The craft beer movement in the US has rippled throughout the world. One of the most exciting and emerging beer scenes is in Canada, and the seat of this appears to be in Québec. Some countries, notably those with firm traditions in brewing, have been resistant to or even dismissive of American "interpretations" and experimentation with classic styles, or the bombastic (some have said "irresponsible") amount of malts and hops used in the more extreme offerings in the American craft beer scene. But the Québecois have embraced this 'open-to-interpretation' approach to brewing, and a little brewpub called Dieu Du Ciel! (the exclamation mark is part of the name) in Montréal is a great example. The brewer who started the place began his career as a homebrewer, with no formal brewing training, but he has impeccable instincts. Those instincts have led to a recently opened production microbrewery based in St-Jérôme, Québec, and very recently, a second brewpub (attached to the new brewery).
The name Dieu Du Ciel! is a common French expletive that translates roughly to "God in Heaven!" (which these days is roughly equivalent to "oh my God!") Brewmaster Jean-François Gravel came up with the name in 1993 to describe his homebrewed beers. As he says, he likes the humorous connotation of the name—there's a certain boldness in naming the brewery after an expletive that he got a kick out of—but he also felt that it "made [appropriate] reference to the Québecois culture, dominated for so long by the clergy, and the Belgian culture of fine brewing."
In our assessment, this place is doing things just right. Not only is the beer world class and daring, the beer labels are interesting and attractive. The whole strategy here is to elevate beer and the crafting of beer to higher levels, highlighting the artistry and skill that goes into each one. Sure, you may say, if the beer tastes great, who cares about the packaging, but these folks are treating beer, from formulation to creation to distribution, with the respect it deserves. We loudly applaud them for it, and think that after checking out their distinctive beers featured below, you'll feel the same way. Enjoy!
We strongly encourage a visit to the Québec beer scene—starting in Montréal at the Dieu De Ciel! brewpub. They even offer an apartment above the brewpub for visitors to rent. Since they opened their doors in August 1998, they've brewed a staggering assortment of 73+ beers! At any one time, you can expect 15 fresh beer taps with at least one cask offering. Check out their website for more information, and plan your visit (we are!) www.dieuduciel.com.