I know, I know... that's no surprise. Neither is it a first for me. I've been to a few brew pubs in my home city, including a couple of visits to my favourite Quebec brewery, McAuslan.
But my second-favourite brewery also has a location in Montreal. It's location has typically been a bit too far of the downtown core or the old port, where I usually hang out, but because DW and I had taken the kids to a cat café for coffee, tea, and a light snack, and weren't that far away, we made one final stop before heading back home.
Located in Montreal's Mile End neighbourhood (home of the famous St-Viateur Bagel Shop), this small, satellite brewery to Dieu du Ciel!'s main St.Jérôme site is cosy and has the feel as though it's been a part of the city for decades, with its simple decor, worn wooden floors in an old building. There is capacity for brewing on site, but not enough for the long list of suds that they have listed on their various blackboards.
Being the day before St.Paddy's Day, DW ordered a rich, super-creamy cream ale, Gaélique. She offered me a sip and my taste buds melded with the warm malts. It was heavenly. I, on the other hand, decided to go dark, and enjoyed their Résurrection Porter. The chocolatey, coffee tones were a perfect blend.
The kids had cola and ginger ale, and munched on a mini pizza. DD17 said the pizza was "okay, but there was something weird to it." But when I asked her if she'd eat it again, she said, "I probably would."
I was surprised to learn that while you could order a wide range of ales, lagers, and stouts, you couldn't bring any of them home. This brew pub has no space to stock bottles, and so you have to leave empty-handed.
Well, not completely empty-handed. My server gave me the business card for a dépanneur that was around the corner, on St.Laurent Boulevard, and they carried plenty of Dieu du Ciel! four-packs.
Unfortunately, we found neither the cream ale nor the stout at this shop, but I did come away with an Imperial stout and a pale ale, which brings us to my review.
Ultra Mosaika Ultra Pale Ale (5.4% ABV)Appearance: it was the packaging that caught my eye in the dépanneur—a superhero wearing a red body suit over green tights that were laced with a hop design, cape waving in the breeze, a searchlight like the Bat signal, only, instead of a winged creature, a giant hop. He's on a building, overlooking the city. I was excited that this would be one hoppy pale ale.
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Pouring it in my glass, I discovered an unfiltered, golden yellow ale that almost glows. Its foamy, white head pours thick and slowly settles to a solid, dense cap. The head clings to the inside of the glass as the beer goes down.
Nose: strong aromas of pine resin and pineapple. The Mosaic hops really come through, warning you that this is one bitter, ultra-pale ale. The fruit is sweet and lush.
Palate: a grassy herbaceous mouth feel gives way to a bitter pine (the bottle says spruce). It's full-bodied and clings to the tongue in a long, full finish. Though this ale comes across as a full-bodied one (it reminds me of a session IPA), it's fresh and not filling.
Overall impression: this pale ale is a real superhero. Strong, but unassuming. Willing to do what's right—please my senses but not overpower them. And it conquers my thirst without a high alcohol content.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Ultra Mosaika is available at Broue HA HA, in Gatineau, as well as other dépanneurs and grocery stores in that city. After picking it up at Dépanneur AS, in Montreal, I saw it in IGA extra Famille Plante, on St.Joseph Blvd, at Chemin Freeman (where I can also find the best store-made egg salad sandwiches).