Monday, September 9, 2013

Tis the Season for a Saison and an IPA

Ryan, of Bières du Monde, is one smart man. One may say, a marketing genious.

He already knows that I love his beer shop, in the Galeries d'Aylmer, and am happy to recommend it as a place to find some amazing Québec microbreweries. It's a little bit out of my way when driving home from work, but the detour is always well worth the added time.

To entice his clients, Ryan has set up a Facebook page, on which he advertises the latest beers to fill his shelves. He also offers discounts on various bottles, and specials, such as free beer glasses with purchases.

I go for the beer, but I'll always find room for a new glass.

When Ryan contacted me the other week and asked me if I'd like to review a couple of beers that he had in stock, I jumped at the offer. But then I wondered, for someone who doesn't make this beer, why would a review of it be beneficial to him? And reviewing a beer, I made no promises that I would give a good review if I didn't like the beer.

I'm dreadfully honest when I review a beer, and if I don't like it, I'm not afraid to admit it, or even show me pouring it down the drain.

Sure, a good review of a beer would get folks visiting Bières du Monde and emptying the shelves of those beers, but no matter what the outcome of my tastings, I was still going to give Ryan free advertising for his shop.

So here it is: for a great selection of Québec craft beer, Bières du Monde is the place to go. If you don't check out the extensive variety, you're missing out. And both Ryan and André are great guys.

Luckily, when I tried the beer that Ryan offered, I liked them both. And so, for my first post on the return of my Beer O'Clock blog, I'd like to share my thoughts on two ales that are available at Bières du Monde.
La Saison du Tracteur Farmer's Strong Ale (6% ABV)
Le Trou du Diable
Shawinigan QC
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Appearance: an unfiltered, deep gold with hints of orange; a thick, foamy white head that leaves a moustache and never goes away.

Nose: luscious pineapple and yeast.

Palate: a creamy citrus and bitter mango, with a malt finish. As I drank, the taste of alcohol becomes stronger.

Overall impression: as a caution, there is lots of sediment in the bottle that made its way in my glass and danced with the bubbles. If you don't like drinking sediment, either pour slowly and stop before you get to the bottom of the bottle or sip slowly from your glass and don't finish the last mouthful or two.

This is a very pleasant ale with lots of flavour and a great blend of bitterness and malt. I would have liked to taste less alcohol, which grew more dominant in the finish as I emptied my glass.

With summer coming to a close, this is a beer with which I would take advantage of the waning patio season.

The other ale that Ryan invited me to try was an IPA that I've been meaning to try all summer, but never took the opportunity to pick up. For this opportunity, I say thank you, Ryan!
Yakima IPA (6.5% ABV)
Microbrasserie Le Castor
Rigaud QC
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Appearance: an unfiltered, pale amber with a foamy white head.

Nose: big hops, bold grapefruit.

Palate: intense, but not overpowering hops; bitter grapefruit that takes you to a lengthy finish.

Overall impression: I was first introduced to Le Castor earlier this year, with an oatmeal stout that received less than a stellar review. It was Ryan who suggested that the bottle I tried was off, and he replaced the beer. He was right, and I redeemed the oatmeal stout in a second review.

This offering from Le Castor is a classic IPA, something that you can drink anytime, anywhere.

While you can find beer by Trou du Diable at the LCBO, the saison is not the one you can get. And there are no beers by Le Castor on the LCBO site. If you want to try these ales, and I recommend that you do, go to Bières du Monde.

And tell them I sent you.


And now, a word about Beer O'Clock:

I have decided that I will only review beer that is available in the greater Ottawa area and Gatineau, or is listed through the LCBO. One of the things that I didn't like about the blog is that I would write a review on beer that wasn't available to the majority of my readers (or, at least, the ones who encouraged me to revive the blog).

If I find I'm cutting out readers who live outside the National Capital Region, I'll broaden my range accordingly. Your comments are always welcome.

I hope you enjoy the beer.

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