Food Liquids

Review: St. Ambroise Framboise raspberry ale

St. Ambroise Framboise raspberry ale, a curious beer from Montreal that's only around for a limited time.

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.

5 Comments

  1. I have one bottle left. of a four-pack of the St. Ambroise Scotch Ale. Historical note, according to Nicholas Pashley(in Cheers! A History Of Beer In Canada), Jesuit Brother Ambroise was Canada’s first institutional brewer in 1646…for his fellow monks. Malty sweetness with vanilla & butterscotch notes – it’s ok but nothing special(better Scotch Ales out there, like the Kilt Lifter from Pike Brewing). I quite liked Dieu du Ciel’s Equinoxe du Printemps too. a wee heavy(arguably, some would say)made with maple syrup.

    • Iain Ilich

      I’ve got Pashley’s book, and I plan to read it sooner rather than later. 🙂

      Also, if maple is your thing, the maple stout from Cannery is superb.

  2. I just noticed, on the website I mentioned in regard to the Anchor review – http://www.beercook.com , that there’s a recipe for Raspberry Ale Chicken. There’s aqlso one for a raspberry amber marinade, using raspberry preserves & an amber ale. Hmm.

  3. Disappointment to report on the fruit-beer front. The Fernie Brewing Company’s What The Huck, huckleberry wheat ale…I can see it being a good marinade for pork, but ideally bolstered by a good splash of blueberry or saskatoon berry syrup.

    • Iain Ilich

      Thanks! I just recently spotted a bottle of What the Huck at a liquor store, and I was wondering if it was any good. Fruit beers are tough to get right. Sometimes there’s hardly any fruit flavour, and other times they’re dry as a soda cracker. 🙂

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