The Québec maritime Blog
Did you know that beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Québec and in all of Canada? In 2008 alone, Quebecers drank an average of 92.2 litres of beer per person, compared to 20.9 litres of wine. Beer is part of a long-standing Canadian tradition that includes the Molson, Sleeman, Alexander Keith’s and Labatt breweries, to name a few. Microbreweries began to appear in Québec a little over 20 years ago, and they have been flourishing ever since. Eighty microbreweries currently operate in Québec, including four in the Gaspésie region.
Is there anything more refreshing than a nice cold beer on a hot summer day, whether you’re savouring it on a bustling terrasse or at a summer barbecue? And speaking of beer, why not try one from a Gaspésie microbrewery . . . in the Gaspésie?
For common mortals like me, the process of brewing beer seems to be straight out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. It involves several steps where different products come together to give beer its unique flavour, bitterness, colour and texture, all of which are orchestrated by the master brewer.
The brewing process begins with malting. In this step, barley is activated and prepared for saccharization, where barley sugars are converted to produce wort. Next comes aromatization, where hops and spices (if necessary) are added. This is followed by fermentation, which is the longest step in the entire process. Microbrewery beers rely on yeast for carbonation. Once the yeast becomes inactive, it settles to the bottom, and this is where the name “beer on lees” comes from.
In the kitchen
Cooking beer intensifies its aroma. So, it is important to carefully choose the type of beer you use so you do not mask the taste of the food. For delicate flavours, pale ales or white beers are best. For heartier dishes, red or black beers work well. You can also try substituting wine with beer in recipes to give your taste buds a pleasant surprise!
Microbreweries in Gaspésie
Founded in 2010, the La Fabrique microbrewery in Matane offers traditional craft beers and a menu to satisfy all palates. The names of the beers hint at their characteristics: Rivière Blanche is a white beer, Métisse and Caltor are black beers, and Pain d’Épices is a spiced beer. Every season, La Fabrique also features beers from other microbreweries in Québec to provide variety and encourage people to discover new products. The atmosphere is friendly, and the locals mix and mingle with vacationers. Guided tours and beer tasting (naturally!) are available.
The Pit Caribou microbrewery, founded in 2007, is located in L’Anse-au-Beaufils, near Percé. The beer names—Blonde de l’Anse, Bonne Aventure and Gaspésienne– call to mind the Gaspésie region. They are recognized by beer connoisseurs, and several of them are prize winners. You can stock up on beer at the microbrewery, and you can also find them in grocery stores and restaurants in the region.
The Le Naufrageur microbrewery is located on the edge of Chaleur Bay in Carleton. Its founders wanted to pay tribute to the notorious pirate who would trick ships into running aground. The beers are named after the shipwrecks: the Colborne, the Malauze, the Swordfish, etc. You can purchase beer produced at Le Naufrageur on site. The microbrewery is also a show venue, which means you can count on some serious entertainment!
In the Matapédia Valley, you can sample craft beers at the La Captive microbrewery in Amqui while enjoying a delicious bite to eat. You can’t miss it—the microbrewery is located on Route 132, the main road that runs through the Gaspé Peninsula.
Other microbreweries in the maritime regions of Québec
Outside the Gaspésie region, there are several other microbreweries you can visit. In the Bas-Saint-Laurent, you can taste what the Breughel, Fous Brassants and Le Bien, le Malt microbreweries have to offer. In the Îles de la Madeleine, À l’Abri de la Tempête is known for its La Terre Ferme beer (amber) and Corne de Brume (scotch ale). The Saint-Pancrace microbrewery is new on the scene in the Côte-Nord – Manicouagan region and is scheduled to open its doors in the near future. Although the maritime regions of Québec don’t have much in the way of vineyards, we certainly carry our weight when it comes to producing craft beer!
Why not plan a beer tour on your next trip to the maritime regions of Québec. There are seven microbreweries to visit on the Gaspésie Tour alone. Bottoms up!
Cooking with beer
Here is a recipe you can try with beer from Gaspésie.
Black Beer Champvallon (serves 4)
With thanks to Gaspésie Gourmande (in French only)
- 6 onions, sliced
Black Beer Champvallon
© Gaspésie Gourmande
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 cups beef cubes
- 1½ cups stout (black beer)
- 3 cups beef stock
- 4 potatoes, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- In a frying pan, brown onions in 1 tbsp of butter. Set aside.
- In another frying pan, brown beef cubes in 1 tbsp of butter on medium-high heat. Set aside.
- Pour beer and beef stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat. Set aside.
- Line the bottom of a casserole dish with half the potatoes.
- Add half the onions and all the beef cubes. Place the remaining onions over the beef cubes and cover with remaining potatoes. Pour broth mixture over top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Lower oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 3 more hours.
- Remove from oven and dot 1 tbsp of butter over the potatoes.