Optic Ale: Refracting Waves

The Home Brew edition is created to focus on the individualistic and personal passions for beer, whether by an individual or a group. I find it important to focus on the smaller aspects of craft beer such as home brewing to emphasize where true brewing starts. And often times expands to something much larger and expansive. Not everyone who home brews makes it big, or wants to, but shedding light on these individuals portrays just how important the beer culture was, is and continues to be. This is where many started their fantastic journeys and where inspiration continues to grow.

Brasserie Optic Brewing Ale is a small home brewing project with two individuals at the helm. Francois Trudel and Alexandre Tremblay. They both pride themselves for working in Visual Effects, or VFX, industry in Montreal. Alexandre Tremblay works as a digital composer and has always taken a keen interest in the technical aspect of his work. A digital compositor is someone who combines all the elements of the live action footage, 3D and more and slams it all together and ensures unison and continuity. Compositing as well as a lot of other departments in VFX may require technical tools to improve workflow and element sharing between departments. And thus an artist with some technical skills is key. No, I did not google everything, I too work in the VFX industry in Montreal! It prides me to see two individuals in the same industry as me also focusing on another artistic and passion driven project. Alex is the brain of the project, bringing his technical knowledge, in the form of brewing to complete one half of the circle.

Francois Trudel, also works as a digital compositor, but has more of an artistic approach to his work. Being more artistic focused, he brings forward the vision, by tasting beers, by coming up with ideas for beers and by creating the philosophy behind this small passion project. All the while learning and lending a hand in the brewing process.

In VFX, any artist who has a balanced skill set with technical and artistic skills is a candidate that will reach for the stars, and just like in VFX the brain of Alex and the artistic vision of Francois combined together in perfect unison and balance make Optic Ale a force to be reckoned with!

One aspect that really got me excited was the names of the beers, as trained and working VFX artists, they tried to focus the names of the beers in the same manner, with such beers like Color Waves, Green Screen and Light Source. Their philosophy behind this brewery is to create beers that are deep in complexity with an ease for drinking. At the moment they are in the very young phase of tests and experimentation, which in my opinion always leads to greatness! The styles they most enjoy to focus their energies on are wild ales, sours, berliner weisse, stouts and IPAs. A broad range but still limited on focus.

I say this with confidence because I had an opportunity to sit down with Francois several months back to have a chat, drink some brew and revel in the amazement that followed. What really created an atmosphere that truly shows the beauty of beer and its ability to bring people together is that his roommate came and she joined the tasting party and it gave way for a very pleasant and discussion filled evening. Keep an eye on these two, it is sure to be a treat!

This is not a white stout 
Stout – milk/sweet || ABV: 6.0% || IBU: 20

Milky sweet and creamy stouts with a decadent vanilla and chocolate burst are my dream. My sweet tooth and love for beer combine together and it makes me severely contented. Like a kid whose finally got that ice cream hes been dying for. This is not a white stout is one such stout, it is my Petit ZonZon (Inside joke). Craig from BAOS podcast would be all over this, because it has vanilla, Ethiopian coffee and wait for it.. Lactose! All combining together to create a note worthy aroma, and even more level crushing taste.

Scotish Scopic

Green Screen: Harvest 2018 
IPA || ABV: 6.48% || IBU: 20

A green screen is a wall painted green which is utilized in VFX essentially as “where all the fake shit goes”. It will be filled with 3D elements, digital matte paintings and so on. It is for VFX artists our canvas on which we display our most epic work. For Optic Ale it is the canvas for their IPA. This one is a west coast style, piney, bitter with caramel malts. I love taking it back to the young days, when I would kick it with some malty, hop bombs from California and an IPA that isn’t hazy or fruit juice is always a delight. Sometimes living the old days again refreshes your mind and reminds you of how it all started.

Light Source: Pineapple 
Sour – Berliner Weisse || ABV: 3.68% || IBU: 5

Without a light source, all the 3D visual effects you see in those Marvel films everyone loves would be dark, flat and uninteresting. A light source is what creates visual interest in photos, in paintings and it is what lights sequences created in full 3D. Berliner weisse takes the concept of old age sours and combines them with a yeast profile that brings a balance and a sense of complexity to the beer. The Light Source series from Optic Ale aims to showcase their deep complexity with the ease of drinking and will focus on various fruits. The fruit variations bring the light source to their berliner weisse. This one is loaded with pineapple puree, and it sure does show. The pineapple bursts through the hidden covers on the nose, and the taste attacks you with a sour acidity that leaves the palate satisfied and cleans you off with a dry attack. For me personally, I found it a bit too dry, but overall very pleasurable to the palate.

Francois Trudels collab with Mikkeller

Dry Eye Drie 
Saison / Framhouse Ale || ABV: 6.17% || IBU: 5

Saisons or farmhouse ales or the aptly known and copyrighted farmstead ales from Hill Farmstead are sour, tart versions of a traditional european style known as a saison. The new age of saisons have a tendancy to combine various elements to create an interesting final product, much like the work of a digital compositor. The nose kicks you with a light bretty, citrusy character and the taste is a very light easy drinking combination of sour, fruity, and a yeast profile. Labelled as a 6% abv beer but it drinks and feels like a 3%, its got the body of a berliner but the taste of a wild ale!

I would highly recommend to keep an eye for these fellas, they are sure to make a burst on the scene soon!

Words + Photography by Hopcitizen

Your Ordinary Beer Citizen


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