Centre-Ville', explaining the name MCV. Label also says 'Brewed by Les Brasseurs du Saguenay' in Chicoutimi. This apparently is the official company name, although they prefer Tour à Bières for marketing. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Corne du diable (Dieu du ciel!): distinct but moderate grapefruity flavour, balanced by a noticeable maltiness which is often missing in this style of IPA. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Porter du Marché (Au Maître Brasseur): first impression very rich, creamy, slightly fruity, slightly alcoholic; later on, as it warmed up, a hint of coffee bitterness came out. An Imperial porter, 7%. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Vie de Château (Grimoire): reminded me more of cherry (or the raisins in rum-and-raisin ice cream) than of rum. 'Amber beer with brown rum', initially brewed for the Chateau Bromont. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

James Ready Honey (James Ready): very mild and soft, slightly sweet. Bought at a Beer Store, I think.

2008 Jun–Jul

Nouvelle France Rouge (Les Bières de la Nouvelle France, St-Alexis-des-Monts): Faint hints of something but I couldn't identify it. Bought at Métro Bellemare. On Jun 1 I bought the last bottle of the Marché Joannette anniversary beer at Métro Bellemare; the shelves were starting to look pretty bare of interesting beer (but see message of renewed hope below). I wrote a thank-you note to Jean-François Joannette and received a reply saying that he's now working at the Microbrasserie Dieu Du Ciel!.

Boréale Noire: alternating between coffee and burnt toast.

Mastok (Benelux): full, round, delightfully spicy and yeasty, on both nose and tongue, from start to finish. Belgian pale ale. On tap at Benelux.

India Pale Ale (Le Réservoir): good body, repeated sense of a grapefruit aroma but not taste; restrained bitterness. On tap at Le Réservoir.

Hip Hop (Sergent Recruteur): bitter, not grapefruity. On tap at the brewpub (since closed).

Ténébreuse (Sergent Recruteur): Neither coffee nor chocolate. An oatmeal stout. On tap at the brewpub.

La Malt Aimée (Le Grimoire): somewhat sour, a bit yeasty. Labelled as an IPA and as quite strongly bitter, which wasn't my impression. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Milady (Les Trois Mousquetaires): first impression was yeastiness (although it's filtered); later hints of ginger ale and, even later, fish. Described as 'Blonde de blé' and 'Kristall Weizen'. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Flimzie (Benelux): good body, very pleasant yeasty spiciness. An abbey blonde. On tap at Benelux.

Dernière Volonté (Dieu du Ciel!): nice delicately spicy yeastiness. An abbey blond, 6.5%. The description on the label is much more evolved, of course, and claims a combination of Belgian and British roots. Bought at Métro Bellemare, where on Jun 30 the shelves seem to be well stocked again; the 'last' bottle of the Marché Joannette anniversary beer turned out not to be the last after all.

La Montoise (du Lievre): much less distinctive than the label. Bought at Métro Bellemare

Quatre-Centième (Unibroue): pleasant yeastiness and slightly clovy spiciness, with a hint of rubber that I haven't noticed in similar beers recently. 'Brassin commémoratif' for anniversary of Champlain's 1608 founding of what became Québec City. 7.5%. Bought at Métro Bellemare

17 (Unibroue): At first there was a hint of raisins but less later on. The 10% alcohol was noticeable but not too overbearing. Bought at Métro Bellemare

Nigerian Nectar (Brutopia): strange flavour, after a while reminded me of over-ripe strawberries or watermelon; bitterness had something of lemon rind in it. Quite enjoyable. Waitress said it contained sorghum malt (so gluten free) and bitter leaf instead of hops. On tap at brewpub.

