A guide of Montreal breweries
Montreal offers a world-class beer scene with more than 20 craft breweries scattered around the city. While big brew companies can be found anywhere and everywhere, craft beer can be a little harder to find, especially if you are looking for small breweries that you can only find in one city. These microbreweries have an eclectic selection of beers, the brewers are knowledgeable, creative but above all, passionate about beer. I took on the hard labour of tasting some of the best breweries in Montreal and compile it into this hand-picked guide. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did tasting all these beers for you! Get ready to sip and hop around.
This chic tavern vibe has white tile floors, wooden ceiling and homey accents and hockey memorabilia. The brewery was designed to have a small town tavern feeling. They have between 15 and 20 beers and are known for their sour beer and beers aged in oak barrels. Their beer menu changes rapidly and they are constantly creating new recipes. We tasted a raspberry sour and a white beer with Amos (a town in Quebec) pepper that was delicate with a hint of spice. On the other lines, they always have one Quebec Cider, sparkling water, and craft hard liquor.
They classified the beers into colour label categories, white, black, pink and green. Each category has a different beer style, the white label has classic style beers, the black label has special ingredients or different techniques, the pink label has all the aged beer and the green label is are they special edition and small batches. For example, the sour beer is in the black category. All beers are served in different temperatures and with different carbonisation. If you are a beer geek, this is the place for you to geek out. The staff is very knowledgeable about beer and think them self as beer sommelier.
The food in the bar is also very good and a lot of the recipes are family recipes from the owner, adding to this welcoming ambiance. The menu changes as often as the beer do. When we visited we took a lobster roll and a burger. They also offer a buffet lunch, perfect to take a break after visiting the city.
Isle de Garde
This Montreal brewery specializes in German style beers. When you taste them you are immediately transported to Germany with their traditional brewing methods that have been perfected from centuries. Lovers of light beers, they also take inspiration of other European brewing methods from the Czech Republic, Belgium and the UK. They thrive to offer the best quality and they also tend to redo recipes to master them to perfection. The brewer does a lot of research on yeast and sees what are all the possibilities that a certain type yeast can offer. Besides perfecting the recipes they also change their selection often.
Isle de garde is also a restaurant with great food. They serve a mix between comfort food and high-end recipes. When we visited, we took a duck tartar with fries. The bar is located in Rosemont, the up and coming Mecca of craft beer neighbourhood in the city.
Boswell Brasserie Artisanale
This artisanal brewery is located at the east end of the Plateau, Boswell offers more than 15 on tap beers. Lovers of change, they are constantly changing their beers and their food menu. They have a small production so their beers don’t last more than 2-4 weeks, this gives them the chance to be very creative.
This neighbourhood bar hosts many events and is part of a lively community. They also display local artists along the walls on the bar. The brewery does interesting and out of the box collaborations. During our visit, we tasted a beer that was made with the renown Crémy doughnuts. The beer was macerated with lemon crullers which resulted in a lemony beer with a sweet aftertaste, delicious!
On the food side, they have a high end comfort food, like vegetable gnocchi and burger. They try as much as possible to use locally sourced ingredients from the province.
Pointe-St-Charles’ first microbrewery is the newcomer to the beer scene in 2018. The brewery located in an old industrial building will make you feel that you are in a tasting room in Vermont. They have an eclectic selection of beers ranging from cappuccino stout, English ale to apricot-tea pale ale. They have a set of 12 brews with half of their selection that stays year-round and the other half constantly rotates and you can also taste their latest innovations.
What’s in a name? The name comes from Montreal’s four main European settlers which are apparent in the city’s flag. It also hints to the 4 main beer's ingredients and other 4 allusions like the 4 cardinal point.
While there is no kitchen, you can bring your own food or order in, they will give you the names of the nearby restaurants. The family vibes are what they are looking for with the long communal tables and their board games. People can also bring their dogs here! They also are an integral part of the community and like to give back as much as possible. The bar is in south-west borough, on the other side of the Lachine Canal. While getting to the bar, enjoy your walk on the Canal and look for the iconic Five Roses neon sign. They also have a nice terrasse to enjoy in the summertime.
