A Poor Man’s Mondial

A quick glance around the blogosphere and on Twitter reveals that most of Toronto’s beer community have made the trip to Montreal for the Mondial de la Biere beer festival or will be in the next couple of days. If you’re like me and are unable to go (and if you’re reading this in the next two days, you probable are), then you have my sympathies. Luckily I was in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago and grabbed some beers in Gatineau, giving me a poor man’s version of Mondial. In typical fashion, it was impossible to wait until the actual festival weekend to try them, so here’s a quick round-up of beers currently available in Quebec. If you’re in Montreal right now, keep this in mind when at the festival or doing beer shopping.

Le Grimoire La Malt Aimée (Ratebeer): Really nice aroma of mango and tropical fruits, giving way to pine and resin. Cloudy peach colour with a large white head, but no lacings. Sweet caramel and biscuit flavours upfront, leading to a big alcoholic finish (7%). Musty old hop taste – either not fresh when used or the beer has become oxidized since. Thin body and weak finish, which amounts to a bland, plain IPA.

À l’Abri de la Tempête La Belle Saison (Ratebeer): Fans of the Mill Street Lemon Tea would enjoy this similar offering. The main flavours and lemon and wild herbs, giving a distinct tea impression. The taste is also very faint, which contributes to the effect. A decent beer, but not one to seek out.

La Voie Maltée Graincheuse (Ratebeer): Saisons are one style that really need more representation in Ontario (fingers crossed it will become the new wheat beer), especially if they are as tasty as the Graincheuse. Loads of citrus and tropical fruit (orange, peach, pear) and spices (coriander, vanilla, grains of paradise). All with a solid backing of Belgian yeast that creates a complex beer that can be enjoyed a little too easily at 8%. Can someone at Mondial bring me back a couple of bottles? It would be most appreciated.

Dieu du Ciel déCIBeL (Ratebeer): Turning down a bottle of a new beer from Dieu du Ciel is damn near impossible. This one seems to be influenced by their recent attempts at smoked beers, giving off a nose of oak and smoked (and a little oxidization). Orange zest, wood smoke and brown sugar on the tongue, followed by a little bitterness but not nearly enough to balance the sugars. Interesting at first, but a little disjointed. Not the best offering from Dieu du Ciel.

À l’Abri de la Tempête Corps Mort (Ratebeer): Disappointingly little head for a barley wine and it quickly dissipates. Smell is heavy of ham and peat – definitely not a typical barley wine. Quite the complex beer: oak, salty ham, toffee, brown sugar, peat and a nice warmth of alcohol as it warms.

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