Blonde (Trois Mousquetaires): pleasant initial malty aroma; slightly sweet maltiness, no bitterness, reasonable body. Straightforward. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Rousse (Les Trois Mousquetaires): weaker and darker maltiness that the Blonde, but more bitterness. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Péché Mortel (Dieu du Ciel!): alternating between coffee and chocolate bitterness over a deep rich fruitiness. Bought at Métro Bellemare

La Folichonne (Au Maître Brasseur): dominated by a long-lasting fine effervescence that gave it a full mouth feel; otherwise, a mild bitterness and perhaps a slight sweetness, quite pleasant. On the label it says 'Bière officielle/15e anniversaire/Mondial de la bière', but I don't think it quite means that. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Fumisterie (Dieu du Ciel!): substantial bitterness with perhaps a hint of molasses. Chanvre. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Route des épices (Dieu du Ciel!): at first it was dominated by a slow-acting long-lasting heat at the back of my palate; later there was some deep maltiness and the spiciness moved to the front of my tongue. 'Bière de seigle au poivre'. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Frousse (du Lièvre): reasonable body, slight maltiness, a touch of bitterness at very end. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Eisbock (Alchimiste): an amazingly massive body, with a flavour somewhere between sherry and cod-liver oil; very interesting and enjoyable. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

2008 Aug–Dec

Imperial Stout (Amère à Boire): chocolate cake.

La Boucaneuse (Au Maître Brasseur): bacon bits, with hints of ham; little or no bitterness.

Lugtread (Beau's, Van Kleek Hill): soft, with a gentle but noticeable bitterness; it had been maltreated – bounced around in the car, opened and reclosed. 1.89-litre bottle bought at the brewery.

La Lysée Noire (Au Maître Brasseur): coffee bitterness, perhaps a bit thin; a porter. Collection Québécoise du Maître. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

No. 926 (RJ): yeasty, slightly spicy, at one point a slight hint of rubberiness. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Semuta (Benelux): darkly yeasty and somewhat bitter; 'saison ambree', 6%. On tap at Benelux.

La Scottish (Au Maître Brasseur): hint of molasses and bitterness, not as sweet as I expected for a Scotch ale. Ten days later I said mild, good body, slight sweetishness. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

London Porter (Fuller's): rich, full-bodied, with a touch of coffee; at one point I was reminded of chocolate wafer cookies, at another of Coffee Crisp. Bought at LCBO.

Cherry Wheat (Brutopia): very nice cherry aroma and flavour, on the edge of being too sweet, no bitterness to speak of. On tap at Brutopia.

O'Hara's Irish Stout (Carlow Brewing Company, Ireland): restrained coffee bitterness, good body, much more solid than La Lysée Noire but nowhere near the richness of the London Porter. Bought at SAQ.

Coffee Porter (Mill Street): my initial impression was stale coffee grounds and ashtray. Those characteristics dimimished, leaving just coffee, although I did get a couple more hints of ashtray. JL got a whiff of overripe compost bin, but liked the flavour. The coffee flavour is from actually being brewed with coffee, not just from the roasted malt. Bought at a Beer Store.

Rousse (Amère à Boire): mild, slightly bitter, perhaps slightly sweet. I forget the actual name of the beer. On tap at Amère à Boire.

Cerna Hora (Amère à Boire): pronounced flavour, somewhat bitter, very nice. Based on a taste of MD's. On tap at Amère à Boire.

Odense Porter (Amère à Boire): mild, slightly smoky. On tap at Amère à Boire.

Ma P'tite Gueuze (Schoune): odd, interesting, pleasant – it struck me as a combination of cod liver oil and sour cherry. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Tetley: mild, creamy, slight bitterness. On tap at Asha Indian restaurant.

IPA (d'Orléans): substantial bitterness, distinctly grapefruity at the start, combined with robust maltiness. Very nice. Bought at Metro Bellemare.

Double Identité (Au Maître Brasseur): a slightly spicy yeastiness combined with what I perceived as an English maltiness. Labelled as a Belgian pale ale. My translation of the text on the label: 'What happens when you take the recipe for an English Pale Ale and add a Belgian yeast to ferment it? Something very surprising! A beautiful Belgian beer with the bitterness of a great English beer.' Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Murphy Stout: creamy, toasty. On tap at Coaster's (av. du Parc).

