You are going to want to make your way out to the St-Ambroise terrace this weekend for Oktoberfest. McAuslan’s first annual event celebrating the end of summer with live music, traditional German food and their first ever lager. The festivities start today at 6:00pm and continue until Saturday at midnight. Rain or shine, the St-Ambroise terrace will be the place to party outside this weekend.
Thursday, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday, 6:00pm – Midnight
Saturday, 4:00pm – Midnight
Exclusively this weekend, St-Ambroise will be pouring their very first Oktoberfest Lager in litre steins for $9. This will be the only time this year that you will have the opportunity to try it. I had a chance to taste it earlier this week and it is not to be missed.
This will be the first lager that McAuslan has produced under their brand and it’s exclusive to the event. There are no plans to bottle it and once the weekend is over it will get cellared over the winter. The brewers at McAuslan have made every attempt to brew an authentic German Märzen lager. Märzen is a traditional Bavarian lager which is normally brewed around March. A dark brown, full bodied and bitter style that would be cellared and lagered during the summer. The remaining bottles served at the Oktoberfest. The style lends itself to higher alcohol content and a a lot of hops used to preserve the beer.
I had one of the first pulls off the keg on Tuesday and this beer pours a beautifully clear, light amber. With about a 2 finger rocky white cap. There is a bit of carbonation flowing off the bottom of the stein and the lacing is great. As the head slowly dissipates a centimeter or two remains.
While it was a bit difficult to get the full aroma on the terrace, what I could make out were lots of bready malts.
This is a smooth beer, a very clean mouthfeel and reserved carbonation. Which allows the sweet bready malts to shine in the middle. The hops begin to show at the end, with a mellow hop bite. Spicy, slightly peppery and very earthy dry finish.
Overall, this is a beer that is going to knock a lot of people onto their asses. It’s a very easy drinking beer with a pretty high alcohol content, around 6%. The brewers did a good job recreating the style and it was a treat to get to drink this fresh, behind the brewery, on a beautiful October day.
The St-Ambroise terrace is located at 5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise, Montreal, QC. The event is free and Litre steins of the Oktoberfest Lager are priced at $9. As well, there will be a meal provided for $10 which consists of knackwurst sausage, traditional German potato salad and Sauerkraut. Fresh hot pretzels will also be available with beer mustard from Bretzel & Compagnie. There will be two live bands over the weekend, The Wanderers and the Happy Bavarians.
The great part about drinking craft beer is having the opportunity to taste ancient styles that are revived by craft brewers. Gose is sour wheat beer originally brewed in the town of Goslar, Lower Saxony Germany. With a distinct saltiness that is attributed to the mineral-rich aquifers that supplied the water for the brewhouses in the region. Craft brewers in Canada have been recreating these recipes using sea salt and sour mashing techniques to bring this old style back into the glasses of beer drinkers.
The family run Beau’s Brewery is bringing back this style with their recent Opa’s Gose from their Wild Oats series. Brewed with all organic wheat and barely malts, organic hops, organic coriander and sea salt this is a salty, tart and citrusy beer. At 5.0% alc./vol. in a Beau’s 600mL bottle, you can buy this beer at the Brewery in Vankleek Hill or through their online BYOB Home delivery service (if you live in Ontario). A single bottle will cost you $7.85.
Opa’s Gose is a tart beer with mild citrusy notes and a unique salty character. The saltiness of the style is diffused and complemented by a coriander spice addition.
INGREDIENTS: Local Spring Water, Organic Wheat & Barley Malts, Organic Hops, Sea Salt, Organic Coriander, and Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
MALTS: Wheat, Pilsner, Munich, Acidulated (All Organic)
HOPS: Hersbrucker, Perle (All Organic)
YEAST: Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
IDEAL SERVING TEMPERATURE: 4-6° C
FOOD PARINGS: Summer Sausage, Lemon Sorbet, Sweet Chili Thai Shrimp, Eggs Florentine
Appearance: Comes in a great looking Beau’s etched bottle with a satchel containing a package of sea salt and the story of Beau’s Opa’s Gose. Before adding salt this pours with a sparse two finger head which dissipates quickly. A golden straw colour, opaque and slightly white. Adding salt adds a sparkle to the beer and it comes alive with carbonation spilling off the granules of salt. The head becomes thicker and smoother while the lacing sticks and shines on the side of the glass.
