Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dieu du Ciel

Beer brewing in
a side room
It's generally a requirement that with every city we venture to, even places that are not known for a beer culture, we have to find a great beer bar. In Montreal, this is not a problem. Fortunately for me, the bigger half already had his plan in place, and made it quite clear that during our weekend in the city, we would be heading over to a little place, away from all the touristy stuff, called Dieu du Ciel.
Beers available
From the outside, the microbrewery looks so low key. You'd pass it on the street without a second thought. Upon entering, there's a wood floor, and to the right are smaller size vats of beer, making themselves ready for the moment where drafts can be poured. A list to the right of the bar identify the beers that are next in line from the brewing room. Aside from this, the restaurant appears to be perhaps a few too many tiny tables, a smaller upper level where there are additional tables, the previously mentioned bar, and then a couple chalk boards featuring the beers available by the brewery, a few key wines, and then the scotches of the day. Locals and regulars sit at the tables, and, as is always a good sign of a great bar, there are a lot of people sitting by themselves, writing in notebooks, and waiting for other regulars to show up. 
We actually arrived soon after the bar opened for a few drinks prior to getting ready for dinner later in the evening at Au Pied de Cochon. The dark chalkboard on the left wall dictated what we would need to taste. 
Rosee d'Hibiscus (front)
Grand'Messe (back)
Rosee d'Hibiscus: This was a beer I'd never experienced before. If it were any other beer, I would have said, "I've never had this type of beer before." But honestly, this beer was an experience. It tasted like a combination of ginger ale and sprite. It was sweet, but not cloying. It didn't taste like beer, and it didn't really taste like a rose wine. It was completely unique. There was a light carbonation, a touch of pink in color, and honestly, it drank like a good soda, which can be dangerous in the beer disguised as soda realm. You know what I'm talking about. The most delightful element of this beer was the soft hue and the sweet scent of tropical flowers that danced around the light wheat beer.
Grand' Messe: What an amazing alt beer. It was slightly bitter and slightly sweet, with the background flavor of an English style pale ale. Low in alcohol, this is a fairly steady beer to introduce on a cold evening. 
Noice de Soie
La Noice de Soie: This was the bar's saison. I'm pretty fond of saisons as most microbreweries put a lot of effort into producing something that is characteristic of the land. This was no exception. For whatever reason, the saison at Dieu du Ciel had flavors and aromas of yuzu, which I can completely get behind.
Peche Morte
Peche Morte: This was my husband's favorite beer of the evening. It's intsensely black, looks like it was poured from a nitrogen tap from the very tiny bubbles floating slowly up to the top of the tulip glass. An imperial stout with rich coffee flavor and the oddly appropriate pairing of sweet peach, the heavy alcohol content is mildly masked by the bitterness of the wonderful coffee flavor. While sipping the high alcohol beverage, his eyes grew wide with delight. 
Crispy Canadian Nachos
The WTF moment: How many people in the USA have gone to a little brewery, and found that the food is going to inevitably be awful? If you don't think this, you're probably only there for the beer, and there's nothing wrong with that. But you know what? I almost always go to these places and go ahead and order some french fries or some chips and hope that they won't be god awful. And while the fries are almost always ok... the nachos just fail on an epic level. They're droopy, saturated with the salsa and toppings that sog out the chips. So when I saw nachos on the menu at the little brewery, I had to order them. If the Canadian nachos fail, then maybe nachos everywhere simply fail. But these nachos were good. See for yourself. They were placed on a sheet of paper in a single layer, sprinkled with spring onions, tomatoes and cheese. Everything was crispy, and served with sides of sour cream and salsa. Why is this so hard to find in an American beer bar? ::sigh:: Canadian nachos. Go figure.

Dieu du Ciel
29 Laurier West
Montréal, Québec
Canada H2T 2N2

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