L'Or Noir (Saint-Arnould): stale coffee and ash trays – but not as bad as it sounds. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Rivière Rouge (Saint-Arnould): malty, perhaps a touch of molasses, slight bitterness. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

P'tit Train du Nord (St-Arnould): somewhat yeasty, mild. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Blanche (Trois Mousquetaires): initial impression was of yeastiness with a bite to it, although the bite went away later. Very light colour, perhaps a touch thin. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Aramis (Trois Mousquetaires): hint of molasses or cod liver oil? Cf. 2004 Sep–Dec. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Newton (Brasserie Lefebvre, Croly, Belgium): delicate sweet fruit flavour, apple if they say so, although it actually made me think more of pineapple-banana. A 'light beer flavoured with apple [juice]'. 3.5%. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Marie framboise (St. Arnould): a dark, unsweet raspberry flavour. A 'raspberry amber ale'. After making this note I saw a review that mentioned a metallic note, which could perhaps be used to describe the darkness I perceived. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Paradisiac Black and Tan (Schoune): cherry? Sherry? Christmas pudding? Quite nice, not what I expected from a black and tan. Brewed 'exclusively' for Le Paradis de la Bière (151 ouest, rue Laurier). Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Griffintown Montréalaise (Brasseur de Montréal): not a lot of taste, perhaps a bit grainy. Not the usual description of Montréalaises. Described as 'Blonde légère et cristalline'. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Rebelle Québécoise (Brasseur de Montréal): faintly spicy and full bodied, very pleasant. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

IPA (Barberie): decidedly bitter, not grapefruity, chocolaty or coffee-ish. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

IPA (Alchimiste): less bitter than the Barberie, more malty. Both very nice. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Alt (Bièropholie): very rich, dark bitterness, some taste of molasses and toward the end a hint of cod-liver oil. Very nice. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Bog Water (Beau's, Van Kleek Hill): mild, very understated compared with its description. On a second tasting, 2009 Jan, found a sideways kind of bitterness and some kind of 'herbal notes' as advertised. Interesting. Bought at the brewery.

Traditional Dark Lager (Heritage Brewing): mild, very slightly sour? SW described it as a bit tingly. On tap at the Swan on the Rideau.

Brassin d'Hiver (St-Sylvestre): delightfully full and rich, slightly spicy; at the start I thought fruity, at the end I detected banana. It reminded me of a Belgian style, SW said its sweetness reminded him of Courage Directors or a Wadworth. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

2009 Jan–May

Keo (Cyprus): very bubbly, reminded me of ginger ale at the beginning, with an odd astringent (?) bitterness, toward the end made me think of spruce beer. Bought at LBCO in Maxville.

Hockley Stout (Hockley Valley Brewing, Hockley Village, ON): a bitterness hovering between coffee and dark chocolate, somewhat more to the coffee side, quite nice. Bought at LCBO in Maxville.

Gavroche (St-Sylvestre): harder than the 3 Monts, perhaps the alcohol is more present. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Belle Gueule 20e Anniversaire (Brasseurs RJ): hint of molasses at beginning; rather 'unstructured' thereafter, as DF said. Bought by DF at Provigo in Lennoxville.

Orval: fragrance of fruit cake or maybe Christmas pudding, but flavour rather rough. Bought at LCBO in Maxville.

Hobgoblin (Wychwood): malty, slightly sweet, good body. Bought at Maxville LCBO

La Place du Marché (Schoune): mild, slight spiciness or yeastiness, perhaps a bit thin. Picture of Sorel-Tracy on label. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Maclays (Sleeman): neither bitter nor malty, perhaps a touch sweet, a bit thin, basically a mainstream Canadian beer. Not what I expected from a 'traditional pale ale' from Scotland. Label says Thistle Brewery, Alloa, Scotland, but according to a Wikipedia article brewing ended there in 1999; apparently Maclays Brewery changed its name in 1994 to Maclay Inns Limited 'to better reflect its current business model' and no longer brews its own beer. The label says 'Sleeman Breweries' in small print. The beer is apparently brewed by them, although they don't mention it at www.sleeman.com, and it is at the low-price end of their line along with Pabst Blue Ribbon. This is the kind of slimy marketing that one might expect from a Sleeman/Sapporo combination. Bought at LCBO in Maxville.

Floreffe Double-Dubbel: I didn't identify strong flavours, but it was quite solid and rich nonetheless.