Aroma: Almost classic wheat beer here. A lot of wheat grains and spicy coriander notes. A slight apple tart smell and just a little bit of lemon peel. The yeast profile is noticeable with ester banana notes. I also sense a bit of apricots.
Taste: The first thing I noticed is that overall this is more sweet than salty or sour. Upon first hitting the tongue are sweet banana notes and a very slight saltiness. Texture is incredibly smooth with slight carbonation, a typical characteristic of a good wheat beer. This beer really coats the mouth and allows itself to linger nicely with nice rounded wheat, coriander and ester notes. Some citrus at the end but not really apparent. No sourness at all. Dry aftertaste with slight hop bitterness to round out with an earthy finish. Adding salt gives the beer more of the desperately needed saline flavour. A word of caution, a little goes a long way. They include more salt than you would need. With the salt the beer becomes much smoother while the carbonation comes alive a bit. Adding salt does distract from some of the more subtle citrus flavours however.
Overall: This is a very pleasant beer and with the added salt pack you can dial in your saltiness as desired which is a nice addition. However, I was disappointed by the missing acidic sour flavour that I believe a good Gose should have. I would consider this more of a salty witbier. Also, out of the bottle without the self addition of salt, this beer doesn’t hit the right notes of a Gose and the addition of salt in the glass after the fact tends to overpower the other flavours instead of blending and playing off of them.
I would still recommend that you go ahead and try this beer if you can. It’s a decent example of an old style that is difficult to find. Gose is an incredibly refreshing summer beer with more taste and character than your average cold lager. If you cannot get your hands on this Ontario beer, I still prefer Quebec’s Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose, which you still may be able to find in select beer stores.
And while you’re visiting Beau’s website, don’t forget to check out their Oktoberfest 2013 festival happening October 4th and 5th. Beau’s serves up great beers and you won’t be disapointed.
Disclosure: I was offered a free bottle for this tasting
Gose is a tart and salty beer style from Leipzig, Germany. A top-fermented ale flavoured with salt and coriander was first brewed in the town of Goslar during the early 16th century. Originally, Gose was spontaneously fermented, which attributes it’s sour flavour from lactobacillus. Now, under more controlled settings, brewers have brought back this style for our enjoyment.
I was completely new to this style of beer. I’ve had my fair share of sour beers, saisons and lambics but the addition of salt was unknown. I’ve toyed with the idea of adding sea salt to a homebrew but never thought it would quite work. However, I’ve seen people season lagers with salt. I have also rimmed cerveza glasses with salt in the summer and it always tasted refreshing. The pieces started to come together.
The Gose style is not widely available but we do have two bottled examples here in Quebec. Les Trois Mousquetaires Hors Série Gose and L’Alchimiste Gose Bier. Since I’m new to Gose, I decided to compare the two and try to distinguish the style by comparison.
Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose is a sour ale at 3.8% Alc./Vol. in a beautiful 375 mL bottle. Using Quebec Pilsner malts, wheat and oat. Hopped with Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. Best served at 4°C in a Weizen glass. The bottle also displays 9 IBU and 8 SRM.
The unusual style is brewed with the sour mash technique with a slightly salted water and aromatised with coriander seeds.
L’Alchimiste Gose is also classified as a sour ale at 4,7% Alc./Vol. in a 341 mL bottle. No other information is displayed on the bottle but it was a beer brewed at the end of June for the Festival Oktoberfest des Québécois. Both cost $2.49 at my local beer store.
LTM Gose pours with a slightly off white, two finger head. Which dissipates fairly quickly but decidedly slower than L’Alchemiste. A cloudy, slightly darker straw when compared but turns more opaque as you wrangle in some of the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. It left a nice lacing but after time it all but disappears, making this almost look like a fruit juice.
L’Alchimiste Gose pours with a 1 finger head that dissipates even quicker. It’s a paler yellow colour and a lot more opaque. Typical of a good wheat beer colour. Lacing also thin but tends to stick around longer.
