Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to travel to Montréal, a city I had been to many times before, but I had never truly “seen” until I poked around pedestrian-only streets, walked along docks, sat by the water fountains, biked home from a bar, laid on the grass or ran through the sprinklers in the parks. I found myself pleasantly surprised by the peaceful atmosphere of the city despite the mosaic of different cultures within. Transportation options were plentiful, and the streets felt safe, so I could leave my car parallel parked somewhere without worrying about getting from one part of the city to another. Quick and easy bike rentals (“Bixie”), a subway system, busses, Uber, and good old fashioned walking were utilized during this trip, making brewery hopping a cinch. I found myself wishing I had planned a longer stay.
On the way to Montréal, my friend and I stopped at The Alchemist Brewery in Stowe, VT. The Alchemist Brewery is known for their IPAs, perhaps most notably for the Heady Topper, currently #4 on Beer Advocate and one my dad mentions in every other sentence when talking about beer. That day, they had three beers available to sample: Heady Topper, Focal Banger, and Crusher. All were IPAs, with Heady Topper being the most bitter and also my least favorite of the three. The other two seemed to have more flavor. The Focal Banger had a lemony taste, and the Crusher was smoother with a grapefruit taste. I rated Heady Topper a 3 out of 5, and the Focal Banger and the Crusher each a 3.75. The unique-looking facility is located in a beautiful and very green setting. I would definitely recommend a visit to any IPA enthusiasts.
After making it to Montréal, we picked up the necessary provisions: Ketchup chips and beer. I picked out this interesting sounding beer: Gose IPA Du Barachois from Microbrasserie Pit Caribou. This unique beer combines the salty-sourness of a gose with the bitter taste of an IPA. This was my favorite beer of the trip and I rated it a 4.25. As a bonus, it also paired well with the salty-sour taste of the ketchup chips!
Randomly walking around, we came across a small microbrewery called Le Dispensaire de Biere which had three beers available to sample: Petit Banc, Luth, and Gawabunga IPA. My favorite of these three was the Gawabunga, which was hoppy, citrusy, and not too bitter. I gave it a 4.0, making it my second favorite beer from the trip.
On researching breweries in Montréal, one that came up as a recommendation was Brasserie Dieu-du-Ciel. We stopped in on a busy Saturday evening and ordered a vegetarian plate and (duh) some beers. I had the Derniere Volonte Brett, which was a hoppy Belgian, and the Saison, which was light and hoppy. I rated them 3.75 and 3.25, respectively. There were many other options for beers here, and it appeared that their selection changes, so I would definitely go back here if I had the chance.
The next stop, Alexandraplatz, was a hip(ster?) bar inside a garage. I ordered the Gose, which was light, and only slightly sour and salty. I rated it a 3.25. While in the bar, I spotted this man wearing a Hanson shirt, and my friend bravely went over to ask him if I could take his picture (he said yes!). We also learned that he was not wearing the shirt ironically, and he was indeed a fan.
While I was lured into this trip with the prospect of sampling some Montréal brews, the city offered so much in the way of culture, sightseeing, food, recreation, and more. I would highly recommend a trip up – it is only about 4.5 hours from the Freecoast!