In the craft beer world, it sometimes feels that the breweries of the moment in the U.S. overshadow their humble neighbours to the North. One brewery in particular, Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel, is quite the exception.
Founder and Head Brewer Jean-François Gravel started homebrewing while attending college back in 1991, and after meeting business partner Stephane Ostiguy, they opened their Montreal brewpub back in 1998. A few of their exceptional beers, such as the imperial coffee stout Péché Mortel and pink-hued wheat beer Rosée d’Hibiscus, made the rounds south of the border, encouraging a slew of avid beer hunters to venture out to Quebec in search of their heralded brews.
As of 2017, we’re living in this obsessive climate of whale-hunting (hey, I ain’t mad at it, I’m one of those obsessed ones, too). Being that I’m based in Canada, I can’t help but notice our significant lack beer that might traditionally be thought of as white whale beers. Is it because Canada doesn’t make good enough beer? Hell no. I, for one, have reviewed over 2500 beers with almost 1500 of those coming from Canada, and I can say with certainty that this country has some of the finest beers on the planet, no question.
Canada has always been the little brother to the U.S. and often has the spotlight stolen by its bold, charismatic older sibling. The beer scene is no different. We took a little longer to get started up here, and the last 5 years or so have seen incredible growth in both the number of breweries opening and applying for licenses, and also a sharp incline in the improvement of both the beers and the marketing for them. It seems that the latter points have really pushed Canadian craft beer into the international public eye.
On a recent trip to Burlington, VT, for the podcast, we spoke with Jason Dennis, Beer & Wine Manager of Beverage Warehouse, one of the biggest liquor purchasers in the North East. To our delight, he was enamored with Quebec beer, so much so that half the podcast was focused on QC beer rather than beer from Vermontnt. To me, that speaks volumes for the quality and worldwide potential of Canadian beer. The secret is getting out, and fast — jump in before we start dealing with 1,000-deep lines for new releases.
For our latest podcast, we sat down with Jean-François and Jennifer Nadwodny from Dieu du Ciel during their semi-annual bottle release and really got into the story of the brewery. It was a fascinating chat — check out the highlight video below or kick back for the full nearly 2 hour chat via iTunes. Cheers!