Montréal one beer at a time

Eric Tremblay

Montréal’s festival season is right around the corner and the city is buzzing with anticipation. The Mondial de la Bière (Montreal Beer Fest), which is celebrating its 25th edition, is a must for beer enthusiasts and epicureans looking to fill their bellies with excellent artisanal brews and delicious food. The event takes place from June 6 to 9 at the Palais des congrès and entrance is free.

There is a huge selection of beers to taste on site, which can make it a little intimidating. In fact, an array of foreign products will be offered to slake the thirsts of the curious in exchange for a handful of coupons. That’s not to mention local artisans who will also be well represented. As the hub of Québec’s brewing scene, many of Montréal’s breweries will be on site, evidently. So, to whet your whistle for the festival, here are 5 of the best beers that you can find right here in the city.

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Brasserie Harricana – 720

Style: Barley wine

This strong beer caramelizes naturally after boiling for 12 hours. It is then aged in bourbon barrels. The long boiling period is what gives the beer its toffee notes and a warm and intense finish. No caramelized grains are used when producing this beer. Its colour and flavour simply come down to its long boiling process, making it a soft and silky English barley wine. With its high alcohol content (11.9%), this beer is best enjoyed slowly or in the company of friends.

Isle de Garde – Lagerbier

Style: Landbier

The popularity of so-called thirst-quenching beers is growing, and Landbier by Isle de Garde perfectly meets this description. This lager, which takes inspiration from the German region of Franconia, has a vivid blond colour and is topped by a creamy blanket of foam. Its fresh, crispy grain flavour is reminiscent of a crunchy baguette. It's the kind of beer you’ll want to drink uninhibited on a sunny patio.

L’Amère à boire – Imperial Stout

Style: Imperial stout

Speaking of lagers, for over 20 years L’Amère à boire has carved a niche for itself producing lagers. However, this product is an ale, and probably one of Quebec's most popular imperial stouts. And for good reason! The beverage is topped by a thick and creamy brown head that leaves a lacing on practically the entire glass. Its aroma, reminiscent of Coffee Crisp, makes it hard to keep your lips off the glass. Its creaminess is pleasant and inviting, and with more chocolate hints than coffee, its high alcohol content is (dangerously) hard to notice. It ends with a slightly bitter finish, giving a final “oomph” to an already delicious brew.

L’Espace Public – Kölschlaga

Style: Kölsch

The pride of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, L’Espace Public keeps winning over fans, especially since it started selling some of its beer in can form. One of its most recent offerings is Kölschlaga, a German-inspired blond beer. The hint of American hops makes this beverage even more enjoyable when consumed in large gulps.

Station Ho.st – Postcolonial IPA

Style: English IPA

Montréal's Station Ho.st, which is affiliated with Hopfenstark brewery, has seen its popularity grow as diners flock to enjoy refined cuisine paired with a wide selection of draught and bottled beer. With murky and fruity IPAs all the rage, it's nice to return to basics with a good English-style IPA. And Postcolonial IPA is one of the best to come out of Quebec. Grassy hops mingle with caramelized notes in this silky, medium-bodied brew that is as enjoyable as it is easy to gulp down!