Located in the Hochelaga neighbourhood, this microbrewery aims to be a place for gathering and of course to enjoy a few beers. They offer a wide selection of beers but their speciality is the sour beer that is easy to drink, simply refreshing, you will be wanting for another one. As the other brew bars, they change their selection constantly so each visit you will be surprised with a new beer.
Their branding revolves around the concept of the pigeons and the city. The pigeon is an urban animal that hangs in gangs, and they are in all public spaces (public space is the translation of Espace Publique). So we all pigeons looking to gather around our favourite drinks. They also display art on their walls and have several live music events.
Since they are in a low-income neighbourhood they keep the prices low so that they want to keep them affordable to everyone. They are very involved in the community and like to give back.
Birra bar à bières maison
Located just at the end of the Little Italy neighbourhood, this brewery offers around 10 craft beers that are locally made by the owner and brewer. My favourite beer is Horace, a season made with oat and Ginger. The brewery offers all kind of styles from lager to IPAs. The beer menu also features 17 barrel products from all over Quebec to complete the brewery's 10 craft beers.
The brewer takes inspiration from German and Czech beers and he likes to master all the recipes by doing them over and over again.
The brewery also has a food menu featuring nice dishes, perfect to match with your beers. Indeed, the menu has everything from Nachos to vege burger. All the ingredients come from the local market next door, the Jean-Talon market. The brewery offers activities to its customers such as a music quizz, held once a week during Fall and Winter, to test your musical knowledge. This could be a great opportunity to mingle with the locals!
Vices & Versa
This bar- not a brewery - specializes in Quebec craft beer and it is located just a few blocks awat from Birra . They offer more than 50 beers and they constantly change their selection. This is your chance to taste rare bottles and to taste beers that are from across the province. If you don’t have time to bar hop across the bars in this guide, this is the one-stop brewpub.
Beer experiences in Montreal
There is an app for that too! Passport en fût , is a beer passport that allows you to taste 12 beers with the purchase of the app. The app is associated with more than 85 microbreweries across the province of Quebec. So go wander outside the city as well, there are plenty of beers to try across the bridge too! The app has a little description of every bar and all the menus are also available so you can choose between so many options.
How does it work? You download the app, pay $40 CAD (it will be $45.99 with the taxes), select the 12 breweries of your choice. With the app, you get a coupon, and in exchange, you get a pint or 3 tasting glasses at each establishment you have selected. You will need to show your confirmation page to the staff and they will propose you a selection.
Why we love it? This is a great deal since a pint is usually around $8, you get a chance to drink more cold ones for your money! The app is easy to use and very intuitive. It also has some news related to breweries and other fun news in the province, like where to find food trucks in Montreal. Also, the passport never expires so if you did not go through all your beers, you can keep some for the next time you come to Montreal.
Beer Tours in Montreal
The city has around 4 beer tours companies that will drive you around through a selection of the beer bars in the city. There is one tour that stands out from the others, City Brew Tours. The tours are a one stop shop, meaning that they drive you from brewery to brewery in their branded mini-van, provide the drinks, food samples and of course, an expert guide. The tours take a maximum of 13 people to provide a more intimate experience. The tour takes you through the beer fabrication process and gives you a brief history of beer. Did you know that beer was invented more than 5000 years ago?
The tour provides the right balance between fun, entertainment, and learning about the breweries and thus a little about Montreal. City Brews takes you through off the beaten path, to lesser known breweries and neighbourhoods. We took the tour with 3 breweries around the South-West borough. The 3 breweries were Les Sans Taverne, located in Pointe Saint-Charles, Benelux in Verdun and 4 Orignes (you can read more about it at the middle of the article). Benelux was a good discovery for me as their beers are really good! Every purchase that you make, gives back to an organism that specializes in taking the kids out of the streets and other difficult situations. The tour also provides you with tips on how to taste beer and how to distinguish flavours.
How to book? Visit City Brews Montreal . The company has 2 tours, Montreal Original Brew tour and Sip of Montreal Brew Tour. We took the later one. The tours run from Thursday to Sunday.
Tour Price? $99 or $77 depending of the tour.
What’s Included? between 16 and 12 glasses of beer with food to share.
How long? Around 4 to 5 hours.
So which cold one are you going to taste first? Cheers! 🍻
Disclaimer: All the Montreal breweries named in this guide and the beer passport contributed to the article A big thank you! All opinions are my own.
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