29 Jun 2009 @ 12:56 PM 

Overall, the trip I took this past week wasn’t specifically meant to be a beer trip. There were weddings, there were parents and grandparents, there was work, and meetings, and an academic conference. There were lots of things that you, the casual internet reader, needn’t be bored with.

The last time I went to Quebec City, I was 10 or 11 years old. I only have two solid memories of the experience:

1. They had a 2-story McDonalds.
2. They had a zoo.

This trip was decidedly different. It was primarily a sober trip, for reasons that I won’t get into. In short, we spent a lot of time near the excellent Centre de recherche du CHUL – the Children’s Hospital.

Still, as it turns out, there was beer.
Avec limes
Our hotel turned out to have a pleasing selection of beer on their menu. They had, in bottles, Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde and Blanche de Chambly, as well as a wide selection of Canada’s finest light lager offerings: Labatt’s, Moosehead, Molson, et al. On draft, they had offerings from a local microbrewery Microbrasserie Archibald (beermapping). I was able to sample La Chipie (an APA listed as a “rousse”), La Matante (a blonde), La Bris du Lac (a Helles Pilsner), and La Joufflue (a wit, listed as a “blanche”). I found the Bris du Lac and the La Matante to be rather unremarkable, pale lagers. They were well-made, but I’m not a blonde lager kind of guy, usually. I wouldn’t order them again if the other offerings were available. La Chipie was really interesting. I’m not sure I would have called it an APA before seeing it listed that way on the website. It had a nice hop aroma, a good hop bite at the end, and a big round malty sweetness to it, but “rousse,” meaning (I think) “redhead” made me think “red ale” which stuck my mind on an Irish Track that the maltiness, and especially the color, fit quite well. La Joufflue was good – crisp and cloudy, heavy on the wheat, and lightly fruity. What really struck me is that they all had a very similar flavor that I was having a hard time placing. I chalk it up to them either using the same hops across all their beers, the same yeast, or a flavor profile in the water.

We also had a little time to walk around the old part of the city, which is beautiful. It’s worth the trip up to QC just to take a walk on the old city wall. It’s just gorgeous.

On our way down, we stopped for lunch at L’Inox Maîtres Brasseurs (beermapping). It’s a beautiful little location in a strip of restaurants with outdoor seating. From what we could tell, they offered two things for food: hot dogs and nachos. We got hot dogs. As it turns out, it’s not really fair to call them hot dogs. What we we received were thin Alsace-style sausages inside baguettes with dijon mustard. They were fantastic. We didn’t get a chance to try more than one beer, since the waitress brought us a pitcher of their blanche (with lots of limes). We had more stops that we wanted to make, so didn’t want to get TOO tipsy. I am happy to report, however, that the blanche avec la citron vert was perfect on a sunny afternoon. Refreshing and clean, light fruit hints, no banana or clove to speak of. One of the things that I noticed here, sitting next to us in the shade, were two elderly women – obviously locals – just chatting it up over a couple of pints of ESB. It was a really great picture, and great to see.
Mmm.. Faro
Our next (and, sadly, final) beer stop in QC was done off of a tip via Twitter from @OldQuebec who clearly has some good search term filtering going on. We stopped by Pub Saint-Alexandre (not yet in beermapping, but submitted), a beer bar down in the old port. They had 200 beers on the menu, none of them American. The list of countries was impressive, but to be fair, outside of the usual suspects (England, Belgium, Canada, Germany), the contributions from other countries were largely their version of mass market light lager: Tsing Tao (China), Cruzcampo (Spain), Mythos (Greek), Moretti (Italy), Asahi and Sapporo (Japan), Corona (Mexico), Steinlager (New Zealand), Sagres (Portugal), Swiss Mountain (Switzerland), Carib (Trinidad). On the other hand, it was also the first place I have ever been able to order a bottle of Faro, and I enjoyed every sip of it. It’s well worth checking out – you can see their beer list on their website.

One thing worth noting about both of the beer places that I went to was that it was ‘pay as you go,’ with no option to open a tab (as far as we could tell), which is fine if you’re prepared with cash. We knew our stay was short, so we were on plastic and it meant running the credit card after every beer, which was a little transaction-intensive over the whole day. Be ready.

More later in the week, as we return to the States. [continued here]

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