I quite like the St. Ambroise pale ale made by Montreal’s McAuslan Brewing, a beer that grew on me during repeated visits to Quebec. From watching shows in makeshift venues at Pop Montreal to reading the paper at Ziggy’s on Crescent Street, a cold St. Ambroise pale ale helped complete the Montreal experience on more than one occasion.
Since then, I’ve tried a couple of other St. Ambroise beers, and I was curious to sample the new summer seasonal Framboise (that means raspberry), which showed up at my friendly neighbourhood Edmonton liquor boutique.
The Look: Comes in a 4-pack, not the standard 6. Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a foamy dull pink head that lasts. Nice lace, too.
The Taste: The raspberry leaps out from the first sniff of aroma, as does a distinctive yeast smell. Lightly sweet with lots of tartness and bitterness. The raspberry is at the front, though the aroma is fresher than the taste. The hops are grassy, not floral. It’s more astringent than I was expecting, more challenging than easy-drinking. I think I like it, but I wouldn’t want more than one in a session.
Pairs With: Nice on its own, to be sipped on the deck. Could work with sweet berry desserts or grilled red meat.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $9.99 for a 4-pack of 341 mL bottles at Devine Wines in Edmonton.
Value for cash money: Decent. Easy math says $2.50 per bottle.
Availability: Limited. It’s only available in the summer. Locations in Alberta can be found online through the fancy Liquor Connect database.
Nutrition?: It’s beer. Moderation, baby.
Beerish power: 5 % a.b.v.
The verdict: Nice. Manages to bring plenty of raspberry flavour to a beer without even remotely flirting with the vodka-cooler category. Complicated enough to challenge your taste buds.