Blanche de Dunham (Brasseurs & Frères): delicate with a slight rubberiness; pleasant. Hefe-weizen. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

l'Évêque (St-Arnould): a sharp rich molasses bitterness with a hint of spice. Labelled as 'Belgium ale' ('bière de style belge') and 'strong beer on yeast' ('bière forte sur lie') 8.5%. Bought at Mètro Bellemare.

Éternel Péché (Schoune): delicate peach fragrance, otherwise neither bitter nor sweet; clumps of dark lees (I hope). Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Paroxysme (Au Maître Brasseur): hefty body with dark bitterness, a touch of coffee grounds sometimes. Labelled as an altbier. Brewed 'exclusively' for Dépanneur de la Rive, Cap Rouge. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Boutefeu (Microbrasserie du Lac St-Jean): a rich maltiness coupled with a substantial bitterness, with just a touch of grapefruit at one point. A 'boutefeu' is someone who starts quarrels. Labelled as a red ale, 5.1%. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Vlimeuse (St-Arnould): substantial and long-lasting bitterness, a feel of sand (extremely fine sand) perhaps related to the fine suspension of yeast (very unlike the clumps in the Éternel Péché. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

La Corriveau (Bilboquet): dark coffee bitterness, good body. Labelled as a black wheat beer. 5.5%. The blurb describes it as a dark-chocolate bitterness. The blurb refers to a 'legendary murderess'; Marie-Josephte Corriveau (1733&ndash1763) was a Quebec woman found guilty of murdering her two husbands; after hanging, her body was exposed for some weeks until people in the neighbourhood demanded that it be removed because they heard disturbing sounds in the night (ref). Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Vire-Capot (Microbrasserie du Lac St-Jean): soft, round, some kind of very delicate spiciness, not much bitterness. 'Blond ale', 5.5%. 'Vire-capot' means 'turncoat'. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Guinness: smooth, rounded, traces of coffee in the bitterness. From a bottle, but not the one produced by Labatt (see 2003 Jun&ndashJul). This bottle contained a strangely shaped widget and had a thin plastic coating, perhaps as an insulator. The instructions said that one should 'serve extra cold' and 'drink straight from the bottle'. I poured it into a glass; it came from the refrigerator and started off cold but became more flavourful and satisfying as it warmed up. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

SA (Au Maître Brasseur): quite bitter, not as sweet as I expected from a scotch ale, and with a hardness presumably attributable to its 7%. Brewed 'exclusively' for the Dépanneur Simon Anthony on Beaubien Street. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Belle Gigue (Microbrasserie du Lac St-Jean): soft and filling in the mouth, lightly yeasty, not hard at all. 'Strong ale', 6.5%. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Maudite (Unibroue): good soft full body with yeastiness and restrained spiciness with a touch of rubber, no aggressive alcohol taste. 'Strong beer on lees', 8%. Cf. my earliest comments on it; JMJ frankly didn't like it when I gave him one recently, and it occurred to me that perhaps his 'it tastes like a homebrew' wasn't intended as a compliment. Bought at Provigo.

Belgian Kriek (Lefebvre): powerful cherry aroma, smooth, somewhat sweet but not cloying. A rather unimaginative name. Part of a 'half meter of beer' collection bought by JL at SAQ.

Cerise Triple (Les Frères Houblon): no outstanding characteristic; a slight yeastiness, perhaps a slight fruitiness but not particularly cherry. In the dregs the next day I caught a bit of bitter cherry. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

XIIIe Anniversaire (St-Arnould): definite coffee bitterness, perhaps a bit thin, no hint of the 9% alcohol. 'Imperial stout'. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Belle Gueule 20e Anniversaire: unremarkable. Cf. earlier note. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Boston Lager (Samuel Adam): I'm not sure how to describe it &ndash a bit bitter, perhaps slightly floral, bright and clean &ndash but it seemed perfect as I sat reading, sitting in the sun on the grass on an unusually warm spring day, leaning against a log with ducks and chickens wandering around. Bought at a Beer Store in Stittsville.

10W30 (Neustadt Springs): a touch of sweet chocolate at the start, a delightful maltiness as it warmed up. The colour really does remind one of motor oil as its poured. The label says, rather obscurely, 'malty grain premium dark ale'. 5.5%. The can is 473 mL, the first time I'd noticed that many such cans are less than 500 mL. Bought at LCBO in Stittsville.

