Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Mighty Quebec Beer Haul!

At a recent drinking-and-merriment event, myself and a few of the lads got into a deep conversation about craft beer.   Go figure.   Oddly enough, however, I was not the one to initiate said conversation, nor was I even drinking what could be called a 'craft beer' at the time.   Truth be told, I rarely drink the good stuff at parties, not because I'm cheap or afraid it might get taken by other drunken patrons.  It's mostly because I like to have most of my mental acuities in somewhat working order when drinking something new and exciting.  It's like a good scotch, not something you want to power through - you want to savor the experience.   So my beverage of choice on the evening was more of the Euro pilsner variety - Wernesgruener and Pilsner Urquell, to be specific - with a couple of cans of hard cider for later.   Still more than acceptable, just nothing special.  It wasn't until a sporting gentleman with a finely coiffed mustache arrived with a bottle of something that sounded a great deal like it should be fighting Russel Crowe in the Colisseum - "Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus" from Microbrasserie Charlevoix.   Now I've heard this brewery mentioned in awed tones before, but I'd never seen one before in Ontario, much less tasted one.   It's a small brewery with a small output, but Charlevoix has developed quite a reputation as being among Canada's finest brewhouses.  Fortunately, our good friend was the sharing type, and offered those interested a sampling or two of the Hibernus, a winter-themed Belgian pale ale, rich and hearty, with notes of caramel, cherry, clove and spices.  A delectable treat.

A few days later, he messaged that he would be visiting in La Belle Province, and wondered if we wanted anything brought back.  Naturally, I leaped at the chance.   With the exception of Charlevoix, these are all from breweries whose wares I've sampled before; these are their more esoteric, smaller-release offerings rarely available outside of Quebec.

Here they are, in all their majesty!  Thanks Phil!  

They are, from L-R: Brasseurs RJ - Canon Doppelbock (since retired); Fin du Monde Trois Pistoles; Les Trois Mousquetaires Kellerbier, Rauchbier (smoked beer), 2010 Grand Cuvee Doppelbock, and their multi-award winning Baltic Porter.

All from Charlevoix. Unfortunately, none of the Dominus Vibiscum seasonal series was available yet, but am more than satisfied with what I managed to get.  The first four are part of a sample pack, which includes their Blonde, Tripel, Dubbel and Witbier.  "La Vache Folle" ('Mad Cow') is Charlevoix' other line that features brews more English in nature; I went with their Imperial Milk Stout.  Unfortunately the camera cut off the latter image, but rest assured, the cow is wearing a lamp for a hat.

A fantastic lineup.  But the question remains - when to consume it?  Some of these brews simply beg to be aged, the Doppelbock and the Baltic Porter in particular, while others can be consumed immediately.   It's very difficult not to drink them all right now....very difficult...but I think I can sate my curiosity by having one or two in the near future.     Don't worry - when I get around to each, you will be the first to know!

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