Had a mad dash up to the nation's capital the last few days during which I forced 6 members of my family to sit in a parking lot while I hit Marche Jovi in Gatinueau for a quick buy. I was disconcerted to see the new awnings and name - Marche Omni - and feared beer was not going to be the focus it had been. How wrong I was. There is an additional 25-30% shelf space with new brewers and new brands well represented that are practically unknown a few miles south and west into Ontario. I picked up beer by:
- Microbrasserie Charlevoix from Baie-Saint-Paul including their well loved double and a Vache Folle ESB,
- Trois Mousquetaires out of Brossard including a six of their basic blond beer. You can tell a lot about a brewery based on how they treat their moneymaker as opposed to their show pieces.
- Brasseaurs Illimites based on St. Eustache - a six of well made and well priced Simple Malt Cascade IPA at $11.99,
- A growlers of La Courlieu, 5.9% Belgian blond ale from Microbrasserie le Naufrageur out of Carelton-sur-mer in far eastern Gaspe,
- a couple from Microbrasserie de l'Ile d'Orleans from oddly enough l'Ile d'Orleans,
- A 9% strong ale from Microbrasserie le Grimoire from Granby called L'Infernales,
- one from Le Bilboquet of St.-Hyacinthe, an IPA named after General Cornwallis whose statute I used to pass on undergrad pub crawls...or was it?
- Microbrasserie La Chouape of Saint Felicien near Lac Saint-Jean, and
- another, an IPA, from Microbrasserie La Barberie from Quebec City.
And a bunch more, too. It is a fine collection and, as I said, one that continues to grow under the same ownership that oversaw the shop under the old name. As I packed the van, Marcel, the man in charge whose last name I really need to remember was looking out the window. He had looked pretty busy and I was borrowing time from three generations of the clan but I waved and he waved me back in. He had a couple of bottled set aside he wanted me to try, two special releases by Microbrasserie Charlevoix including a 2009 Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus that I am eager to try after reading the RateBeer comments. Marcel showed me where he would be adding even more space in April, a cross between geek and businessman who knows he is leading the area on a good idea. Like always, petty keen service and one that seems to have a good grasp on the bottles to highlight and the ones that don't continue to get shelf space. Happy to shop there and will again.