Sunday, July 19, 2009

Le Saint Bock Brasserie Artisanale (Montreal, QC)


Le Saint Bock is a very good brewpub with an interesting, well-brewed line of beers. The Envieuse, a porter, was my clear favorite. My wife liked the porter as well as the brune called Aportre.  In addition, the pub touted a range of Quebecois guest taps from La Nafrageur on the Gaspe Peninsula to Unibroue.

We tried the frites (french fries), which came in a bowl shaped like an oversized bomber bottle cut out, served with herbed mayo (like most places in Quebec).  A fan of frites in general, we found these more than satisfactory. Very hot in the pub on a rainy afternoon, something we didn't think about, but most places in Montreal seem to lack air conditioning, choosing to suffer along until the cold winter temps return.  So, we moved on; unfortunately, we should have stayed to try some of the guest taps rather than going to either of the other two pubs down the street (Les 3 Brasseurs and L'amere a boire). If in Montreal, I'd make Le Saint a fairly high priority.

L'Amere a Boire (Montreal, QC)


We hit L'Amere a Boire to get out of a pouring rain storm, wishing we were back at Le Saint Bock down the street.  I don't understand the high rating of this pub compared to others in the area.  Not a single beer inspired me to want to have a draft of any of them--in fact, we didn't even finish a single sample of any of the beers.  Each sample seemed to be very light bodied for each style and had a unpleasant taste that was consistent through each beer, though I'm unsure what it was about.  It seemed like a nice place: we were served quickly by nice bartenders and local patrons were attempting to be helpful in between sips of their drafts.  But, the beer was just not very good. This place seems to be very overrated, and, for us, not worth the effort of walking down the street a few more blocks.

In posting this review (11/29/12), I took a look at the BA rating again.  While the overall rating seems to be down, the most recent review is unusually enthusiastic with phrases like "highest recommendation" and "one of the best brewpubs anywhere" that seems out of sync with my experience.  My sampling was short and disappointing, so I didn't bother to explore the food or further into their beer; maybe there's a silver lining to this brewpub that I was unable to find.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Montreal, QC)


Not going to be much of a surprise for this review--Dieu du Ciel! is possibly one of the best brewpubs I've ever visited. Food, service, atmosphere and beer are all excellent. 

While normally I order samples at a brewpub stop, I couldn't help myself and ordered drafts. Seventeen beers on tap plus a couple of casks.  Histoire Dun Soir #2 was a fantastic Imperial Brown Porter (according the board). Not sure what it was exactly, but I really enjoyed the beer. My wife's favorite was Rosee de Hibiscus, a Belgian wit with hibiscus flowers that was a beautiful bright rose colored ale that smelled of flowers and spice. So inspiring, I brewed a version of it at home, though mine was paled in comparison.  I unfortunately didn't try the Peche Mortal or any casks, and we didn't get back before flying out. 

Dinner was also very good, and, as vegetarians, that's not always the case in a brewpub. Nachos were simple but with an exceptional white cheese on top.  After eating local cheese and bread on the trip through Gaspe for a week, it tasted similar to the local cheeses we'd been sampling.  Our sandwich was simple but very good with chips and pretzels on the side. I would go here eat regardless of the beer. 

Dieu du Ciel! means "God in Heaven" or similar as an exclamation.  For me, it's simply a number one priority for any visit to Montreal because it is truly Oh My God good.