Benelux, Montreal

Montreal’s beer culture is driven by its diverse brewpubs, which produce most of the city’s finest brews at the keenest prices. The only drawback is that the brewpubs have varying opening hours, which usually requires a bit of planning, but as it happens one of the brewpubs, the Benelux has a solution, sort of…

Benelux time!

And that is the Benelux deluxe ‘guy clock’, which has no hands to sweep around one another, thus giving guys yet another reason to claim they had no idea what time it was. Time for another beer, I guess. Sorry I’m late, love. Had no idea what time it was. Legitimally. Totally. Or so I believe.

Benelux Brasserie et Cafe, a brewpub at 245 Sherbrooke West, sees head brewer Benoit Mercier crafting fine beers with a deft hand and an understated elegance, with some 30 beer formulations in circulation.

Featuring an open concept bar and large blue tubular tentacles hanging from the ventilation system,  stationary black stools along narrow community tables, the feel of this space is very light and airy. It caters to a university crowd for most of the year.

A couple of very tasty brews from Benelux: Batch 500 Double IPA, hitting out at 8 percent abv, has a hoppy, piney nose and is bitter throughout. There are strong parallels to Black Oak Brewery’s 10 Bitter Years. Batch 500 has a bold bitter finish worth chasing.

And then there is the stalwart Yakima  american style pale ale coming in at 5.5 percent abv. This is a fine flavourful ale that is hop forward and very drinkable. It has a dry, bitter finish that simply demands more. Yes. Okay I will have another as I inevitably do. Or so says my wife.

There are a number of other good beers from which to choose such as the Dredlux Imperial Stout, at a hefty 8.2 percent abv, and is  fittingly served in a chalice, with flavours of licorice, roast, alcohol and a background hop bitterness co-mingling happily together. On the flip side there is a West Coast Stout that is sharply defined by a citrusy hop attack backed by roast flavours. Psychlopathe, an American style pale ale, delivers a good balance of malt and hop in this neatly formulated brew.

But the most wonderful thing was seeing 12 gals and guys of all ages seated around a large half-round banquet with small tables in their midst all drinking Benelux beers on a Friday lunch time.

Now that’s, ‘C’est si bon!’

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