Red Amber Ale (Alexander Keith's): unremarkable, somewhat thin. Bought at LCBO in Stittsville.

Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale (Shepherd Neame): substantial bitterness over maltiness, with no grapefruit or coffee/chocolate funny business; an occasional hint of skunkiness, perhaps to be blamed on the clear bottle. Bought at LCBO in Stittsville.

Nut Brown Ale (Brutopia): again tasted smoky (cf. 2008 Jan–Apr). on tap at the brewpub.

Java Stout (Brutopia): fair coffee bitterness, with also a bit of smokiness. I'm pretty sure the waitress called it Java Stout, although in 2008 Apr the waitress called it Mocha Stout; on the Web site it's Chocolate Stout, as it was then. on tap at the brewpub.

Okocim (Okocim Brewery, Brzesko, Poland): soft, mild lager (I think). According to the Wikipedia article, the brewery is owned by Carlsberg. Bought at LCBO in Stittsville.

Boréale Rousse: with all the times I've tasted this beer, this is the first time that I've detected some spiciness, possibly affected by the tasty sauce on the beef that I was eating. In a bottle at Le Boeuf Gourmand.

L'Archange (Le Bilboquet): Good body, slightly spicy, with an unexpected taste of black pepper at the end. Bought at Métro Bellemare.

Amber (R.J. Brickman, Waterloo): unremarkable. Bought at Beer Store in Stittsville (I think).

Tiverton Dark (Steelback, Tiverton, ON): rather light body but delightful molasses flavour. Bought at Beer Store in Embrun.

2009 Jun

‘She broke him of the habit of eating with his knife, she caused him to substitute bottled beer in the place of steam beer, and she induced him to take off his hat to Miss Baker, to Heise’s wife, and to the other women of his acquaintance.’ From McTeague: A Story of San Francisco by Frank Norris (1899)

Boons (Anderson Valley): impression of opening an extra space at the top of my palate. Whatever that means. (I'd had 3 glasses of wine at the reception at the Perkins’.) Malty, a touch of caramel? The bartender said spicy. On tap at Rudy's in Palo Alto.

IPA (Anderson Valley): Bitter but only a touch of grapefruit; long aftertaste. This was only a taster and I decided it would need another taste. The next evening I had a pint: grapefruit bitterness backed by a solid body and perhaps some caramel. Very good. A baseball dad, who had brought his son to a baseball camp at Stanford, bought me a 2nd one, still enjoyable. There was heavy TV coverage of the death of the other Michael Jackson. On tap at Rudy's.

OB: A Korean lager, straightforward. From a bottle at the Han restaurant in Palo Alto.

Hite: Another Korean lager, perhaps a bit more character than the OB. The Korean waiter said it is pronounced like 'height', although in Korean it would presumably be pronounced as 2 syllables. From a bottle at the Han restaurant in Palo Alto.

2010 Jul–Aug

Bitter (Cheval Blanc): Grapefruit through cream, not really very bitter but certainly not sweet. On tap at the brewpub on my first visit there.

Wittepol (Cheval Blanc): very interesting and enjoyable flavour – orange and anis according to Je, lavender and toffee according to Da. Described as an ‘old Belgian witbier recipe brewed with Belgian brewmasters Pol Ghekiere (La Vieille Forge) and Christian Bauweraerts (Achouffe)’. On tap at the brewpub.

2010 Sep

Bauwimpen (Cheval Blanc): Initial fragrance of grapefruit, impression of grapefruit bitterness through a soft brown syrup, very slightly sweet. Afterward, less grapefruit but a tremendous after-bitterness through hints of something like caramel. According to the beer menu on the wall, a blend of Bauweraerts (65%) and Imperial India (35%) aged for 3 months in oak casks; 7%, 50 IBU. On tap at the brewpub.

Morning Wood (Cheval Blanc): Initial impression of burnt toast; later, not so burnt, but strange; never a hint of 10% alcohol, but it had its effect. Described as an Imperial Brown Ale; 10%, 128 IBU. Interesting but not exactly a session ale. Server said that they'd 'never brewed with so much cereal or so much hops'; they'd made only a small batch. On tap at the brewpub.


