Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
When it comes to beer, the U.S. might as well be singing "Oh, Canada!"
Think about it: Molson Coors at least has a hand in distributing two of the big three beer brands in the U.S. (Coors and Miller). Budweiser, now owned by Belgian company InBev, composes the other third of the market. That means American-owned brewers actually compose the smallest segment of the market, while Canadian-owned brewers are (at least somewhat) responsible for the largest!
That just means the checks for all that crap beer we drink get cashed a little bit further north these days.
But Canada's not all lagers and ice-brewed swill. The country has a
decent craft beer contingent that holds tight to rich, European
beer-making tradition. That's especially true in Quebec, home to both
Unibroue and McAuslan, a pair of pretty cool breweries with
French/Belgian backgrounds. The only problem is in Canada, the
corporate brew houses have an even tighter stranglehold on the market
than America. Hard to believe.
Still, you can pick up brews from both Unibroue and McAuslan here in South Florida.
Fans of Unibroue may know the Montreal brewer's big, bad beers such as
La Fin Du Monde and Don De Dieu. La Fin Du Monde -- translated as "The
End of the World" -- is a yeasty, golden Belgian tripel with a
spice-forward taste and a high-alcohol kick (9% ABV). Just a couple of
those will really have you believing it's the end of days.
A bit on the lighter side is St. Ambroise Pale Ale, McAuslan's
flagship brew. Its Belgian-style sweetness is tempered by a very
biscuity malt flavor and earthy pale ale-style yeast. There's a fair
amount of hops present as well, but the real draw is the sweet,
easy-drinking malt that makes St. Ambroise a great session beer (plus,
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it's only 5% alcohol by volume).
Both brews are a little taste of the real Canada, and both are widely
available at stores like ABC Liquor, Total Wine, Crown Liquors, Whole
Foods, and Fresh Market.