Reach for la Rousse


Wherever we went to out to eat in Montreal, we found that the domestic beer landscape was divided between la blonde and la rousse.

We kept going back for la rousse -- slightly nutty, deep reddish brown beer with the subtle flavor of caramel. I love dark beers, but these were different. Not too bitter or malty, Canadian red beer is robust and full-flavored, yet as thirst-quenching as a lighter beer.

My favorite was probably Le Cheval Blanc Rousse, which I had on draught at Bières et Compagnie, but other red beers we came across include Griffon Rousse, Belle Gueule Rousse, Boréale Rousse, and Rickard's Red.

On our last day, we stopped at the Super C across from Atwater Market and grabbed a couple of cases as a liquid souvenir of our trip. I am sad to say that like the fresh bagels and baluchons we took home with us, those bottles are just a memory now.



ooooOOOhhh... what a beautiful shade of deep amber... I'm thirsty just looking at it.


Boreal Rousse is by far the most popular of the "rousses." Sweet and malty, it has a great head and tastes great. It's one of the older microbrews around. It came out about the same time as MacAusalan's "St. Ambroise" pale ale, which is often referred to colloquially as a "rousse" athough it isn't.

"St. A." is in many ways the opposite of Boreal Rousse in that it is hoppy and bitter, which is a very good thing if you like hoppy bitters (like I do).

French Quebecers have a reputation for having a sweet tooth (there is an urban myth that even the McDonalds burger sauce is extra-sweet in Quebec), and I have noticed over the years that there is a slight tendency for francophones to prefer Boreal Rousse and anglophones to prefer St. A. Oh, the anthropology of beer consumption!

Incidently, Rickard's Red is a fake microbrew. It's made by one of the huge domestic breweries to tap into the microbrew market. It's not a bad beer, but it is, nonetheless, a bit of a poser!


blork, thanks for the clarification on Rickard's (I noticed it was a Molson's sub-brand when I went to its Web site), and your beer anthropology is very insightful. I didn't know that Quebecers are known for their sweet tooths.

By the way, that happens to be a Boreale Rousse in the photo above. hp f2024b battery ,


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