2011 May, Mondial de la Bière

Old Henry (Hobsons, Worcestershire): slight oiliness, dandelion bitterness.

Brodie's Prime (Hawkshead, Cumbria): full body, a bit sticky, slightly grapefruity bitterness.

Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale (Flying Monkeys, Barrie): Nice maltiness.

Sir William's ESB (Dragonmead, Michigan): From one mouthful to another, varied from richly fruity to slightly grapefruity bitterness.

Tulach Leis (Vermont Pub & Brewery, Burlington): Slightly sour cherry. Described to me as an American sour beer that is rather mellow, on the beer list as a Flemish red. Brewed in memory of Gregory Noonan, founder of the brewpub. ‘The name (Toolah - Leez) comes from county Cork in Ireland where the Noonan clan originated.’

Bog Father (Beau's): Raisiny aroma, and the rest was richly undescribable. Described to me as a souped-up version of their Bog Water.

Interdite (Brasseurs du Monde): Quite bitter, but not grapefruity, at least not at first; quite rich, full-bodied. Described on beer list as ‘90 minutes’, ‘West Coast’ IPA, 100 IBU.

Chateau Rogue Dirtoir (Rogue): Black lager; smoky, fairly light body.

Ename Dubbel (Brouwerij Roman, Oudenaarde): Pleasant but unremarkable.

St. Louis Premium Kriek (Van Honsebrouck, Ingelmunster): Meaty cherry flavour and aroma, sweet ’n sour with even a memory of pineapple.

Fursty Ferret (Hall & Woodhouse): The guy behind the bar said he didn't recommend this one because it was skunky (it's in a clear bottle); he gave me just a small taste and it didn't seem too skunky. I'd forgotten that I'd already had this, 2009 Nov.

Gorlovka Stout (Acorn, Barnsley): Slightly smoky, fairly light.

Voatsiperifery (Brouhaha, Montréal): ‘Saison au poivre sauvage’ – and it really is! a nice beer, plus a lot of black pepper. Apparently named after a wild pepper from Madagascar.

Revival (Moor, Somerset): I'd wanted to try their Old Freddie Walker and Fusion, but they were both out. This one grapefruity bitter (American hops) but softly.

Postman's Knock (Hobsons): More burnt toast than the advertised chocolate. (I asked for their most sour beer and the woman suggested that I choose by colour; even the person she asked had no idea.)

Boson de Higgs (Hopfenstark, L'Assomption): Called a Berlinerauch, more of rubber, and a hint of spice, than the smokiness I expected.

Ridge Runner (Rock Art): Described to me as a barley wine; hints of smoke, grapefruit, ham, cloves? That doesn't describe it, of course, but a very nice finish to the beer festival. I'd ask the man for a beer with lots of taste but not necessarily too much alcohol, as my last beer of the weekend.

2011 Jul Ottawa etc.

1855 Dark Ale (Kichesippi): full round milky smoothness (?!) with a touch of dark chocolate. On tap at the Arrow & Loon.

Mad Tom IPA (Muskoka): Grapefruity and maybe some orange. Bitter but not aggressive. On tap at the Arrow & Loon.

Wishart's Cask Bitter (Clock Tower): Good body, beautiful balance. On tap at Clock Tower on Bank.

(Clock Tower): Very nice, with a touch of rubber. Talked to the assistant brewmaster, who didn't know what it was that I perceived as rubber. After he mentioned a burnt flavour, I also tasted some burnt toast. On tap at Clock Tower on Bank.

Tank House Ale (Mill Street): Beer poured with a lot of head, supposedly because of the heat, although not all their beers were behaving like that. The beer was good, perhaps less striking than I remember it. On tap at Chez Lucien. The place was recommended by the bartender at the Clock Tower, who said she watches Canadiens hockey games there, apparently the owner used to play hockey. On the way in I met a woman with peacock feathers. A woman at the bar next to me referred to her companion's taste as 'pedestrian' - hopefully her brother and not her boyfriend.

