I visited two breweries in Quebec City while I was in town. La Barberie was the older of the two and has been around for over 10 years. Noctem is very young and yet still managed to impress me heavily.
La Barberie is a small space that gets packed quickly with people either ordering flights or full pours of beers. It has a very traditdional feel to it and doesn’t get too loud. They had a large flight available of 8 beers which gave me a good mix of styles. The only disappointing thing for me was that their hoppy beers are very traditional and lack the modern flair that has become common in California and elsewhere.
I started with a ginger and lime beer which was very tasty with a good mix of lime on the front and ginger on the back end very subtle. The coffee stout was delicious and smooth with tons of coffee flavor and very nutty. The Bier de Miel farmhouse ale was really tasty with a ton of lemon and spice and a mild sweet finish, a very tasty saison. The pilsner was quite earthy and chewy with a peppery finish, very nice.
The English style red ale was quite bitter and fruity, pretty traditional and not my thing. The IPL was quite strongly bitter with lots of pine and floral hops and some earthy malt flavors. The gose was a little fruity and a little salty, silky smooth and not too tart. I wasn’t expecting something very sour but after they recommended I save this for last it made me expect something a bit more sour. The final beer is meant to be a sangria style beer and it was unlike anything I had tasted before. It had tons of raisin and grape notes from the malts and a sweet finish with hints of red wine. I would pass on that one in the future for other better beers.
Bier de Miel (saison)
Unlike La Barberie, Noctem is a noisy bar atmosphere that I wasn’t interested in staying at very long. The beers I tried were very tasty but it was so loud that I didn’t stay after my four tasters. I tried the sour saison, which was fruity and mildly bitter with notes of grapefruit and lemon. The stout they had on was made with grapefruit and pepper, an unexpected combination that actually worked really well. The acidity from the grapefruit balanced nicely with the pepper and it was quite nice. Their house IPA was a delicious mix of pine and grapefruit with a strong bitter finish, very impressive. The apricot sour was delicious and smooth with tons of fruit character. I would have ordered more of it except for the music playing was so loud.
Though I had read some mixed reviews for Noctem prior to visiting I was quite impressed by their beers overall, though the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired.