Advertising in the craft beer market is not a traditionally practiced method to ensure sale of products. The craft beer market is considered a very tight nit community and their focus and philosophy is always beer for the people by the people. It is a fight against the towering commercial giants, it is support for local communities, and it is superior quality and tasteful products. It is unlikely you will see advertisements on television or in magazines. Similar to how Thrash Metal gained its popularity in the 1980’s the advertising was done through the consumers themselves. By seeing bands live, by grabbing their demo tapes at shows and trading them for other demo tapes of other bands in locations they may not be able to reach, bands in the 1980s were able to gain popularity in the underground market through-out the United States. Without a magazine ad or a large record label. Similarly, craft beer brands rely on consumers to spread the word about their brewery and new beers through word of mouth. Some of the larger brands such as Stone Brewing, Dogfish Head, and Sierra Nevada do tend to have advertising in publications and such. However those publications were also started by none other than the craft beer consumers themselves.
Today social media is the breweries most powerful ally, along with the curiosity of the craft beer drinker and their urge and need to try all the beers they possibly can, breweries can spread knowledge about their beer to far distances without the cost of advertising. Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Untappd are the perfect way for breweries to utilize its consumers to gain popularity. When I first heard about Auval it was not through an ad on TV, or an ad in a magazine, it was through word of mouth from my beer drinking peers or from direct contact with one of them. Eventually the news spreads like wild fire! Brasserie Maltstrom is the most recent brewery to gain popularity like wild fire in Quebec. Located in Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, just North-East of Montreal and neighboring Joliette, Maltstrom hit the selves of retail stores not too long ago and soon to follow were the raved reviews of their juicy, hazy Pale Lager. When the opportunity presented itself to me, I rushed over and snagged some cans from their well received line of beers. With excitement, curiosity and a thirst for beer I was ready to explore the world of Maltstrom.
Maltstrom I.X.P.L des Prairies
Strong Pale Lager || ABV: 6% || IBU: 45
Categorizing beer can always be a tricky thing. The IXPL de Prairies is considered a strong pale lager rather than an IPA or pale ale, however it is so amazingly hopped it drinks like an IPA. The community in Quebec has been buzzing about this offering from Maltstrom and my curiosity lead me right to a four pack of this raved wonder. And to my surprise it lives up to the crazy hype. The appearance is super hazy, similar to that of the famed NEIPAs, and the aroma hits your nose like a cluster of juicy hops. I would say the aroma is that similar to the likes of Trillium. From the nose I can get strong notes of peach and other tropical fruits and the taste rushes through your body like getting a fix of a euphoric drug. This beer for me is the closest any Quebec beer has come to replicating the NEIPA style from our southern counterparts. The appearance, the aroma and the taste are all on point. The mouth feel is spectacular, with a nice heavy, swirly, pungent fruity feel. The 6% ABV is undetectable and subtle as is the bitterness. This beer finish off supremely clean and leaves your palate satisfied with its hoppy wonder. So far for me the only beer in Quebec that’s really nailed down that fruity mouth feel, aroma and taste with a clean finish, it is absolutely amazing.
Maltstrom Farmhouse Blanche
Wheat Ale || ABV: 5.3% || IBU: –
Wheat ales are beer that is brewed with a larger portion of wheat as compared to the amounts of malted barley. Mainly popularized by the Bavarian region in Europe, the North Americans have taken this style and hopped it up. One great notable wheat ale that has a great hop attack is Three Floyds Gumballhead, from Munster, Indiana.
The Farmhouse Blance from Maltstrom has an aroma that feels like a Belgian IPA, meaning it has great notes of Belgian yeast as well as citrusy hops. The taste is wonderful! I really like the Belgian yeast mixed in with the hops. The focus on the hops is always great but this beer hasn’t taken away from the Belgian yeast. The Belgian yeasts are still prominent but well balanced with the hop attack. Think of it like a hopped up Belgian white, without the yeast bomb attack and more of the hop attack. Sort of like Saison Dupont with more hops and citrus and less yeast. It is absolutely amazing! It has everything you would want from a white wheat ale, it’s floral, fruity, soft, and hoppy and has a great drink-ability.
Maltstrom India Dark Lager
Black IPA || ABV: 7.5% || IBU: 55
The India Dark Lager is a black IPA from Maltstrom. Black IPAs tend to have lighter body with roasted malts and a bold hopped profile. The appearance is more like a brown ale, the aroma is roasty and grainy with a bold thick head which mellows out eventually. The taste is a mix of grainy and hoppy with not much attack on the flavour, however a very enjoyable beer. It doesn’t have the light body of a black IPA, it has more of a medium body. It doesn’t come off as a black IPA to me, it’s more of a mixture of a black IPA, a brown ale and a grain beer. It does have the hop attack like a black IPA, however instead of getting a roasty malt attack, I’m getting more of a grainy bill. The finish is clean with a slight coffee taste, but very minor. For a 7.5% ABV it is extremely easy to drink and smooth as hell.
*****Update: Categories can always be a tricky thing, Ratebeer has listed this as a Black IPA, however Untappd has it listed as a Dark Lager.
Maltstrom has definitely caught my eye and I am absolutely amazed by their IXPL. I am excited to try their IXXPL, the double pale lager, and hopefully I can get my hands on it soon! Until then I highly recommend this brewery to anyone looking to get a taste of the south without the hassle of travel, currency conversion and duties/customs. Maltstrom is on its way to becoming my new Quebec gem.
Words + Photography by HopCitizen