LTM Gose has a this tart citrus nose. Lemon and orange peel. It’s very fresh smelling and the sour perks the nose.
The aroma is similar with L’Alchimiste Gose but with slightly muted citrus notes. The lemon is still there but slightly sweeter and more of the wheat and coriander comes through.
The LTM Gose is sour from start to finish but it won’t make your lips pucker up. The finish is a salty citrus tart lemon, just like a lemonade. A salty lemonade. In the middle the acidic carbonation tingles on your tongue and the salt begins to become more apparent. Make sure you swirl the bottle to get some salty, yeasty goodness into your glass.
In contrast L’Alchimiste Gose is mild. Still tart on your tongue but it has a sweet lemon finish and after taste, almost artificial. Not very sour or salty but more sweet and juicy. The wheat and coriander is more apparent in the middle and with a lower carbonation the smooth wheat becomes the highlight of this ale.
Overall: The LTM Gose outshines here. The style is in your face but never overpowering and incredibly refreshing. It’s sour, salty and acidic tart flavours are full of character and thirst quenching. Not to say that L’Alchimiste’s brew is bad. It contrasts the sharp characters of LTM with a smoother fruity flavour. I would consider L’Alchemiste Gose a great wheat beer because the Gose characteristics are slightly muted. Sure, if you hold this in your mouth you get some acidic bite and can find a hint of salt but if you are looking for these flavours from a Gose, you will be disappointed.
Both are simply great beers and worth trying. However, Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose aggressively hits the style and this is the beer I will buy again for repeated summer drinking.
Le Castor is an organic microbrewery founded last year in Rigaud, Quebec. It is a small shop owned by former home brewers who have a passion for experimenting with big barrel aged beers. Their first brewed beers are great examples of style and they have a bourbon barrel aged beer which I’ve yet to taste (although I had a sneak taste of it last year before it was finished aging and I’m looking forward to opening the bottle in my fridge).
The Yakima IPA is a West Coast IPA using various hops from the region. They are using pale and Munich malt and dry hopping as well. The bottle I tasted was part of their ongoing test batches. It had a 6.5% alc/vol at 55 IBU. Tasted from a 660ml bottle which I paid roughly $8 for in a pint glass.
This beer is a celebration of the mighty West Coast hop, grown east of the Cascade mountains. Multiple varieties are used in this ale, at several different points in the brewing process. With emphasis on late & dry hop additions, we serve up this juicy citrus flavours & aromas on a bed of pale and Munich malt.
Appearance: Pours with a great thick fluffy head. With very good head retention and lacing. It has a cloudy straw colour and it looks a bit paler than what I expected from a West Coast IPA. I believe the test batch I had was one of the first, which used a Californian yeast. They later changed to an English yeast due to clarity issues. As you can see from the picture it is quite cloudy. I believe they then attempted to use an English yeast but have since decided to continue using the Californian.
Aroma: Big citrus aroma. Grapefruit, orange peel and some tropical fruit notes. Great typical west coast hops coming off the pour. Nothing much else and I’m not complaining.
Taste: Taste is clean. It was really hard to put onto paper how to describe this cleanness. This might come from the smooth carbonation that allows the flavours to roll off the tongue. It’s hoppy but it’s not crushing and won’t ruin your mouth with bitterness. Nice smooth mouthfeel with a light citrus middle. The beer finishes off with a light lingering earthy bitterness that isn’t crushing or palate destroying.
Overall this is a good test batch and the new batches use more hops to reach 75 IBU. What I like about the Yakima IPA is that it’s a clean example of the style (like their other beers) and while it’s not a hop heads dream beer it’s a great beer to introduce drinkers into the world of hops. The cleanness allows this beer to be enjoyed quite easily on a nice summer day. A great session beer. It’s hard to get a good West Coast IPA in Montreal and while it’s a bit expensive it might be worth the price for a local organic IPA. I would recommend heading down to Rigaud and buying this directly from the brewery in a growler. Because when you reach the end of the bottle you will be left wanting more.
