Barley Sandwich: Reviews From A Beer Snob Vol 5.

Some of my favourite Canadian Craft Brewers come from the province of Quebec. The collective brewing knowhow of Le Belle Province is astounding and it is enough to prompt a beer lover to make a trip to Montreal to revel in the city’s beer loving atmosphere*. There is a great brewery out of Montreal that takes that culture of brewing and is extending it Canada wide. McAuslan Brewing’s St. Ambroise line of beers are fantastic, readily available and well priced. Here are reviews of the three you will most likely find in Ontario.

St. Ambroise Pale Ale: This is the flagship of the St. Ambroise line and it doesn’t disappoint. The Pale Ale is a straight forward beer that over delivers on quality. With a nose of fresh baked bread and floral hops this beer drinks really easily but without removing the flavour in the Canadian “ale” kind of way. A nice bitterness lingers but the beer has a great backbone of apples cereal grain and fresh bread.

St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale: Fruit beers get a bad rep usually because they suck, but the Apricot Wheat Ale from St. Ambroise is a summertime favourite of mine. This beer is not sweet but it has a subtle aroma and flavour of apricot that lifts a unspectacular wheat ale to a different level. This beer is highly refreshing, on a hot day.

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout: Now this is the real stunner. This stout is jet black, so much so that even the head pours brown. The nose is of bittersweet chocolate, espresso and liquorish and the palate is much lighter than you would expect it to because of a light but active carbonation. The flavours are of espresso, anise, fennel, cocao and fresh bread play on the palate and go on for minutes after.**

*Not to mention the food, architecture and the post modern dance for pay.

** In the word’s of my friend Peter Vesuwalla,  “Rich, thick and black as coal. The kind of stout with enough complex chocolaty flavours to make you feel sophisticated, and a bitter enough coffee aftertaste to reassure you you could win a fight with anyone else in the bar. Goes great with Hemmingway novels.”