I’ve made it to the final night of the #8BeersOfChanukah and I’ve even spent a few nights in Montreal during this year’s festival of lights – with a visit to my parents to light the candles for the first time in probably 17+ years. I even succeeded in writing all 8 posts while bouncing between Montreal, Toronto, and London, ON during this past week. But the one thing I haven’t done is go rogue with a Quebecois beer during this time – until today, that is.

The final beer of Chanukah is Boréale Rousse from Les Brasseurs du Nord based in Blainville, QC – an entirely cromulent red beer that was my initiation into non-macro brews many moons ago at the turn of the century. Back then, a 6-pack used to cost $6.99 and life was simple. I consumed vast quantities of this beer while I was in university, turning my nose up at people’s 40s of Wildcat at parties. I paid around $18 for a mixed 12-pack of 341 mL bottles at the dépanneur across the street to end the night after visiting Siboire, Dieu du Ciel and Isle de Garde earlier in the day.

This OG brewery has greatly expanded their product lineup since those early days of beer rebellion and updated their branding, but the beer still tastes how I remember it. The Quebecois have a longstanding tradition of red beers that the Ontario craft beer scene has not caught up with, which balances in the end since Quebecois IPAs leave a lot to desired.

Appearance: Filtered amber colour with a lasting beige head.

Aroma: Caramel aroma with lots of vegetal notes. Very malty on the nose.

Taste: Toasted malt, pie crust, hay.

Aftertaste: Lingering simple biscuit flavour.

Food pairing: Une poutine, tabarnak.

Overall: A very simple beer, it reminds me of home and the freedom of being in my late teens / early twenties. Have a bottle or two if you are kicking around Montreal.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around. A dedicated Booze Hound, Shawna completed the Wine Specialist Certificate at George Brown College in 2018.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com

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