Les Trois Mousquetaires - Maibock
Serving Temperature:39-46° F
Suggested Glassware:Dimpled Mug or Pilsner Glass
The Les Trois Mousquetaires Maibock is in fact brewed with 100% Québec malt: specifically Pilsner and Munich varieties. A hefty dose of both Hallertau and Perle hops are used as well, and we were wholly impressed by the amount of character that the brewer managed to coax from such a relatively simple maibock recipe. We plan to dive wholeheartedly into this one.
The LTM Maibock pours quite pale with just a bit of healthy haze to it. We suggest pouring this somewhat gently, as the white foam kicks up easily and lasts for a long time. Overall this is right where we’re like to see a maibock: properly pale, just clear enough without appearing significantly filtered, and with a firm, bone-white head with no interest in going anywhere.
Despite this weighing in at a modest 26 IBUs or so (and incorporating only two hop types), there’s an impressive amount of hop character here. In addition to being a showcase for the underlying malts, the aromatics offer up flowers and herbaceous qualities and even a hint of cut grass. There’s a firm bitterness upon first taste: that familiar edge of hops serving here as a foundational point, a zesty and juicy facet of herbs and spice. It’s not citrus or pine, which wouldn’t work here. It’s a generous hoppiness that still lets those vibrant malt aspects shine.
Maibocks are ultimately a showcase for malts (and Québec malts—in this case). Others have described maibocks as essentially being amped-up German helles, or a less ambitious version of the bock clan—and the reason we absolutely dug the Les Trois Mousquetaires Maibock is because it’s neither of these things. We can’t recall many maibocks that turned our brains on or had us picking apart the nuances in the way that this one did. The Pilsner malt shines here as a comforting mélange of toast, honey, and hay. Munich comes through bready and sweet. This beer lacks none of that nuance of a world-class bock, and left us wanting another glass.
We preferred this one on the cooler side of things, though allowing one’s glass to warm up a bit brought out more and more of those central malts. We dug that initial hop bite, even just as this left the fridge (an unusual sentiment from us, admittedly!). Taste that first glass across a range of temperatures and decide where it is you prefer best. Refill and repeat from there.
The brewery suggests aging this for up to 12 months, and we agree that’s probably around as long as we’d cellar bottles comfortably. The herbal and honey aspects of this maibock make it a firm pairing prospect for roast poultry; the brewery also suggests goat cheese or sausage.
The Québécois good-beer scene is perhaps most renowned for breweries like Unibroue and Dieu du Ciel!, both of which see significant distribution throughout the States, but it’s small-scale operations like Les Trois Mousquetaires that remind us it’s usually way better to visit. Located directly southeast of Montreal, maybe an hour or so north of the Vermont border, the brewery exports only a few occasional offerings, most often their hefty Porter Baltique.
Les Trois Mousquetaires got its start back in 2004, shortly after its three founders had lost their jobs after a production plant was moved to Ontario. Hence the Alexandre Dumas reference: “One for all, all for one.”
Using their experience as production engineers, they decided to purchase a small brewing operation along the north shore of Montreal. (We’re quite glad they did.) In 2008, brewer Alex Ganivet-Boileau took over the brewing responsibilities, and in the years since the company has expanded its lineup from a pair of lagers to its current expansive range of German-style creations. Like the Greater Montreal region itself, the Les Trios Mousquetaires releases—Maibock, Rauchbier, Kellerbier, etc.—conjure an Old-World, European charm.
Some of our members will fondly recall their Sticke Alt. Of the brewery’s German-style offerings, we were particularly thrilled with Alex’s take on that older style—which can be pretty challenging to track down (especially fresh) in the States. Or pretty much anywhere else in the world, aside from Düsseldorf. We were able to secure the Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt as a Rare Beer Club selection a couple years back. Like most of their beers, it utilized 100% Québec-produced malted barley, and to this day it’s still one of the finest examples of that elusive style that we’ve ever tracked down.
This month, we’re pleased to offer our members the opportunity to enjoy this brewery’s take on another style that’s rather challenging to come by. (And in time for its namesake month!) One doesn’t come across too many maibocks—the pale and often more highly hopped style, most usually released around May, within the larger spectrum of potent German-style bocks.
And one definitely doesn’t happen upon too many brewed with Québec-grown malt.
Les Trois Mousquetaires has been working quite closely with the Maltbroue and Frontenac malteries in its home province to use more locally produced malt in its recipes. In the case of a malt-forward style like LTM’s featured maibock, the quality of its locally sourced base (and the execution thereof) speak for themselves. This world-class brewery just celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, and we hope you’ll join us in toasting them to many, many more ahead.
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