FOOD AND DRINK
Les Beers: Where to Get Great Brews in Montreal
Where to get hip to hops in Montreal.
In most of Eastern Canada, people don’t make plans to “meet for a cocktail.” Instead, they “go out for beers.” Montréal has been Canada’s undisputed king of micro-brews, craft beer and brewpubs since long before the rest of the country got hip to hops. Try these bars to sample the rich tradition and find out why La Belle Province still dominates craft beer in Canada.
Broue Pub Brouhaha
Admittedly a little out of the way of downtown, Rosemont/La Petite Patrie’s unassuming Brouhaha is packed with locals who love the rotating selection of artisanal beers – seasonal house brews, alternatives from other renowned breweries, and a fantastic selection of esoteric European beers (largely Belgian) by the bottle. Unlikely to win any awards for chi chi design, this understated tavern is outfitted with plain wooden furniture, but livened up by a crowd loosened up with lager and hungry for poutiflette, a French Alps take on poutine that adds bacon, caramelized leeks, creamy gravy, and French cheese to the bar staple, winning the poutine war once and for all.
5860 Avenue de Lorimier, 514-271-7571
Dieu du Ciel
Space is at a premium at Dieu du Ciel but, since this brewpub is the Montréal hub for the highly-coveted offerings of Quebec’s most highly-acclaimed brewery, it falls into the “mandatory stop” category on a beer lover’s tour. So get there early and get over it – something that will be super-easy once you settle into one of their award-winning Péché Mortel (Mortal Sin) stout or Route des Épices, a spicy peppercorn-rye elixir. Also sample one of one of the many experimental batches that founder Stéphane Ostiguy is constantly playing around with, most of which are only on offer in the brewpub. Food ain’t the focus, but Dieu du Ciel still delivers on that front, with quite good bar snacks like pizza and nachos designed to soak up the suds.
29 Avenue Laurier Ouest, 514-490-9555
Right downtown, Brutopia has been beer central for nearly two decades. Not content to rest on its laurels, this exceedingly friendly, multi-level bar has live entertainment and tapas in addition to its great selection of fresh brews. The unpretentious bar offers both a staple list including an IPA, raspberry blonde, honey beer, and nut brown ale plus a seasonal menu boasting smoked porter, cherry wheat, maple cream, and other novel one-offs. Inspiration for each batch comes from the terroir of Quebec, since the environmentally-conscious owners source the malt, grain, and as many other ingredients as possible from local farms.
1219 Rue Crescent, 514-393-9277
Le Cheval Blanc
You might say it all started at Le Cheval Blanc, Montréal ’s first brewpub, established back in 1986 by Jérôme Catelli-Denys, who inherited his grandfather’s war-era tavern and wanted to do something different with it. Nearly 30 years later, these visionaries continue to innovate with experimental beers and ways to keep improving the pub. Several renovations have made the space much bigger and, in addition, the vibrant and lively tavern is often used as a gallery, meeting space for arts and cultural activities, and, of course, a live music venue. And, thanks to the owner’s commitment to keeping it real, it’s an anomaly – a great bar with artisanal beer at affordable prices.
809 Ontario Rue E, 514-522-0211
Les Soeurs Grises
Housed in an old nunnery down in the Old Port, Les Soeurs Grises is a bright, sleek, and surprisingly modern bar with some interesting rotating choices, including on-premise brews and other local picks. If this all sounds a little blasphemous, consider that the widowed founder of the nunnery was said to have had a considerable cellar in her day – left over from her late husband’s liquor business – to which the sisters may or may not have availed themselves. These days, it’s an excellent bar, suitable for refuelling after a day at Clock Beach or the Science Centre, especially since they smoke their own meats and have a pretty brilliant house-made charcuterie selection.
32 Rue McGill, 514-788-7635