I was fortunate enough to meet the sweetest girl in all of Quebec, right here in Buffalo. The French-Canadian cousin of one of my favorite Buffalonians, she lives right in the heart Montreal and she invited me to come visit! I’d never been to Montreal before, so I was more than pleased to receive the invitation and even more excited to make the trip.
When I requested a Friday off for traveling and told Dave where I was planning to go, he was ready with some great beer suggestions. Unibroue (one of Canada’s best specialty breweries) was at the top of his list. I purchased some from a corner market shortly after our arrival and to be honest, I had a hard time making my Unibroue decision. There were so many to choose from! I ended up settling on Don De Dieu, a 9% ABV triple wheat ale that’s re-fermented in the bottle. From what I remember, this gift featured a complex flavor that’s a little bit fruity, malty, nutty and yeasty, all at the same time. The name translates to “Gift from God” (according to my gracious, French-speaking hostess) and considering I was feeling pretty damn good after just one, I won’t disagree. The next time I visit Montreal, I’m definitely going to go right to the source and visiting the brewery to check out all of the Unibroue selections.
With so much to see and do, two days just wasn’t enough! Thanks to our expert tour guide, we were able to do a lot with the short amount of time that we had. The incredibly quaint and very European Old Montreal district was my favorite. Full of cobblestone streets, historic 17th and 18th century architecture and a café culture, the bustling neighborhood sits right on the St. Lawrence River and really captures the flair and sophistication of the city. Another highlight was the unbelievable view of the entire metropolitan area that we experienced at the top of Mount Royal. After an entire Saturday of sightseeing, we were ready for more beer.
We traveled to Les 3 Brasseurs, a unique microbrewery and restaurant with 28 locations in France and a handful in Canada. Their menu intrigued me, especially the “beer cocktails” section. I myself ordered a blonde beer (everyone knows blondes have more fun!) Refreshing and aromatic, it went down easy but it certainly possessed a bit of bite that I wasn’t expecting. My weary traveling companion, Amanda, was feeling a little more adventurous and tried a “Tango,” the same blonde beer mixed with grenadine. I stole a sip or two and as a huge cherry fan, I was pleasantly surprised.
The brewery operates right before your eyes. The boiling, fermentation and holding tanks are placed throughout the restaurant and mixed with European décor, sacks of barley stacked shoulder-high for a really cool experience. They even have breathalyzers next to the bathrooms! How convenient.
Our evening out continued at a karaoke joint with an irresistible Corona special, so I won’t bore you with those details but all in all, my first trip to Montreal was nothing short of incredible. Great culture, wonderful friends and awesome beer made it a weekend to remember and I can’t wait to go back!
[techtags:MONTREAL, UNIBROUE, MONTREAL BREWERIES, LES 3 BRASSEURS, CANADIAN BEER]