2012 Jun, Mondial de la Bière

Beer for Brains Foundation

Funds raised went to the
Société canadienne du cancer (Québec)

Antares Scotch Ale (Antares, Mar del Plata, Argentina): a good Scotch ale – good body, malty, a bit sticky sweet

Biere de Mars (New Belgium, Fort Collins, Colorado): a bit spicy, a flash of sour as advertised, maybe a bit floral.

Angus IP«AAA» (La Succursale, Montréal): powerful bitterness, slightly grapefruity. This brewpub in Rosemont is about one year old.

La Métropole (Alchimiste): Brewed by Alchimiste as the official beer of Le Rugby XV, a Montréal rugby club. Crisp with substantial bitterness. Described as a ‘lager houblonnée’ (or ‘houlonnée’ according to the original sign on their booth) and the hops are certainly there, not grapefruit or chocolate or coffee, just beer. Alcohol level is 5.14% to honour Montreal's area code.

Mad Top IPA (Muskoka): Full-bodied grapefruitiness, long fruity aftertaste. This and the next three were served at a workshop on IPA's given by Tony Forder, co-founder of Ale Street News.

Huma Lupa Licious (Short's, Bellaire, Michigan): Less so than Muskoka, with something odd in it.

Black Rye IPA (Bodebrown, Brazil): He said ‘silky’. Strange, a touch of cod-liver oil, not very bitter.

Vixnu (Colorado, Brazil): Described as balanced, my palate was too confused to say more.

La Rooibos (Brasseur de Montréal): Spicy tea with a touch of bacon at one point, little aftertaste. A wheat beer with red tea.

Ghosttown (Brasseur de Montréal): Very complex, full-body, hard to describe, at the end I detected coffee and at the very end I tasted the advertised anis. An ‘absinthe-based stout, brewed with roots, herbs and strongly roasted malt’.

Broken 7 (Brisset): Crisp with significant bitterness. Pol Brisset started a couple of years ago with MTL, having it brewed by Brasseur de Montréal. Now he has bought all of the assets of Bierbrier except the name and is adding new styles. Their Spec Ale and Goose Village were supposed to be at the beer festival but were not ready in time.

Stout à l'avoine (HELM): Rich, creamy, on the coffee side of bitterness. I also had one of their grilled-cheese sandwiches, which was quite good with very flavourful bread.

Founders Porter (Founders, Grand Rapids, Michigan): Full body, full flavour, not one thing more than another, maybe some toast.

Sara Bio (Silenrieux, Belgium): Yeasty and maybe a touch sour (maybe influenced by description). A buckwheat ale. (They were out of the kriek that I'd wanted to try.)

La Flamèche (Benelux): ‘Bière sûre’, softly sour; I thought I tasted some cherry and imagined orange. From a bottle.

90 Shilling (Odell): Beautiful round maltiness, a touch of cod-liver oil(?) at the end. Odell is one of the breweries involved with the Arizona-based Beer for Brains Foundation.

Mountain Standard (Odell): Double black IPA, very complex and well balanced.

Grimbergen: A bit sweet and fruity; E tasted licorice. On tap at Nordenger in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

Nordenger: Mild, soft, slight spiciness/yeastiness. On tap at Nordenger, for whom it is brewed by RJ.

Cobra: Quite bitter, with an interesting edge, maybe due to maltiness. On tap at Mirchi Restaurant in Old Montréal. Although sold at an Indian restaurant, this was apparently not the Cobra from India but rather, from the writing on the glass, an IPA from La Micro de Bromont. This is supposedly the same as Le Chaudron Paradisiac Cuivrée (ref.), cf. my notes for Cobra (Le Chaudron) from 2001 & 2003.


Undigested notes

Beer places

Map of beer in Montréal

Montréal stores, brewpubs & restaurants | Other places | Beer links

See also

* Asterisks indicate places that I've visited.

Montréal stores

Montréal brewpubs

Montréal pubs, restaurants & bars

Montérégie

Estrie

Laval

Laurentides

Lanaudière

Mauricie

Toronto

See also List of Pubs Featured in the Seven Part Toronto Pub Crawl Series (2010 Mar)

Breweries

This is a nascent section summarizing brewery ownership. The information is taken from various places, often from Wikipedia.

