Tuesday 4 February 2014

Brew(ery)Pub Series: Dieu Du Ciel Brewery, 6th Anniversary!

Saturday afternoon, lured by the prospect of world class beer, Adri and I climbed into our car to make the pilgrimage to Dieu Du Ciel's brewery, located in St-Jerome. It was my first time to St-Jerome and I found it to be very typical of small town Quebec, charming and some. Not to mention that the tourist appeal of any town is positively impacted by the addition of a microbrewery - especially one as successful as DDC.

By the time we arrived - after a short detour in no small part thanks to the awkward directions google maps gave us - it had began to snow. The falling snow made me even more impatient to get inside. When we walked through the door we were greeted by a line-up of people filled towards the bar and a lot of empty tables - definitely not what I was expecting, and to be honest we were rather confused. Though I must note that this was my first experience at an anniversary event, and I did not know quite what to expect.

While waiting in line Adri spotted T.J, from Beerism, and his partner. They explained to her that the bar was the only spot to get served at, so no table service. On the bright side, Adri did find us a pretty good spot to sit, and in the meantime I queued. The line felt like an eternity, because everyone was ordering three to four glasses/bottles of beer at a time, and to further exacerbate the wait time, most taps were filling up pitchers of foam. But I was lucky enough to have the company of, as well as an awesome conversation with, the MaltyTasker while waiting to get my order. 

I spent my time in line annoyed, happy, excited - just a lot of mixed emotions - and with all that going through my head it slipped my mind to decide on what I should order. By the time I got to the front I had decided on four beers: "Derniere Volonte" pinot noir barrel, "Solstice D'Hiver" bourbon barrel (2012), "Rigor Mortis ABT" (2010), and "ArcheoPorter" - the Dieu Du Ciel/ Trou Du Diable collaboration (suggested by MaltyTasker). But when I finally got to speak to the server I began second guessing my decision. I could see the server starting to get annoyed by my constant glances at the chalkboard, so quickly I stuck to my original idea. I shouted out all four beers in quick succession; it was loud and the server could not quite hear me, so I shouted them out again, but she had already walked away to pour one. She started to pour one of them out, but all that came out of the tap was foam... She waited for the foam to settle, and by the time she brought me the beer she could not remember what I had ordered, and at that point neither could I. So, I shouted out what I believed to be the same four beers. A few moments later she placed them on the counter and recited which one was which, but by then I could care less which one was which - I just wanted beer. All that anticipation just to have possibly botched my order.

All was not lost however, I finally sat down with Adri and we took our first sips of our long awaited beers... They were fantastic! Well worth the wait - and no I did not botch the order. After all that time standing, waiting, ordering, and sitting we started to get hungry. This time it was Adri's turn to wait the line while I got to sit down, relax, and enjoy what was a wonderful "Solstice D'Hiver" (2012) bourbon barrel aged. Lucky for us the line was no longer what it was, and Adri was able to order in under 10 minutes. 

A couple brief - if vague - notes on the beers. Adri really enjoyed the "Derniere Volonte" pinot noir barrel, as did I. It was complex, however, the pinot noir did not really come through as I expected i.e. overpowering the yeasty phenols and delicate hop notes with a vinous character; a well crafted beer.  The "Solstice D'Hiver" (2012) bourbon barrel aged had a very smooth mouth feel, the alcohol notes were not overpowering, and the sweetness was perfectly balanced; another success. I did not favour the "Rigor Mortis ABT" (2010), all I got was the warming sensation from the alcohol. And, for the "Piece de Resistance" the collaborative brew between DDC/TDD, "ArcheoPorter", a sour ale aged in red wine barrels. I love vinous flavours in beer, and to my content they did not hold back on this one having aged it for 15 months! It was sour, vinous, strong - but not overwhelmingly so, a perceived flavour of brown sugar, and finishing with a slight bitterness. A very complex and easy drinking beer, at 10.5% that says something. 

We ordered the "Cote de Boeuf IPA". And what better to go with IPA ribs than a glass of DDC's famous IPA collaboration with Vermont's The Alchemist, "Moralite", dry hopped with Simcoe and served fresh from a cask! (once again a MaltyTasker recommendation). Things seemed to be moving at a much faster pace in the kitchen, we received our food a few short moments after ordering it. Here is a brief critique of the ribs: the flavour was excellent; they were smokey with great BBQ tang; the meat was tender; however it contained tough, rubbery connective tissue that really detracted from the experience. The french fry's and dip however, were amazing - no complaints, only praise. Given that this only cost $12.50 is crazy to imagine. This was an awesome plate and we both recommend it. And not to forget the glorious glass of "Moralite" that was beyond description amazing!

During our time there I took the opportunity to take some photos of the brewery, that proved more difficult than I would have thought due to the light reflecting off of the windows. To be honest with you, I expected the brewery to be a whole lot bigger, but then again I do not really know what a brewery of their size should look like. Hopefully, soon we will come back to take a tour of the brewery, maybe even watch them in action!

The place packed up pretty quickly after we got there, but the line steadily died down, though ever present. After about two hours of drinking and eating we took off. We left just in time, before the road conditions worsened. We got to meet awesome fellow bloggers, and tasted some of the best beers in Quebec... the World!? Overall, we had a wonderful experience. 

I am on the fence about not having bought any of the rare bottle aged beers they had explicitly for the 6th anniversary celebration - here is hoping that they have more next year! 

Again, thanks for reading about our awesome experience at Dieu Du Ciel's brewery in St-Jerome. Do go and visit, but please, do not expect to find too much in the way of rare barrel aged beers. That being said, you will drink awesome beer, eat very good food, and have a wonderful time.


- Jean

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