Benelux Brasserie, with two different locations within the city, has obtained the ability to spread its great beer in two corners of the city of Montreal. And with great reason! Benelux was a microbrewery I was introduced to just a mere 2 years ago, and after tasting the Sabotage IPA, my emotions hit the floor. I was able to find a supremely hop forward IPA in Quebec! It is no mystery that Quebec’s beer scene has been delayed in their attempt to create very hop forward IPAs, but this fact is slowly becoming history. With so many new breweries creating solid IPAs and older breweries creating newer hazy IPAs, Quebec IPAs are sure to erupt into a culmination of hops and juiciness. After the tip of my tongue made its long lasting connection with hops, barley, water and malts of the Sabotage IPA, my mind, body and sense were aching to taste more from this brewery. One day I decided to hop between both their locations in the same day, other times I have visited each one few times before on their own. Benelux has a very large line of IPAs, PAs and DIPAs and it was a bit tough to narrow down three to talk about below, but here are some of the delicious hoppy IPAs coming out of Benelux, one of which is sad to see go.
IPA || ABV: 7% || IBU: –
My first ever Benelux beer and from my first taste it was true love! Making its appearance periodically on their draft line and making its exit fairly shortly. One of the most popular IPAs offered by Benelux and for good reason! The aroma on this bad boy explodes on the nose with strong hops. Not a very fruity aroma, but a wonderful cluster f**k of hops. On the taste it has a great hop bite and is a very hop forward beer. It has a very clean finish with only a minor bitterness. Very smooth and easy to drink and the 7% ABV is almost undetectable. I wouldn’t say this beer is crush-able, but would definitely say with great confidence it’s a beer that goes down very easy and fast.
Due to the shortage of Nelson hops they will be retiring this beer and I just had to come in for a last pint in honor of its splendor. So I waltz into Benelux on Wellington Street and enjoyed a wonderful lunch pint. It is sure to make an appearance again, but maybe more on special occasional releases, but I sure do hope it’s more than that! Only time will tell.
IPA || ABV: 7% || IBU: 80
On first try about a year ago, it seems I don’t get out much, I wasn’t terribly impressed by this beer. There are certain phenomenons that craft beer drinkers truly believe in, one, our palates mature as we age, this is only natural since our taste buds change and diminish with age and are aching for something more robust and complex. Two, palate familiarity, meaning after having the same beer so many times our palates become accustomed to the flavour, thus making each subsequent taste of the same beer yielding different results. There are many more phenomenon but these are two that can relay my experience with Buzz IPA. Other aspects that could affect my differing experiences would be one, the fact that each batch of beer is never exactly the same, there are always either drastic variations or minor variations subtle enough to alter the experience in each individual. Two, palate fatigue, after several beers our palates tend to lose their ability to accurately taste, causing misjudgments on what well may be a very great beer. And three, what we eat can drastically affect our taste.
So, as I was saying before my tangent, my first experience of this beer wasn’t an impressive one. All I have is my notes but they dictate malty, bitter and sour. Not very exciting. Mostly the tasting notes are accurate and trying new beers are always taken with proper care and caution and consideration of palate fatigue. But sometimes to my surprise things can change very drastically, defying regular notion. The Buzz is such beer, after having it again it was a splendid surprise.
Aroma is mild hoppy and yeasty. And on taste, Wow! Very spectacular beer! I am getting great notes of hops, a nice malty sweetness engulfs the mouth. Not the bold malty, but a sweetness, a clean malty sweetness. Which creates a very delicate finish after the explosion of hops. The hops and the sweet malts combine greatly. It has a bit of a bitter bite towards the end accompanying the malty sweetness. It is not as smooth or easy to drink as Sabotage, but bearable and one that doesn’t destroy the beer. It is a great combination of malts, hops and bitterness balanced with its focus on the hops.
American Pale Ale || ABV: 6.8% || IBU: –
In the craft beer community news travels fast. And when a new beer comes out that is note worthy, it tears up the air ways. Verdunoise, after hitting the tap lines news spread of it like wild fire. After hearing its comparison to NEIPAs I rushed over to get a taste of it.
The aroma gives off a great hop kick. The taste has mild burst of hops followed by a strong yeasty taste. I will have to have another taste of this one, I was tipped off by a friend and maybe he set the bar too high for me. It’s a great beer but not close to an NEIPA. It doesn’t have that bold pungent fruity hops or the heavy mouthfeel. But it does have some amazing hop notes and barely any bitterness. I will definitely have to return to try this one again, now that my expectations aren’t so high. Another killer of a great beer can be our perceptions of it due to the bar being set to high due to hype or varying taste conclusions.
Some other very notable IPAs / PAs from Benelux include Autarcie, a Quebecois Pale Ale, full of hoppy wonders! Champion, a Pale Ale, although rated low on ratebeer was a wonderful surprise. Calico, a California Common, the same styling as Anchor Steam Beer, one of my personal favorites, and wonderfully close! Cuda, a spectacular IPA which I seem to miss every time it’s around. And many many more!
The two Benelux locations:
245, Rue Sheerbrooke Ouest
Montreal, Qc H2X 1X7
4026, Rue Wellington
Verdud, Qc H4G 1V3
Words + Photography by HopCitizen