In 2000 and 2010, the world's top ten brewers accounted for 37% and 74% of world beer production, respectively. In 2010, the top three (AB InBev, SABMiller and Heineken) accounted for 53%. (McCaig, 2010)

Beer links

Beer books

The following is a list of some of the beer books that I own, whether by virtue of downloading them, picking them up at second-hand bookstores, receiving them as gifts, or actually plunking down full price for them. They are not all to be recommended equally.

Beaumont, Stephen (2001): Canadian The great Canadian beer guide, 2nd edition, McArthur & Company, Toronto, 272 pp.

Bennett, Judith M. (1996): Ale, beer and brewsters in England. Ale, beer and brewsters in England: women's work in a changing world, 1300-1600, Oxford University Press, New York, xv+260 pp.

Beverage Testing Institute (1999): Buying guide to beer, Dornan, Marc (editor), Sterling Publ. Co., New York, 256 pp.

Bowering, Ian (1988): Canadian The art and mystery of brewing in Ontario, General Store Publishing House, Burnstown (ON), 132 pp.

Bowering, Ian (1993): Canadian In search of the perfect brew: In Ontario and Quebec, 2nd edition [‘... the saga continues’], General Store Publishing House, Burnstown (ON), v+266 pp.

Brown, Pete (2003): Man walks into a pub: A sociable history of beer, Macmillan, London, xii+387 pp.

Glover, Brian (2000): Beer: An illustrated history, Anness Publ. Ltd., London, 64 pp.

Jackson, Michael (1976): The English Pub: A unique social phenomenon, Jackson Morley Publ., reprinted 1986 by Librairies Classic Bookshops, Rexdale (ON), 170 pp. This was a gift from me to Dad.

Jackson, Michael (1993): Michael Jackson's beer companion, Running Press, Philadelphia, 288 pp.

Jackson, Michael (2000): Great beer guide, Dorling Kindersley, New York, 544 pp.

Lange, Thomas, and Forty, Jo (1999): Bières, adaptation française par Christian Pessey, Books & Co., Paris, 96 pp.

Marchant, W. T. (1888): In praise of ale: or songs, ballads, epigrams, & anecdotes relating to beer, malt, and hops, with some curious particulars concering ale-wives and brewers, drinking-clubs and customs, Redway, London, viii+632 pp. (on-line)

Pashley, Nicholas (2001): Canadian Notes on a beermat, Polar Bear Press, Toronto, 203 pp.

Sneath, Allen Winn (2001): Canadian Brewed in Canada: The untold story of Canada's 350-year-old brewing industry, Dundurn Press, Toronto, 431 pp.

Thompson, Jennifer Trainer (1997): The great American microbrewery beer book, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley (CA), iv+218 pp.

Scanning of beer labels

Scanning label on beer bottle The beer-bottle labels shown here were scanned on an HP 7450C flat-bed scanner using HP's PrecisionScan software. I manually roll the bottle along the glass, keeping pace with the scanner's lamp. I put a piece of wood along the side of the scanner bed and keep the bottom of the bottle up against it. I put two rubber bands around the bottle, just above and below the label, to prevent slippage. I scan at 300 dpi, partly because at lower resolutions the scanner goes too fast for me to keep up with rolling the bottle. The only real problem comes when the scanner stops partway along, backs up, and starts again. An artefact often appears in the image at that point. If the width of the scanned area is made as small as possible, the scanner may be able to scan the whole label without stopping. This is partly a function of the computer, which currently is not a terribly fast one and has only 64 MB of memory.

I save the image as compressed TIFF then open it in Corel PhotoPaint. I rotate it 90°, crop it and resave it, then resample it from 300 dpi to 100 dpi and save it as JPEG (typically with 10% smoothing and 30% compression). Note that I do not attempt to make the label horizontal by rotating the image. Any departure from horizontal is because the label was crooked on the bottle. The thumbnail images are resampled for a maximum dimension of 40 pixels, possibly after recropping; if recropped, ‘_xtn’ is added to the file name, otherwise ‘_tn’ is added.

The thumbnails are made using ImageMagick with the command convert -geometry 40x40.

See Patrick Barry's discussion of How to remove beer labels intact from bottles.


R.Funnell
Last modified: 2014-10-12 08:07:09