In the weeks and months of confinement occasioned by the COVID pandemic, people found new ways of passing the time. It was an opportunity to take on all of those if-I-only-had-the-time projects that we never have the time for. For me, one of those pandemic projects was beer.
Now before you get the wrong idea: I didn’t drink more beer; I drank better beer. Let me explain.
Phil Bertrand, cégep professor and a good friend of ours from the horse world, recently turned one of his dreams into reality. He and three business partners opened a microbrewery. Phil has been a hobbyist beer maker for years, tweaking his recipes and experimenting with different ingredients during his non-working hours. In fact, many of his working hours as well were spent studying the science of beer making; those of us who know him from the stables can picture him mucking stalls while listening to beer-geek podcasts on fermentation and dry hopping. This passion for brewing, along with an ample dose of entrepreneurial spirit, led to Brasserie la Fosse’s grand opening in December of 2019. Situated in Donnacona, a riverside town just to the southwest of Québec City, La Fosse has a dozen or so tables in front, a jungle of stainless-steel vats in back, and some of THE BEST BEER I’VE EVER HAD!
When the second wave of COVID hit last winter and Québec was slowed once again by shutdowns and curfews, my wife and I set out to systematically determine which of La Fosse’s beers was our favorite. And with the brewery’s dining room closed for COVID, we’d have to do this at home. So, I followed the brewery on Facebook and hurried to Donnacona every time they announced the release of a new batch of brew. After several snowy beer runs, we had accumulated a critical mass of La Fosse’s offerings. Then, evening by evening, we opened one or two of their colorful cans, tasting the contents and noting our impressions.
Now here’s where I must admit that neither my wife nor I are beer aficionados – we are merely beer drinkers – but we went about our endeavor as scientifically as our palates would allow. As the confinement continued, we drank our way toward the Best in Show, eliminating the beers we liked less, moving our favorites on to the next round. Our kitchen radiator became a shelf for dead soldiers, each empty can holding a post-it note with his and hers numeric ratings.
By summer, the radiator was full, and the results were in: For Maggie, the Scuriolūs Rousse is best. It is a malty red beer with a curious name: Scuriolus is latin for squirrel; Les Écureuils (The Squirrels) is a neighborhood in Donnacona . For me, the Hyperion tops the list. I do not usually order IPAs when I am out for a drink, but this one is simply sublime. Hyperion is the name of the tallest tree on the planet – a fitting name for my favorite beer at the brewery, if you ask me. We need to confirm these results, of course. October is known to be a time for drinking beer, isn’t it?
If you’ve already tried La Fosse’s beers, tell me which one you like best. If you haven’t tried their beers yet, tell me when you are coming to Québec, so I can take you there!