Montreal has been and still is a great hub for craft beer in Canada. With so many breweries and beers to choose from it can be tough to try and conquer them all without some sacrifice to the wallet, the waist line, and maybe even some rough mornings. I was finally able to explore Brasserie Harricana and sample some of their beers at the brewery on Jean Talon and Clark street. Francis Richer has been a brewery there for a little over a year now, “I came in at BH when they began working seriously on getting the industrial permit. Since this was going to mean more brewing, more bottling and kegging and more managing in general, they were in need of a second brewer.” Francis had to say about his perfect timing getting into the brewery, shortly after he got the post as the head brewer. Having some solid experience in brewing working for Glutenberg/Transbroue he was able to hit the ground running. I had not heard about Harricana much until recently and I wondered why this brewery wasn’t on my radar as much and it seems the implementation of Francis as the head brewery brought along some new, fresh ideas and his own recipes to really push the brewery to the newer heights it is slowly reaching today. There is a great future ahead for this brewery and recently they even had their first bottle release, which was met with success! “I think I introduced more of a rigorous approach of the brewing. Not that it was not before, but there’s a big difference between a little brew-pub production and a one that is more open for distribution and expansion.” Richer had to say about his contribution to Harricana and what it is today. It is definitely true that Harricana with Richer by their side is in safe hands!
8: Vienna Lager
Amber/Lager Vienna || ABV: %4.8 || IBU: –
“Lager Rousse d’inspiration European”
It was an exciting experience to try various different styles and so I started the evening with a vienna style lager. The appearance is a nice vibrant burnt amber and the aroma wafts some great notes of euro malts. The taste has an amazing lager malts, yeast and grains with a very bold flavour in the middle and a wonderful clean finish with a palatable grainy malt end trail. Very enjoyable and easy to drink.
18: Pale Ale
Pale Ale || ABV: %5 || IBU: –
Appearance is a nice dark golden yellow. With a nice frothy white head. Aroma is a bit light, not getting much but getting some minor fruits and a bit of hops here and there, but a bit tough to really get much else. But I can definitely get nice light fruity bill.
Taste is average for me. It doesn’t have much fruity hoppyness. It has a yeast dominance, which isn’t all a bad thing. But it’s too bold for me. Ain’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong good pale ales, IPAs and DIPAs don’t have to be super hazy and fruity like the NEIPAs, which I enjoy most, but I also enjoy all other IPAs that are the standard old school IPAs. For me this one just hasn’t left much of an impact.
It does have a good balance between the bitterness, hops and yeasts. Finish is focused on yeast with a minor malt bill. Drinks fairly easy but the finish for me isn’t as enjoyable.
33: Porter Maya
Porter || ABV: %5 || IBU: –
The appearance has a great light white froth that looks gorgeous against the dark base.
Man that AROMA! The aroma is a solid, chilli, coffee, tobac. Boasting notes of coffee and spiciness, not getting much cacao on the nose though
Taste is not a balance between the flavours, the chipotle is strong and kicks in right away. It’s always tough for me and spiced beers. Starts with a light coffee kick and turns strongly to the chipotle. Although I do enjoy it, and the finish is a nice spicy, peppery, tobac and mild bitter. I don’t feel a sense of balance between the flavours so much, which tends to be the case for me with these kinds of chilli stouts and porters. BUT! I am digging it the way that it is even though it is not a balance. I am absolutely loving the chipotle take over. No complaints there!
38: Session RyePA
Session IPA || ABV: %4.3 || IBU: –
Appearance is a great yellow crisp with a great frothy white head. The lacing is remaining at the rim, just like getting a nice rim job. This beer is giving me a rim job… too dirtyyyy maybe.
Aroma has a great kick of the rye. And some minor notes of hops in the background.
Taste is a very nice fruity start which quickly turns into lovely rye dominance. The rye has a quality I truly enjoy. An IPA doesn’t have to be fruity and a hop bomb to be a good, well crafted and enjoyable IPA. Its many other facets can be enjoyable too, if done right. This has everything going for it. A great fruity hoppynes, a lovely rye kick with a minor clean bitter finish. An absolute delight!
69: Inspiration #2
Porter || ABV: %5.5 || IBU: –
Aroma has that amazing oak kick. And some spiciness from the wild side of things. It’s safe to say I love my fucking oak! This is like an oak saison, wild ale but the dark version with some added roastyness and nice tobac, light, bitter finish. My type so far! Yummmm… the dark side, oh how I love the dark side.
180: Milk Stout Framboise
Stout || ABV: %4.5 || IBU: –
The Aroma has an insane coffee kick. The dark frothy head goes away quick, but such a gorgeous looking beer. I notice in stouts the berries sour quality comes out and in sours it’s accompanied by fruitiness. But in stouts no fruitiness is accompanied rather the souryness from the berries adds a touch of an interesting quality.
Taste has an amazing dark chocolate, framboise kick with a nice bold palatable tobac finish. Light flavours and easy to drink. Also has a nice sour to it, not like in berry chocolates where instead of fruitiness you get like a weird soury, alcohol taste. Enjoyable and lactose not too bold and it’s not too sweet. I like how everything is complimenting each other!
If you have not yet explored this brewery, I would recommend a stop over and if you want to have several different options they offer a low priced small format options for all the beers on draft! Just choose wisely as the order of consumption may kill your palate a bit, besides that go forth and leave ashes in your wake, or maybe just on your untappd!
Words + Photography by Hopcitizen