Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers Microbrewery) was founded in 2004, and while they focus on creating traditional German-style beers, they definitely have applied their own North American treatment. As you'll find in the Weizen Imperiale featured this month, they're not afraid to mix tradition with creative interpretation. Part of their flexibility in this regard lies in their approach to brewing; as head brewer Jonathan Lafortune states himself, "I don't come from the microbiology branch of brewing, I'm more like a chef in a kitchen. The recipes come from my senses, my heart and my passions. I'm an Epicurean."
So then, who are the three musketeers? It’s a bit complicated… Like the heroes of Alexandre Dumas, there are in fact four of them. Jonathan we've already mentioned, though he wasn't actually onboard at the start—he joined the brewery about seven months after it was founded, as the fourth musketeer. While not technically one of the founding musketeers, his coming on board so early permitted him to develop all the beer recipes they currently brew. Sylvain Plourde, Daniel Pion and a third fellow (the original brewer who introduced Jonathan into the mix, and later left the company) were the original three "musketeers" who founded the brewery in June of 2004. The three were coworkers at the famous Imperial Tobacco Montreal. However, when the company closed its Montreal branch in June of 2003, they were all out of work. Right around the same time, they got word of a brewery for sale and decided to take the plunge into the brewing industry. These days, Sylvain handles the accounting and Daniel helps with the production and brewing process. From what Jonathan tells us, these two are mechanical geniuses—they built their own bottling line!? (Anyone who's in the brewing field or has seen these complex machine-beasts in action will realize what a feat of technical mastery this is.) The “new” fourth musketeer is a fellow named Patrice (we didn't get a last name), who is actually the brewery's first "employee," serving in the sales capacity along with Jonathan and Daniel.
Like many brewers, Jonathan Lafortune got his start in brewing as a beer connoisseur. He wanted to improve his skills in tasting the nuances of beer, so he took to homebrewing to expand his knowledge of ingredients and flavors. His entry into professional brewing happened when his friend, the original Les Trois Mousquetaires brewer, asked him if he wanted to brew professionally—he said yes, and got in on the gig. And we have to say, having gone from homebrewer to professional brewer in such a short span of time, this guy's got a real gift. In the past three years, he's created about three dozen beers, ranging from weizenbock to Sticke ("secret") Alt, smoked Scotch ale, and some claim he created a new style known as “Imperial Weizen.” Most of these beers have only been made available on draft at area bars, which makes this month’s feature even more exciting since it’s a 2009 Vintage beer that’s been in the bottle for over a year!