Tuesday 11 March 2014

Specialty Beer Shops: La Glacière de l'est (Boucherie AAA)

When Adri and I heard about a hybrid beer store-butcher shop we thought to treat ourselves to some nice (non-prepackaged) steaks, but when we heard that it was in Tétreaultville - well - we just had to go, so we put on our jackets and hopped in the car. Weekdays can be busy so we do not always have time to eat a nice, thick, juicy steak, come Friday night I could almost hear my stomach calling out to me, "Steak! Beer!!". So off we were to La Glacière de l'est (Boucherie AAA), situated on des Ormeaux Street right below Sherbrooke Street.

The place is a little hard to find; first of all it is setback about 20 feet from the sidewalk, and secondly there is a KFC plopped right at the corner of Sherbrooke and des Ormeaux that completely overshadows the store. Luckily the building is adorned with bold-red steel panelling, otherwise we may have had to resort to a bucket of fried chicken... SO make sure to keep an eye out for Boucherie AAA as the sign to the beer store is rather small.

Walking up to the front door of the Beer-Butcher shop we saw a sign holding open the door, on it the word "Bières" and an arrow pointing us through a doorway and down into La Glacière de l'est! Do not take the name lightly, they mean it quite literally - there is no heating, which makes the shop just the right temperature to enjoy your beer as soon as you get home. The interior is wall to wall wood, with large shelving units and a mostly empty back corner space. Wall to wall shelving units line the edges and make the store feel almost empty. Though it may appear empty, the store is overflowing with good beer. In fact their selection is as good as any other specialty beer store - and they have not yet finished redesigning the space... I wonder what they keep behind the blue door?

I had a chance to speak with a very knowledgeable sales person, and he enlightened me as to the history of this little beer store. Originally, the butcher shop upstairs had one or two shelves full of beer, but with no more space to accommodate the growing demand they needed a solution. After - I am sure - many beers, and possibly someone falling down into the cellar, they arrived at a most logical solution, put the beer in the cellar! And voila a new beer store was born. And as I mentioned above the store is not yet completed. As he mentioned to me, the back area where the barrel is will have wall to wall refrigerating units, and for the warmer months they will add a cooling system. With the near perfect climactic conditions expect fresh beer year-round.

So what did we buy? Well, as per usual I asked for a beer that was recently released and preferably a fresh arrival, he suggested Pit Caribou's No. 13 Tennessee Imperial Porter. On the lighter side, we also grabbed a bottle of Juke Box's Blonde - American Pale Ale. Now that we had our beer we needed a nice slab of bloody meat to go with them.

We walked out of the cold beer cellar and out into the colder Montreal air... and quickly through the other door and into the butcher shop. When we walked in we were greeted by a pair of young men - it is nice to see younger generations picking up what is (maybe was) a dying trade. We ordered two, one pound New York strip loins. My god were we ever excited to eat those steaks - they looked so good. We paid up and bolted home with eager impatience to feast on beer and steak but I am sad to say that I over cooked the steaks - what a shame... I have to brush up on my cooking skills. 

Overall, the experience was great. The beer store is staffed by beer-geeks, and the butcher shop's young apprentices are making miracles one slice at a time. Do take the time to check out La Glacière de l'est (Boucherie AAA), and make sure to go with an empty stomach! And, just maybe you will find out what is behind the blue door...


- Jean

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