Canton Brasse is a small brewery located in Orford, Quebec which opened its doors just over 2 years ago in May 2019. Not long after, the global pandemic took over causing disruptions in our lives. Stay at home orders, shut down of public facilities, bars and restaurants, which put many business old and new in dire straits. Although very difficult for many business to get through Canton Brasse held their ground and adapted to survive, picking up a take out only model and continuing to brew and experiment.
They generally do not distribute far and wide just yet, although their latest sour Crazy Carpette had a small distribution, they are mainly focused at the moment to providing locally to their region. And it seems the local came out to really support this small brewery during the trouble times which in part may still be affecting many business. Canton Brasse was founded by Nicolas Bernier Tanguay and his father Claude Tanguay after four arduous years of test batches and after some successful recipes they decided it was time to take the next step. Later joined by Steven Lariviere Beaudoin and Hugo Mariage, the team was complete. At least for now!
Microbreweries have been on a massive expansion here in Quebec, with the last decade bringing about many changes and developments, as well as the rise of many new breweries. As the breweries open month by month, or year by year, new specialty stores follow and this starts to popularize craft beer more and more. Selections for microbreweries in grocery stores continue to expand and in general microbrewery is getting a chance to be an opener on the main stage, if not slowly becoming the main act. Recently microbreweries were represented at Corona Theater thanks to Matt and his baby Vox&Hops with his band Cyptopsy at center stage. This shift in the beer drinkers choice can be seen very directly as my group of friends as well as many work colleagues tend to now favor picking up craft beer over macro. Lets just say the Halloween party which took place at my house only had one person bring macro. This new found curiosity started to intensify with few friends when back in September they brought the idea of doing a brewery trip in the Eastern township area, selecting a hand few to visit. This idea is something I and many other have been doing for a while now, but to see it weed out into unsuspected individuals warmed my heart! And since they asked me, I could not leave out Canton Brasse from the list. A visit was a must and long overdue.
Orford Craft Brewery. Eclectic, accessible, funky! Qualifiers that define Canton Brasse well. Thirst quenecher beers, NEIPA, sour beers.. whichever you choose, you are guaranteed to get your hands on a quality craft product.
One of the most exciting things I find being a part of the microbrewery community and to have an obsession with it, is the journeys we take to try new places or seek out new experiences. It creates this kind of pilgrimage idea, as well as a sense of local availability. And if you want some, you must arrive at the source. After a short but long drive, we arrived in the beautiful region of Orford, and proceeded to explore what Canton Brasse had to offer. I started with a line of tasters to really allow my palate to explore different aspects of the brewery, and once I had a taste, I snagged a pint of their Chairlift NEIPA, and proceeded to talk with Steve about the brewery and their vision.
He gave me a quick tour of their very small brew house, and I tasted some more of their beers before departing to our next location.
I departed with two of their bottles in hand which are both vastly different in style but it allowed me to have a taste of the diversity this brewery had to offer.
The first is their new sour Crazy Carpette, a 5% ABV mixed fermentation sour with local strawberries and wild Dolgo crabapples. When I first approached this beer I had a mixed feeling of excitement as well as a level or resistance due to the unexpected interaction with apples in a beer. In my mind it could create a sense of separation and almost bring a cider like quality to the beer. However on the other hand it might end up adding a peculiar sensation instead. The aroma on this very orangey hazy sour is a lot of funky and almost peachy even thought it doesn’t have any peach. Its got a level of sour that is pretty pleasant and not overpowering, as well as an almost Berliner like yeasty profile. The yeast forward attack mellows out as the palate adjusts as well as the sourness softens a bit as it reaches the end. This is followed by a bomb dry finish and a slight almost vinous quality. The crabapple for me does its part to interact well, but not perfectly, it adds a bit of a leathery taste.
The second is their oatmeal stout infused with local coffee, Pic Aux Corbeaux. The aroma kicks in with a lot of oak and a bit of a rustic quality, which my sense always tend to point to a nail like intensity. Generally this kind of aroma and taste can be an indication of infection, but often times that aroma or taste is created in stouts sometimes. The science behind it I am not really sure, but it is a taste for the that disappears quickly, unless it is really infected. In this beer its not the case, as my palate adjust it mellows out! The coffee aroma is whirl pooling around ever so gently. To taste it starts with an oak kick, with some rusticness, then follows with a creamy body and coffee, chocolate flavors. It swirls in the palate a bit, kicking you with each flavor point, and ends with a sticky roasted tobacco. The coffee is not dominating, but rather a background actor to the lead. Feel it could use a bit more balance and as it warms a bit, it presents itself a bit more balanced. Overall I find it slightly displaced but not displeasing.
Certainly a place to keep your eye out for and if I am ever in that region I will be sure to drop in again for some delicious brew and not to forget Deux Tomates next door for some delicious pizza!