Monday, May 21, 2012

Long-Weekend Brew Review

It's the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada, the weekend where many Canadians tend their gardens and prepare for the summer. But because this long weekend brought more summer-like temperatures, the family and I packed up and headed into the Gatineau Hills to visit family and relax.

But that didn't mean I was going to slack off entirely and skip out of a beer review.

On the contrary. Being on the Québec side, I thought I would explore a local brewery to Gatineau. I popped into a corner store—a dépanneur—that was close to where I work, where I knew they stocked some 750-ml bottles of a local beer. I finally settled on the following beer:
La Corne et la Muse Scotch Ale
Gatineau, Québec
$12.99, 750 ml (plus deposit); 9% alc/vol
I know what you're thinking: a French-Canadian brewery producing a Scotch Ale? Well I say, why the Hell not? Les Brasseurs du Temps, or BDT, is a brew pub that is located in the old brewery district of Hull (a city directly across the Ottawa River from Ottawa, which has since been amalgamated with other towns in the Outaouais region and is now called the City of Gatineau). The brew pub lies on the river that cuts through the old part of the city that is known as l'Isle de Hull. It's an old stone building that may have been a mill or an actual brewery around the turn of the last century. I first visited the brew pub more than a year ago: they make a nice lunch, and their selection of a wide variety of beer, from a summer wheat ale to hearty, full-bodied stouts, washed down those lunches quite nicely.

This weekend marks the first time that I've actually purchased a bottle of BDT ale. It won't be my last.

Pouring La Corne et la Muse into my mug, I saw a rich caramel with a definite red hue. This is an unfiltered ale, so the murkiness of it gives it a warm glow when you hold it up to the sun (I enjoyed the first bottle on a cottage deck, overlooking a lake. The head is a deep beige foam that holds itself for much of the first half of its journey down the mug.

On the nose, I caught burnt toffee and toasted marshmallow. Even before tasting it, I suspected I was in for a bit of sweetness to this Scotch Ale. And I wasn't disappointed. In the mouth, I tasted rich, sweet toffee with a smokiness that blended with the alcohol and lingered in the finish. Though the alcohol content is high, at nine percent, it is not overpowering.

This was a delicious ale, though I don't know that it was the best choice for a hot day on the lake. The sweetness and headiness was more suited to cooler weather. This ale would make an excellent winter beer.

Though BDT is only available in Québec, I suggest you make the trip and give it a try. Visit the brew pub and see what else it has on offer.

Or grab a bottle at a dép and head up to cottage country. Summer's around the corner, after all. Cheers!

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