New England Report 10:2008-07-21 (Short trip to Montreal)

After Burlington it was time to head north and our very short and limited beer trip to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

We had first a short stop and a local beer shop outside Burlington and extended the beer storage. Concentrated on Vermont beers so we only managed to get a couple beers from our new favorite brewery of Rock Art (link to the brewery). Rock art is new for us, but turned out to be a brewery that just turned 10 years this year. They do a couple of great beers inluding the amazing IIPA and the funky Jasmine Pale Ale (spiced with herbs), plus the barley monster of "Vermonster".

Also saw some local beers from Sweden that had travelled all the way to Vermont. Nice to see that Oppigårds is concenquring the world now days. One of my favorite breweries in Sweden, great to see.

After the stop at the beer shop it was just to program the GPS once again and head for Montreal, Quebec.

We arrived in the city after a few hours drive and very quick stop at the Canadian border control. We managed to find our hotel outside the airport and started our beer trail in Montreal.
The first and only big stop planned was the "Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel". We first heard about this place and brewery when Oliver Twist and Jugge served their beers at the Stockholm Beer Festival last year. So we knew that they do big beers compared to most other beers in Canada. The beers they have is a big mixture of beer traditions from US and Europe with a extra touch, something like mixing belgian beers with influences from the US.

They had a impressive list of own brewed beers, I think it included at least 15 different beers all on tap including a cask version.

Sampled beers included;

81. Voyageur Des Brunes (ESB) (Cask)
82. Grand Messe Ale (rousse)
83. Corne Du Diable (American IPA)
84. Mea Culpa India Cream Ale
85. Desse Nocturne Stout
86. Aphrodisiaque Stout (Cacao Et Vanille) (American Stout)
All great beers including the amazing Aphro beer that we also sampled in Stockholm last year. A jet black stout with very strong milky chocolate aromas plus the touch of vanilla on the top. A excellent stout.

After the visit to DDC we had accomplished the best of Montreal and probably Canada so did not expect much of the next couple of places. Walking south from DDC we visited the following places.
"La'mere a boine"

87. Hefe Weizen (should not call it hefe, awful beer)
88. Odense Porter (even worse, should get 1 from me)
89. Fin De Sieghe (red ale)

Nice place, but awful beers.

"Le Saint-Bock Brasserie Artisanale"

Much better place with comfortable couches that you can spend hours in. A good mix of local Quebec beers including their own. Also influenced by American and Belgian breweries and beer styles.

90. Route Des Indes maitre brasserie IPA
91. Du Chaudron Cobra IPA
92. Barberie Bitter (Cask)
93. 3M American Pale
94. Porter a Lerable Hopfenstark

"The Keg"

Last bar we found, not part of the plan and no more comments.

This beer is from the large Molson brewery, but is quite decent for a macro beer.

That’s it for Montreal and Quebec for now.

I guess you appreciate the city a bit more if you stay longer, but right now it was mostly an unfriendly place where people do not want to speak English and try to be so much French as possible.

Compared to a US brewery or brewpub the difference is quite big, meaning if you talk about customer service, or simply being friendly and appreciating the customer being at your establishment.

I am maybe a bit harsh, but the difference is so great compared to the US so being in Quebec 24 hours you simply long for getting back to the US.

At least DDC is world class place and the beers and even the atmosphere over at Le Saint-Bock was great for sampling Quebec beers. To summarize it, the beers were great, but the city probably needed more time for showing its better sides.


magnus said...

Mattias wrote:
mostly an unfriendly place where people do not want to speak English and try to be so much French as possible

Quebeckers don't "try" to be French. French is what they are. French is their language and French is, to a large degree, their culture.

In my experience, French-Canadians are perfectly willing to communicate in English with foreign tourists, provided you don't take it for granted all the time. Instead, asking people kindly if it's OK to speak English usually makes them open up.

Mattias said...

Yes that is the normal rule I also follow. But unfortunately it did not work this time. I agree that you should follow the traditions for each country you visit.

But at the same time I expect that people also gives that back instead of thinking that if you just speak loader and loader but still in your own language you will understand what they mean.

I am used to a helping attitude instead of firstly thinking that you have to try speaking a language that you can not control and if this person already from start knows good English, why should you then first bother about good attempts or not, simply you should instead just help. This is the same thing in France, and something I do not see in other countries, and it is a pity that these things had to be exported to Canada.

I am not really so upset and quite used to it, it was just a small reflection that you really could feel the difference just by crossing the borders and how much France has influenced a country so far away.

I am more upset by some of the attitudes I have not seen before, mostly the difference between wanting to show a establishment on its best view but instead not understanding what simple customer satisfaction is.

I will probably go back to Canada in the future and give it a better chance next time, but just now you could really feel the difference in attitude between Quebec and US, and also a big difference between Vancouver and the west coast with the Quebec area.

So the language is really not the problem as in any other country, it is merely the difference between attitudes and how you present you offer as a brewery or bar in comparison with other countries, you just do not feel welcomed, and that is really a pity with all the great brews being produced.