Wednesday night saw a gathering of beer enthusiasts in Paris to taste artisanal beers from Quebec and Ontario. The Canadian brewers were in the city on their way to Strasbourg for the Mondial de la Bière exposition, scheduled to open this weekend.
While the husband-and-wife team from Emperor Norton of Paris moved through the crowd to serve Poutine Chips (old fashioned chips with gravy and cheese powders), Blueberry Pepper Chicken (grilled chicken breast or hearts, served with wild blueberry sauce and “Penja” black pepper), Pea Soup (split pea soup with crème fraîche and a drop of mint olive oil), Nanaimo Balls (little balls of “Nanaïmo” – the famous Canadian dessert – with cookies, coconuts, custard cream, and chocolate flavored with stout ale), and Maple Bacon Popcorn (popcorn glazed with maple syrup and bacon bits), enthusiasts went from booth to booth to taste craft beers.
I tried Aphrodisiaque, a beer brewed with cocoa and vanilla beans by Dieu du Ciel in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec. It is a dark beer with the sweet fragrance and mild taste of cocoa. I enjoyed this one.
Sticking to the cocoa theme, I moved on to La Noire Soeur, a stout brewed by Le Grimoire in Granby, Quebec. This one disappointed me. It had a thin mouth-feel and a sour taste. The foamy head disappeared rather quickly. The company’s Web site does not list the ingredients, but I believe that the bartender told me that cocoa is one of them.
Then I tried Vache Folle Milk Stout, brewed by Charlevoix in Charlevoix, Quebec. I was intrigued by the idea that the beer is sweetened with lactose. I found it to be spicy with a slight chocolate taste.
I summoned up my courage and tried Corps Morts (translation: Dead Bodies), brewed by A l’Abri de la Tempête in L’Etang-du-Nord, Quebec. With 11% alcohol, it is quite strong for beer. Called a “barley wine,” it tasted sweet, with a sharp aftertaste and a strong odor of malt.
I then tried the Lug Tread Lagered Ale, the award-winning, flagship beer of Beau’s in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Lug Tread is top fermented (like ale) and then cold aged (like lager) for a lengthy period. The notes on the information sheet indicate that it is a Pilsner with roasted wheat. I found its taste to be sharp and bitter—not as mild as I would have expected a wheat beer to be.
Finally, I tasted a Demory-Paris Roquette Blanche, a beer with a Parisian name that is brewed in Germany. It is not clear to me whether this beer qualifies as artisanal, but I found its flavor balanced and refreshing.
Kudos to Elisabeth for her initiative in bringing all of these brewers together for a night of beer tasting in Paris!
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