December 11, 2015
A tale of local beers!
Québec’s first microbrewery came into being in 1986 at North Hatley in the Eastern Townships region less than two hours’ drive from Montréal. Five other microbreweries followed a year later. A so a trend was born which has led to an ever expanding supply of craft beer by Québec microbrewers.
Although producer numbers have fluctuated over the past thirty years, the phenomenon has spread provincewide. Today you can find beer made with ingredients sourced from the Québec terroir just about everywhere in the province. At last count, Québec was home to more than 130 microbreweries spread out across the province. Moreover, increasing numbers of commercial establishments now offer craft beers in addition to mainstream brands produced by larger brewers.
To enrich your experience and perfect your knowledge of the local terroir, it is possible to sample craft beers on stopovers at ports of call along the Saint Lawrence. Allow yourself to be tempted with the following suggestions of places to visit on your next trip to our shores.
Located in the heart of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the Magdalen Islands on the premises of a former fish processing plant, À l'Abri de la Tempête microbrewery enjoys a seaside location of choice affording an unobstructed view of the western dunes. Constantly on the outlook for ways to anchor itself firmly in the fragile island environment, À l’Abri de la Tempête prides itself in sourcing ingredients locally when developing its different beers. For example, the malt used is smoked in a smokehouse (Le Fumoir d'Antan) formerly used to cure herring. Locally harvested flowers, seaweed, spices and fresh herbs guarantee fresh, authentic, incontestably distinctive brews.
Located in the heart of the main thoroughfare of our port of call at Baie-Comeau, St-Pancrace microbrewery owes its name to the magnificent bay of the same name. Unrivalled as a gathering place, St Pancras Bay is the ideal location to enjoy time out when in port at Baie Comeau. There you can sample one of the seven beers produced onsite, as well as a number of dishes made with ingredients sourced in the region.
With tasting facilities located at Percé, this microbrewery offers a range of distinctive, appetizing products intended to showcase Gaspesian savoir faire and the depth of flavours of the local terroir. The beers brewed at Anse-à-Beaufils, a fishing hamlet now part of the Town of Percé, proudly bear names which honour the Gaspé region. In the heart of the village at Percé, you will be smitten by the charm of the historic building, a former general store run the Robins family. Here you will enjoy an opportunity to taste-test locally crafted beers.
From the day it opened in 2002, La Voie Maltée conquered the hearts of the locals. Now with two tasting locations, one at Jonquière and the other at Saguenay, La Voie Maltée tempts beer aficionados with menus developed by a renowned chef and ripe with the promise of a gastronomic food and beer pairing experience.
Inaugurated at Lac Beauport in 2005 in rustic style, in the image of traditional hunting and fishing cabins, Archibald microbrewery quickly became one the hottest destinations in the provincial capital by reason of a combination of ambience, cuisine and locally crafted beers. A second restaurant opened its doors at Sainte-Foy in 2011. Readers will appreciate that Archibald brand beers are available at a number of restaurants and commercial establishments across Québec.
Located in the heart of Trois-Rivières, Le Temps d’une pinte microbrewery welcomes visitors warmly and invites them to sample their novel, traditional style beers which come in an eclectic range of endless flavours: Brin de Scie, a Czech-style Pilsner beer with fresh grain taste; L’Égoïne, an India Pale Ale flavoured with hops from the tropics; and, L’Enclume, a well rounded Baltic-style Porter with notes of chocolate and aniseed. All in all, quite the experience!
The offshoot of long-standing collaboration among friends, Glutenberg microbrewery has innovated with gluten-free beers. The idea originated from a quest to find an acceptable alternative for one of the owners with an intolerance to gluten. After a number of trials, Glutenberg Blonde was born! Now accompanied by several other types of beers, these products target a market of ever increasing importance.
If, on one of your stopovers, you do not have sufficient time to visit a local Québec microbrewery, do take the time to do so in Montréal with a visit to Marché des Saveurs du Québec located in close proximity to Jean-Talon Market. There you will find North America’s largest selection of products from the Québec terroir. The primary aim of the owners of Marché des Saveurs du Québec is to invite consumers to discover delicious products crafted by small producers from across the province. You will be amazed by the diversity of products on offer and will certainly want to stock up on items to take back home with you.