As summer approaches, it is your right, nay your duty as a Montrealer to live outside while it’s hot. For four glorious months, life should be all about backyard parties, chilling in the park, sitting around the campfire, and hanging out on the local terrace. For such occasions, session ales are a beer style that compliments the season. They have bold IPA flavors of grapefruit and pine, yet these light beers won't get you buzzed after two bottles. What you want this summer is a high-in-flavor but light-in-alcohol beer that allows you to enjoy a few in a session.
All of the beers that follow are available at most good dépanneurs, grocery stores, or on tap on the island of Montreal. To make the list, they all need to have a brewery in the city and offer a light, easy drinking beer with 5% alcohol or less. None of them have fancy commercials to lure you in, but once you taste them, there’s no going back to the bland stuff your dad drinks.
Photo cred - Broken 7
1. Bieres Brisset - Broken 7 - 5% alc.
This Kölsch-inspired ale is a smooth and well-balanced beer. The style of beer is less bitter than the standard German pale lager (ex: Labatt Blue). Unlike “blond” beers, it is medium bodied, smooth and has a touch of dryness.
Photo cred - Brasseurs Sans Gluten (BSG)
2. Brasseurs Sans Gluten - Blond Ale - 4.5% alc.
This beer is Montreal’s very own gluten-free beer. It is crisp and refreshing, and believe it or not, actually does taste like beer! Dry and citrus-y, the blonde is an easy to drink beer that is a Gold medal winner in its class.
3. McAuslan - India Session Ale - 4.5% alc.
The St-Ambroise session IPA is designed to give all the hop aroma and flavor of a traditional IPA without the high alcohol content. With a lower ABV, this unfiltered IPA is one to enjoy all afternoon.
4. McAuslan - Apricot Wheat Ale - 5% alc.
St-Ambroise apricot wheat ale is a nice summer beer with a subtly sweet taste. It's a light ale with a playful twist. This one also comes in a can which makes it perfect for picnics and camping.
Photo cred - Brasseurs R.J.
5. Les Brasseurs RJ - Belle Gueule Hefeweizen - 5.2% alc.
A style of beer typically served in a Bavarian beer garden on a hot summer's day, the hefeweizen tastes of bananas, orange zest, and cloves. This beer has zero bitterness and Belle Gueule makes the best version in Quebec.
6. Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel - Paienne - 5% alc.
Dieu du Ciel is the premier microbrewery in Quebec and the paienne is their lightest, most accessible beer. This blond has well-balanced flavors and a light bitterness. It’s a thirst-quenching beer and a brand for connoisseurs.
7. Brasseur de Montréal - l’Orientale CHI - 4,5% alc.
This unfiltered pale beer is flavored with ginger and citrus. It tastes fresh and is a cross between a wheat beer and a pale ale. With a burst of freshness and the ginger aroma, this is the most unique beer on the list.
8. Brasseur de Montréal - l’Anglaise London ruby - 3,8% alc.
This mild English amber is what the British call “Bitter” but, actually doesn’t taste bitter at all. It tastes of pure malt, which has a caramel flavor, and is well balanced. This is a smooth beer with a hint of roasted grains but light enough not to make you full.
9. Brasseur de Montréal - La Mexicaine Chihuahua - 3,5% alc.
The chihuahua is a thirst-quenching beer with a light lime flavor. This beer can be enjoyed at any time of year and is your best pick for lime-flavored summer beers. Try it on ice or even mixed with fruit.
Photo cred - Cody L
10. Les Trois Mousquetaires - American Pale Ale - 5% alc.
While not technically in Montreal, Les Trois Mousquetaires are a hop and skip away so, we decided to include them. These come in either a 750 ml corked bottle or smaller 375 ml versions. The “American” in the name adds more hop flavor or, what makes a beer taste citrus-y and bitter. This beer has more punch than others on the list with grapefruit and spicy flavors coming through.