Despite being ludicrously popular since the very dawn of time itself, beer has somehow become even more beloved in recent years, thanks in no small part to the the explosion of microbreweries, and the gloriously well-stocked beer bars that sling their wares (and occasionally brew them themselves). Here are the 11 finest examples Montreal has to offer...
Aside from a roster of whimsically named home-brews (see Agent Orange, The Ptit Dej, etc.), L’Espace Public also has a dozen guest brews from nearby micros, and a great calendar full of DJs, artists, and musicians who stop by to show off their stuff.
What you're drinking: A pint of the draft Gary Carter, an American pale named for the awesome Expos player.
Staying Downtown or new to the city? Since 1997, Brutopia has been a part of the long list of bars Montrealers ramble off when someone from out of town asks them for a good brew pub close to their dorm/hotel/first apartment they blindly bought Downtown. Since it’s nestled smack dab in the middle of Crescent St (a favorite desto for younger drinkers), you may have already been here during some sort of sorority pub crawl, but we hope you check it out when you’re at least half out of the bag. This place has three floors, three terrasses, and is open from 3pm to 3am every day, which makes it a favourite for neighbouring chefs after their kitchens close, too.
What you're drinking: Their Extra Blonde, made w/ malt specially shipped in from Munich.
Another staple of Montreal's buzzing nightlife is St. Denis, and Le Saint-Bock is right bang in the middle of it. With over forty beers on tap at any given night, this micro dedicates almost half of them to their own brews, while filling the rest with some of Quebec’s finest.
What you're drinking: Play roulette with their 15+ home-brew taps.
Like many places in Montreal, Dieu du Ciel! has a little deck outside during the Summer to catch some rays and grab a few apps, and having brewed literally hundreds of beers in their time, DdC always puts at least a dozen of them on the taps at any given time.
What you're drinking: Their crazy-popular stout Aphrodisiaque will likely make pretty much everyone look more beautiful.
A name you’ll become acquainted with in the deps and grocery stores of Quebec is Le Cheval Blanc. Lucky for you, their brewpub is located right here in Montreal, so you get to enjoy their beers straight from the tap. Located just on the outskirts of The Village, Le Cheval Blanc’s bar is a dark, pub-like hangout, and like many namesake pubs in the city, expect a crowd while vacation season is at its peak. But we promise you, the crowd is there for a reason.
What you're drinking: Their Red Rice, a Japanese-type red ale, is both rare and delicious enough to merit your attention.
Depending on the night you step foot in this La Petit brewpub, you’ll be welcomed by either a rowdy back room, or a few guys playing the foosball table. They serve both international bottles and their own, but be ready to pay for those that are from outside of Quebec. This place also serves killer bar food, so be sure to order a thing or two off the menu.
What you're drinking: Their home-brew saison is always a solid bet.
Do you like cheese, sausage, and beer? Congratulations, you're human. And you'll also probably love Vices & Versa. Like many micros in town, a lot of love went into this pub, but finding the perfect place was very important for the two owners since the beginning. Tucked by the train tracks at St. Zotique and Little Italy, the bar was made just for those younger imbibers who were looking for a place to grab a good brew in their price range and in their neighbourhood.
What you're drinking: The Black IPA from nearby Brasserie Dunham.
It’s about time Centre-Sud got its own beer bar. The quaint Station Ho.st comes from the masterminds at Hopfenstark microbrewery. Its minimalist rustic, wooden interior makes sure it doesn’t take away from the incredible brews it has on tap and cask. Incidentally, Station Ho.st also has a great whiskey selection and a small bar menu. What really sets this place apart from the rest, though, is that you can actually bring in your own food to pair with their beers.
What you're drinking: Discover the Boson de Higgs... the Berliner Rauch Saison from local Hopfenstark brewery.
If you've ever wandered/biked down the canal during the Summertime, you probably have seen a sizable crowd at the Terrasses St-Ambroise. This is not a coincidence. With six year-round ales, a ton of regularly rotating seasonal brews, and a huge terrasse (duh) to enjoy them on, St-Ambrose more than earns its place on this list.