The sun has finally arrived in Montreal and St-Ambroise has a treat for you to enjoy in the sun. They are testing a new Double IPA recipe exclusively on tap at their terrace. An unfiltered 8.6% ABV ale with Chinook, Cascade and Citra hops. It is a hoppy treat that will knock you off your chair if you’re not careful. I would highly recommend you go to the terrace and try it. Completely worth getting out of the city and sipping this in the hot sun. If you don’t know where the terrace is located, it’s behind the brewery at 5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise.
The beer pours a nice amber with great head and lacing. I felt the beer was missing a nice big aroma but the taste is absolutely great. Bitter from start to finish with peppery and herbal hop notes and a slight hot alcohol flavour. The beer is well balanced with a decent sweet malt backbone. The classic St-Ambroise yeast profile is present in the beer, which I didn’t think detrimental to the flavour. It distinguishes St-Ambroise beers as they are all fermented in open fermenters and use the same yeast strain.
Overall, this is definitely better than their bottled IPA. Perhaps getting to drink this only days after it was kegged, directly behind the brewery just adds to the crisp freshness of the hops instead of sitting in a hot deppaneur. Absolutely worth checking out and definitely worth enjoying in the sun on the Lachine canal.
Our most popular beer! A smooth amber ale. Medium bodied and bursting with flavour, this beer is clean to the finish.
It is what it says… A nice amber/gold colour with a frothy cream coloured head that lingers.
First thing you get is fruit. Not only are there some nice refreshing citrus notes, but also a hint of banana. All in all, it is pretty inviting.
This is a great summer amber ale! With the fruit notes coming in from the aroma are nicely balanced with a slight nutty-caramel flavor as well with some light hops. It goes down smooth with a slight bitter aftertaste but an overall crisp taste.
A great amber ale. This is the type of summer beer you want. You don’t realize that you’ve finished your first pint and you’re back in for a second. It is very refreshing but enough subtle flavors to keep you intrigued and wanting more. This would be a good compliment to some spicy backyard BBQ.
Unfortunately it is only available out in the Prairies and West, but if you stumble upon it be sure to grab some.
About Nick Collicutt
Nick is a guest author who travels across Canada and has access to the wonderful craft beers our country has to offer.
It’s hard to find a Dieu du Ciel beer that I do not like. Every time I go to a speciality beer store and they have bottles I’ll try to pick some up. Their brewpub is definitely a place every Montrealer should visit on a regular basis. Like the other white beers featured here lately, summer is the perfect time for them. So let’s hurry up and crack into this bottle.
Blanche du Paradis is a Belgian-style Wit brewed with coriander seeds and Curaçao orange peels, the spices traditionnally found in this classic style. Unfiltered and containing almost as much raw wheat as malted barley, it presents a veil of yeast and proteins giving this style its “Blanche” name. Round and light at the same time, it exhales fresh baked bread aromas, and reveals spices and citrus flavours, accompanied by subtle notes of acidity coming from the wheat.
The Blanche du Paradis was born in our Montreal brewpub in May 1999
Pours a dull straw yellow with a lot of haze. Cloudy white three finger head that dissipates quickly. Very nice lacing. This is a bottle conditioned beer. Classic white beer look.
Strong yeast aroma. Bread and wheat along with some spiciness. A little bit of the orange peel makes its way through. Very simple and delicate aroma. Nothing jumps out at you. Still very appealing though.
The smooth and creamy mouth feel is the first thing I noticed. It has a peppery and slight hop middle and a very subdued bitterness at the end. Good balance of spices and the slight citrus from the orange. Very little aftertaste and very fresh tasting.
This is a well rounded white beer. Perfect for the style without doing anything out of the ordinary. Perfect for a summer session beer. What I like the most about this beer is that it is not thin or watery like a lot of other white beers I’ve had. It has a nice solid body. This is hands down a go to white beer and a perfect example of the style. It’s a little difficult to get your hands on it but if you can pick it up.
I’m a big fan of Unibroue beers and this is an easy one to pick up in stores. The first time I’ve had it was at a restaurant where I ordered both versions of Éphémère, apple and blackcurrant, for my girlfriend and I. I had the blackcurrant and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since this is an easy enough beer to find in most grocery stores and white beers are perfect for summer drinking, I decided to pick up a case.
