A Quebec Sampler
La Reyne Descosse (“The Queen of Scotland”), Bedondaine et Bedons Ronds (Chambly brewpub)
A Belgian inspired Scotch ale with 8.5 ABV. It has an enticing ruby body with an eggshell-colored head and a sweet scent of chocolate-caramel, toast, berries and faint smoked peat. In the mouth, amongst the multiple layers of pure velvet, this beer has a gentle carbonation with a chewy caramel, bitter chocolate finish and well-hidden alcohol.
Grivoise (“The Saucy One”), Le Trou du Diable (Shawinigan brewpub)
At 6.7 ABV, this saucy dubbel is refreshing with a perfumy nose of cinnamon, caramel, candy, nutmeg, leather and fruits. In the mouth, this is a medium-bodied, creamy-textured beer. It has a balanced nutty caramel, dry roast body and ends with a faint mint-like hoppiness.
Marie Clarisse, Unibroue (Chambly microbrewery)
Found at the Pub Oncle Antoine (in old town Quebec City), this rarity from Unibroue is only distributed to a few restaurants and lodging establishments owned by the Dufour family in Quebec’s Charlevoix region. The name Marie Clarisse is taken from the schooner that belongs to the Dufour family. This Belgian-inspired strong ale, 6.5 ABV, has a nose of old wood, bananas, apples, wheat and sweet honey. If in Quebec, seek this out: it is simply wonderful.
Dernière Volonté (“Last Volunteer”), Dieu du Ciel! (Montreal brewpub)
A Belgian ale at 7% ABV, this dry hopped ale is a nice twist on the Belgian blonde, more herbal and spicy than most. Its taste is of medium sweet honey, herbs and light pepper with a pleasing dryness that reminds me of the dry hopped blondes of the Poperinge region of Belgium.
L’amère à Boire Černá Hora, L’amère à Boire (Montreal brewpub)
A Bohemian Pilsner at 5% ABV, this has a rocky dense head with big juicy Saaz hop notes and big bready malt notes in the nose. On the palate this beer is a perfect balance between big, smooth maltiness and lovely subtle bitterness and can make one long for a trip to the Czech Republic.