Monday, February 25, 2013

The Waiting Is Not The Hardest Part

Right after last week's WinterBrewed festival, I got sick. Hardly surprising, considering how much time I spent outdoors in the frigid cold.

Monday, I stayed home with a migraine and felt run down with a sore throat and cough.

On Tuesday, I went to work but that cough persisted. I didn't let it slow me down, and I even got a chance to check out a beer shop that opened last November but that I hadn't heard of until that very day. It's called Bières du Monde and is located in the Galeries d'Aylmer, which is much closer to my office than Broue Ha Ha.

And, thanks to some friends on Twitter, I learned that it stocked a beer that I tried at WinterBrewed and was now desperate to get my hands on.

The owner of the shop is friendly and chatty: so much so that it probably would have taken me about the same time to go to Broue Ha Ha and collect the same beer. Those folks are helpful but have never talked my ear off.

Less than two minutes to find the beer I sought; almost 30 minutes to leave the store.

When I mentioned to the proprietor that I have a love for oatmeal stouts, he immediately pointed one out and told me it was his favourite and that it never lasted long on his shelves.

So I picked it up.

On Wednesday, as I worked from home, I began feeling achy and developed chills. That evening, I had a fever and was in bed.

Thursday and Friday are a blur; Saturday was slow and rough.

On Sunday, I awoke feeling that I had lost about 10 pounds and was light-headed, vaguely remembering what it was like as a teen, taking my first drag off a cigarette. The cough persisted and I was tired, but was mostly tired of feeling tired.

In the afternoon, I thought, because I haven't posted a blog since Tuesday evening, I had to get back to it.

And so I pulled out that lone bottle of beer that was recommended to me.
Oatmeal Stout (5% ABV)
Microbrasserie Le Castor
Rigaud, QC
Beer O'Clock rating: 2
Colour: this is the lightest-coloured oatmeal stout I've seen. A clear but dark walnut colour with slightly red highlights, this stout reminded me of an A&W root beer, with its thick, dense, taupe foam.

Nose: coffee, toasted malts, and sharp cedar.

Palate: bitter espresso, burnt wood, smoke, with a vague hint of chocolate in the short finish.

Overall impression: I have to say I'm disappointed. As I drank this stout, the charred wood grew stronger, until that's all I could taste. Where I thought I tasted chocolate in the finish of the first few sips ended up more like the coating of a burned marshmallow. And though the alcohol level isn't high at all, I started tasting it as I fought to find something else on the tongue.

Not even halfway into my pint, I felt like I had finished smoking a dried-out cigar.

At the halfway mark, I poured the rest down the sink. I have never done that with a stout before.

I'm not saying that you should avoid this stout, but I will in the future. If you decide to try it and you like it, let me know. Maybe I can chalk my experience up to the fact that I was recovering from a flu bug and that perhaps this was not the beer to pick when returning to tasting.

But when I look at this beer I tell myself that I could have waited more than five days to have it.

And as for Bières du Monde? I'll definitely return. The selection is incredible. I'll just have to refrain from making conversation if I'm in a rush.

And I'm picking my own damned beer.

UPDATE: Since I first posted this review, I have heard feedback from many who have said that they have not detected the charred wood; instead, they have tasted intense chocolate. I'm starting to wonder if I had a bottle that was flawed (though I didn't detect any faults with the beer itself).

I'm persuaded to pick up a second bottle (I usually do but for some reason did not this time) some time later this week. I'll give it a second tasting and will let you know how the stout fares.

I do this because of my love for stout: I have yet to try one that I truly dislike (though there was that one raspberry stout in Buffalo last year... ).



  1. Hi Ross,

    I personally wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your feedback and review. My apologies for chatting too much, my beer passion sometimes gets a hold of me. As for the oatmeal stout, I am sorry you were disappointed and would be happy to give you a complimentary bottle to give it a second chance. Feel free to contact me at the store anytime 819-682-1245 if you have any questions and I promise not to chat your head off. Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Kind regards,

    Biéres Du Monde

    1. Ryan: thank you for your feedback. After reading your comments, I re-read my post and realized that I sound negative towards your chat. I want to apologize for that. While it's true that I spent more time in your store than I had planned, I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you. Your passion for the craft beer industry is admirable and I want you to know that I support your enthusiasm.

      It's shops like yours that keep the craft brewers in business and I'll support you every chance I get.

      I will definitely return to pick up another bottle of Castor stout and look forward to being a patron for years to come.

      Respectfully, Ross.