Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beer in Canada Gets a Mention

Saveur, in its April 2012 issue dedicated to Las Vegas makes mention of Montreal beers.  There is no mention on their public facing website.  I have asked several of my friends when travelling to Montreal to try some beers and if possible, to pick me up some.

In a depanneur, Depanneur Peluso, the writer picked up a few brewski's and headed back to the room.  There are six mentioned and some of them are pretty high test.  I am hoping that there was company on the testing trip or I may have to doubt some of the notes.  I have had four of the six mentioned and the notes are pretty spot on. Rather than redo the article, I am more interested in whether something like this can happen in Ontario.

Depanneurs in Quebec can stock a lot of the local beers and it appears that this has helped with the growth of the craft brewer movement in and around Montreal. Dieu du Ciel, Charlevoix, le Trou du Diable and so many others do not get play here but are all solid brewers.  You may not like some of their brews but it is hard to say that they are not doing interesting and good work.  International critics and beer competitions agree.

Around Toronto, there is the beginnings of the same type of movement with Flying Monkeys, Mill St. and a few new ones that are pushing the taste forward.  I still believe that Ottawa may have a leg up with Beau's, Hogsback and Clocktower.  Also, the close proximity to the Quebec border will push the brewers into making choices that would not be required in Hogtown.  It is easier in a large market to sell mediocrity because many someone's will buy it.

I am not sure if it is just the distribution chain or the sales chain or what but it seems easier for me to get a Quebec brew than from Beau's.  I am happy to live near a few pubs who go the extra mile (literally and figuratively) in order for me to try some of the more innovative brews from Eastern Ontario.  However, I am sad that I cannot share that experience with friends outside my neighbourhood.

So, I guess I am advocating for a different type of beer store or a wider direct to customer delivery service or even some relaxing of liquor selling laws in Ontario.  I realize that several others have been calling for the dismantling of the KGBO (LCBO) but I am not advocating that.  There are some things that they do well.  Finding and supporting local breweries is not one of them.  I only wish that they do not stand in the way of allowing our Ontario breweries to garner the same international recognition that the Quebec breweries are beginning to receive.

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