Éphémère Pomme is made in honor of this great fruit. Its lively effervescence, fresh and refreshing taste as well as its Granny Smith apple nose combine to offer you a unique sensory experience. It pairs extremely well with goat’s milk, cheeses, pork or duck. It has known such a success that you will now be able to appreciate its taste all year long.
Golden and hazy in colour with yeast cloudiness. Large three to four finger frothy white head. It dissipates rather quickly. Expected for a white beer. Really good lacing and a lot of carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass.
Not as much apple in the aroma as I would have expected. I get a very spicy and yeasty aroma. Ginger and nutmeg are more prevalent. The apple is more subdued, but it is definitely akin to a granny smith apple. The aroma itself is sour. Reminds me a little bit of the Jolly Rancher candies. The spices and yeast definitely play a larger role here.
Again, as expected from the aroma, there are more spices in the taste. Ginger is more noticeable than the nutmeg. The apple flavours are more subtle. A very nice mix of sweet and tart going on. The body is very thin and watery (almost a bit grainy as well) and there is a lot of small bubbles in the carbonation. Expect to burp a few times. A bit of a dry and lingering aftertaste. This is where the tart green apple flavour shines. The aftertaste will stick with you for awhile and it’s a bit yeasty as well. The longer it lingers the less pleasant it becomes.
This is a decent beer but it’s not a favourite. I think the spiciness from the yeast overwhelms the beer in the wrong direction, masking a lot of the interesting apple flavour. The aftertaste also lingers too long in a bad way. On top of that, for some reason, the carbonation just does not sit well with me. I’m not opposed to drinking it but I don’t think I would go out of my way to have this again, especially when it’s counterpart, Éphémère Blackcurrant is better in my opinion.
All that being said, I think this beer would really work in conjunction with some nice goat and stinky cheeses. But I’m not reviewing a beer coupling, just how it stands on its own.
St-Ambroise Raspberry Ale is a wonderful seasonal ale that comes out around June every summer in Montreal. I found out about the beer two years ago at their terrace and it has been a yearly staple on draft and in the fridge. It’s the perfect blend of fruit and beer.
Made with fresh raspberries and choice sun-ripened hops, it gently engages your taste buds in a delicious explosion of flavours. Its delicate fruit aromas marry perfectly with the pleasant hop character typical of all St-Ambroise ales. Brewed in Quebec – just once a year – it’s a unique summertime treat!
The Raspberry Ale pours a deep dark red with a fluffy pink cloud-like two finger head that slowly dissipates. The beer itself is a bit hazy with a very deep ruby red colour. The darker colour comes from using darker malts, which is a smart decision to give it that red colour. (I’ve always thought the blonde raspberry ales at other brewpubs looked wrong for the flavour). When put up to the sunlight it just glows red. Very good lacing around the glass. This beer looks absolutely gorgeous.
This beer smells like raspberries. Lots and lots of raspberries. The aroma is very pleasantly natural without any kind of sweet synthetic aromas. Like a fresh field of raspberries. There isn’t anything else on the nose and that’s OK. The raspberries are very inviting and you begin to salivate at the prospect of drinking this beer.
Again, we’re talking all raspberry here. A tart raspberry taste. Some malt flavours and a nice medium body. Not overwhelmingly sweet but enough to cut the tart bitterness of the raspberry flavour. Little bit of carbonation. It ends with a traditional McAuslan hop finish that is recognizable from their other beers. A little bitter at the end with a sour aftertaste. Very refreshing and surprisingly a well balanced beer between the raspberry flavours and beer flavours.
This is a great summer beer. I want to emphasize that this is indeed a beer. If judging by the colour and aroma alone, you would think this is some kind of blended beer with synthetic sweetness. But this is not the case. While it has a very powerful and inviting raspberry aroma it still blends the malt and hop flavours perfectly. Like I mentioned earlier it’s a staple in my fridge during the summer months. Perfect for sipping or session drinking, depending on your mood.