Beer Expedition in Mauricie

Two fellows and myself took a day out of town for an expedition in Mauricie.  350 km to taste what four breweries had to offer to our critical throats.  You like beer, or you don’t.

1st station:  Gambrinus, brasserie artisanale & bouffe sympa.  Trois-Rivières
This place is a restaurant which includes a cool brewpub.  Located near the University, it is strategic and also a good way to educate students to drink better beers.  But for now, I will say that I just don’t know… These are good beers, but I’ve just haven’t found any that would impress me.  The fact is that they changed their brewer recently, so what he is doing now is good, but just doesn’t reveal his potential.  We will have to come back when recipes will be set up, or even changed.  My preferred beer was the amber ale called Galarneau.

2nd station:  À la fût, brasseur de goût. St-Tite
Thanks to Francis the brewer.  We’ve been welcomed even if the pub was closed.  Eight homebrews were on the pumps.  Some seasonal beers are added in rotation during the year.  We had the honour to try his brand-new Belgian IPA @ 7,2% called une bière, deux goûts.  It is a sure shot!  His pale ale is refreshing and well balanced.  This brewery has only two years old and we will have to add it to our annual beer trips.

I’ve already mentioned it in an earlier post, but (just to remind) the population of Saint-Tite is close to 4000 peoples.  Every year, this little town hosts a Western Festival, one of the biggest in North America.  During nine days, over 700 000 people attempt to St-Tite.  Can you just figure what party it can be!  People are ridding their horses in the streets and motor homes are parked everywhere as far as 2 km from the village to attempt to the rodeo competitions.  How much beer they can sell during this period?  I didn’t ask, but I can assure you that if you want to be a volunteer at the brewery for this week, it will be a lifetime experience.

3rd station:  Broadway Pub.  Shawinigan
I had the pleasure to discover their barley wine earlier this year and was curious about their regular beers.  I had good beers there, but created for a large public (according to me).  Every brewer has to pat his bills and even a salary, but I’m sure that it could be possible do to a little bit better.  A blonde brewed with dandelion, my first ever, was perfect this sunny day.  The Sherlock Holmes stout was fine, but just didn’t impress the geek I’m trying to become.  That’s what the Tripel hop did too.  Even if it was a tripel, the hop intensity wasn’t there.  When I’ll come back to this pub, it will be for a special release like this barley wine aging in oak barrels.

4th station:  Microbrasserie le trou du diable.  Shawinigan
Last year, I had the chance to be a volunteer at the Oktoberfest for this microbrewery.  I didn’t know them; except that they where having a good reputation.  This volunteer day has been a revelation for their great products.  We promised ourselves that we would visit them one day.  One of their beers, La buteuse is available in small batches of 400 bottles for now.  This beer is Oak-aged in barrels which had previously held an apple brandy from a local cidery.  The expansion of the brewery projects a production of 30 000 bottles of this beer.  Exportation to the USA as already begun in Philadelphia.  It is just a question of time before it reaches Beervana.  Nine homebrews were on tap when we show us there.  Blanche de Shawi (witbier), Pitoune (lager) had my preference on tap.  The brewer shared with us a Buteuse batch #2, which became the beer of the whole trip.  Merci André!  This brewery is certainly one of the best decorated I use to know.  Walls and roofs are decorated everywhere.  Nice to see and good to drink.  Our experience has been so good that we will again be volunteers at the Chambly beer and flavour festival this weekend.  I’ll keep you in touch about it.


Marc Demeule