What you're drinking: Their Oatmeal Stout has won awards, and for good reason.
While the list of bars on Mile End/Plateau warrants its own "best of" list, a microbrasserie that we’ve got our eye on is HELM. Using more than 90% of grains grown in Quebec in their beer and working with as many products as they can from local sources for their menu, this bar is setting out to be a staple in Mile End -- with nice decor, a great location, and a good atmosphere. The food is a tad on the expensive side, but since they're slinging the likes of, um, deer burgers and salmon ceviche, it’s somewhat expected.
What you're drinking: Their Clark pilsner is refreshing to say the least.
With their own brews on tap, a slew of privately imported beers, and a menu that wrestles their great suds for the limelight, Grises is the one place where visitors can experience another, slightly more modern side of the city while in Old Montreal.
What you're drinking: The Bitter Superior IPA is not only made with hops, but with hop flowers, too.
1. L'Espace Public3632 Rue Ontario Est, Montreal
2. Brutopia1219 Rue Crescent St., Montreal
3. Le Saint-Bock1749, rue Saint-Denis, Montréal
4. Dieu du Ciel!29 Ave Laurier Ouest, Montréal
5. Le Cheval Blanc809 rue Ontario Est, Montréal
6. Broue Pub Brouhaha5860 ave. de Lorimier, Montréal
7. Vices & Versa Bistro Du Terroir6631 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
8. Station Ho.st1494 Ontario, Montréal H2L 1S3
9. La Terrasse St-Ambroise5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise, Montreal
10. HELM273 rue Bernard O., Montréal
11. Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises32 rue McGill, Montreal
If you don’t take yourself too seriously and love your beer, L’Espace Public is the bar you’ve been dreaming of. Located in Hochelaga, this brew bar also has a great calendar full of DJs, artists, and musicians who stop by to show off their stuff.
This three-story pub on Crescent Street offers both classic (think Nut Brown Ale) and seasonal (Maibocks, Cream Ales, and Smoked Porters) suds, many of which are brewed in-house.
If it wasn't for a helpful/knowledgable staff, it'd probably be pretty tough to pick just one beer from their selection of more than 20, many of which are house brewed. And their food? Yeah, you're gonna want to try that too, considering some of it is cooked with said beer.
This microbrewery and pub features beers infused with everything from hibiscus to coffee. One of the most popular brews: a creamy cocoa vanilla stout aptly named the Aphrodisiaque (ooh la la!).
This brew pub boasts an impressive menu of over 20 handpicked international beers and eight of their own ales, like their Coup de Grisou Hefeweizen.
With both house-brewed and "guest keg" selections, this Rosemont borough brewpub serves some of the most unique beers in Montreal.
VIces & Versa offers many local beers and ciders as well as local seasonal food. Wash down pub grub like pulled pork poutine and fries served with Imperial Stout-infused mayo with their 33 craft beers on tap. In the summer, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot in Montreal to soak up the sun and grab drinks with your friends. The seating is set up as long communal tables, so you can drink, eat and make new friends at the same time.
This quaint Centre-Sud beer bar comes from the masterminds at Hopfenstark microbrewery. Its minimalist rustic, wooden interior makes sure it doesn’t take away from the incredible brews it has on tap and cask.
The St-Ambroise is a large outdoor patio outside the McAuslan brewery where you can enjoy seasonal and artisan brews (while you watch them being made). The terrace also has a BBQ menu with items like the Griffon Red pulled pork sandwich, which not only highlights the flavors in your beer, it's made with them. Another great aspect of the sweeping patio is that dogs are welcome, so bring your four-legged friend and chill out under the shadow of the silos.
The people at HELM are solely focused on three things: beer, food, and ping pong. And that is a winning combination.
With a lot of bars to compete with in this bustling tourist district, Les Soeurs Grises is doing one hell of a job keeping true to their quirky selves. With their own brews on tap, a slew of privately imported beers, and a menu that wrestles their great suds for the limelight, it’s one place where visitors can experience another side of the city while in Old Montreal.