Les bières de Montréal et de Chambly
As previously posted, we recently visited Montréal. Naturally, we checked out some of the beer scene. There’s an active craft brew scene in Quebec, notably in and around Montréal. I wouldn’t say it’s enough to plan an entire trip around, but there are plenty of options if you’re a beer aficionado who happens to be taking a trip.
The first really beer related thing we did was rent a car and drive to Chambly. Of course, Chambly is the home of Unibroue, so this was a natural destination for us. We went to Bedondaine et Bedons Ronds and Fourquet Fourchette (which is the restaurant associated with Unibroue).
Bedondaine et Bedons Ronds is a small brew-pub, (which did not seem like much of a tourist attraction – we were the only non-locals there when we went) that bills itself as a Musée de la Bière (Beer Museum). The walls are lined with display cases filled with beer bottles from around the world, the ceiling is covered with old serving trays featuring different beers and breweries, and there are other beer-related paraphernalia around the bar. (There was a space next door to the bar that presumably held more of the “museum”, but we didn’t end up going in there.)
The beer there was very good, and it should definitely be on your list of places to go if you’re visiting the area.
From there we headed to Fourquet Fourchette for lunch. It’s a lovely building with a great view of the Chambly Basin from the terrace (which is where we sat). The concept, according to the website, claims to be a “marriage between gastronomy and a love of beer”. We were, however, slightly disappointed in the food. Maybe it was because we were there for lunch, but the menu was very limited and the food was just so-so. (I didn’t realize until after our trip that there’s second location in Montréal – maybe the food is better at that location.)
The beer, naturally, being entirely Unibroue selections was very good. My only complaint, as far as the beer goes, is that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t get at any decent liquor store in Chicago. I was hoping they’d have selections that were only available there, but that was not the case.
In Montréal we went to Benelux and Dieu du Ciel! Both were worthwhile stops, but Dieu du Ciel! was our favorite beer stop during the trip.
The beers at Benelux were good, but nothing out of the ordinary. We didn’t eat there, but the menu seemed very limited.
We went to Dieu du Ciel! on our last day. I’m actually glad we didn’t go there sooner, as we might have just kept going back there and not checked out anything else. There beers are excellent, with a good variety and some not-very-oridinary selections.
We did have lunch there, but again, the menu was nothing to get excited about – limited selection, and good, but not great, food. This seemed to be the standard for all of the beer bars and brewpubs there. The focus is strictly on the beer, with the food menu being an after-thought. At least, coming from Chicago with places where the food is exceptional, and just as important as the beer – like Goose Island, Revolution, Owen & Engine, etc. – it seemed that way to us.
There were a few places on our list we didn’t get to. Le Cheval Banc was closed when we went (I didn’t notice on their site that they’re only open in the evenings, not during the day), and we just didn’t make it to Vices & Versa. However, that gives us more to explore next time we go.