In late February, Brasserie Artisanale Gallicus celebrated their second anniversary. Since the ongoing public health restrictions have meant that they weren’t able to throw a big party at their location in Gatineau, they invited six other breweries from across Gatineau and wider Québec to create a limited edition 6-pack of collaboration brews to mark the occasion.
Designed in collaboration with local artist Pauline Savey, the fantastically unique artwork on the cans of this series tells the story of the cosmic misadventures of an astronaut as he ventures into space to find a candle and the Gallicus birthday cake. It’s a very well executed idea and really contributes to the “gotta catch em all” feel of this limited run.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the beers!
Aérostat (5e Baron)
Brewed in collaboration with Gatineau newcomers 5e Baron, Aérostat is an Oat Cream IPA is based around a trio of relatively unknown New Zealand hops— Wai-ti, Waimea and Wakatu.
It boasts an interesting bouquet of zesty lime and floral accents alongside some more traditional peach and mango juiciness. A certain citrus zestiness continues on the palate, with a smattering of hoppy greenness and pine in the back end. Its the body that really shines though, as the oats and lactose would well in tandem to produce a wonderfully creamy body that smoothes out the greenness, without being too dusty or chalky. It does, however, tend to mute a bit of the hoppy punch you might expect from this kind of brew, both on the nose and the palate. That being said, its a well executed beer that showcases the Kiwi hops nicely!
Orionides (Brasserie du bas canada)
Orionides is a Sour IPA brewed with Brasserie du Bas Canada, featuring Citra and Hallertau Blanc hops and over 390 kilograms of blackcurrant and blackberries, yielding a total of 250 grams of fruit per litre.
This is certainly apparent, as blackurrant and blackberry aromas burst off the beer instantly, delivering a rich deep fruitiness that is complimented nicely by some subtle gooseberry and grape accents from the hops, adding a little sharpness to proceedings. Tart blackcurrant notes continue on the palate joined by a pretty punchy acidity and a slightly pithy grapefruit bitterness in the finish. All this is carried by a slick, smooth and juicy body that leaves some great fruit lacing. Towards the back, an earthy bitterness comes out, vying with the general acidity but ultimately finding a fairly good balance. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the clash of hops and fruit in Sour IPAs but this was well done and very tasty.
Next up is Icare, a collaboration with Montreal’s Brewskey. This Triple IPA clocks in at 10.5% ABV and is dry-hopped with Strata, Nelson Sauvin and El Dorado.
It opens up with some wonderfully dank Strata aromas, underscored by notes of sweet canned pineapple, overripe mango, juicy passionfruit, berries and a subdued, but detectable vinous Nelson Sauvin sharpness on the back of each sniff. As expected from a TIPA, it’s incredibly sweet and boozy on the sip, but some delicious juicy notes also shine through, with pineapple, passionfruit and mango leading the way. Indeed, the body really brings out the juiciness as the sugary maltiness makes for a fleshy, round texture at first, which then becomes slick and oily in the finish, bringing with it more dank, grassy and piney notes. A sustained alcohol burn replaces any hoppy bitterness and serves to undercut the sweetness quite well, although it could have been reduced a little bit more.
Heading to Québec next, Astro Coco was brewed in collaboration with Brasserie Générale. It’s an Imperial Sweet Stout brewed with over 200 pounds of grilled coconut, as well as cacao nibs, lactose and Magnum hops. It also pushes the limits of permissible ABVs, weighing in at a hefty 11.9%.
If you’re not into coconut, this isn’t a beer for you. Big Bounty bar aromas waft off the can, with chocolate and coconut aromas mixing into a sweet and nutty bouquet that is deliciously rich and inviting. It’s initially very sweet on the sip, but the malt profile leans more into the toasted nutty side of things, with the milk chocolate flavours becoming a nice sweet accent. In terms of body, it packs the kind of creamy, unctuous mouthfeel that’s about right for what essentially amounts to a boozy liquid Bounty. Indeed, the alcohol is almost entirely absent and the beer ends with a touch of (coco)nuttiness and only small dash of chocolate bitterness.
Brewed with Épitaphe, Cavalcade is Table Beer dry-hopped with Saaz and Strisselspalt. This lends some really interesting aromas to the brew, which boasts some great earthy, herbal and spicy notes up front coupled with lots of rustic grass, hay and grains in the back. A little more citrus flavour comes out on the palate, with a light, effervescent body carrying forward fresh notes of lemon that compliment the Belgian yeast spice and general grassiness of the beer very well. It finishes nice and dry and grassy with a hint of citrus bitterness. It’s also great to see something a little more traditional in this pretty on-trend 6-pack.
Objectif Carottes (À La Dérive)
Finally, the series is completed with Objectif Carottes, a carrot-cake inspired pastry stout brewed with À La Dérive. There are no marketing gimmicks here though as the beer doesn’t actually feature the cake itself, but rather a combination of vanilla, cinnamon, pecans and carrots to emulate the flavour of the dessert.
Of course, like the dessert, this beer doesn’t actually taste of carrots, despite plenty being included in the mash. Instead, the carrots add a ton of natural sweetness without any of the vegetal texture or flavour. As such, the beer is incredibly sweet, giving off sweet vanilla and biscuit aromas from the get go, topped with a general spice from the cinnamon. This continues on the palate, with lots of caramel and biscuit notes and a hint of nuttiness from the Pecan. While the sugariness gets quite intense after a while, it is cut slightly in the finish by the Columbus hops and some chocolatey bitterness.
Perhaps the only issue though is that for a cake inspired pastry stout, the body is quite thin, not quite delivering the “cake batter” experience many might expect. Even so, it’s plenty sweet enough already, so probably doesn’t need it!
It’s an impressive feat to coordinate this many collaborations and Samy at Gallicus has done an excellent job. All of the beers are unique and interesting and the 6-pack offers a solid variety, even between similar styles. While things lean sweet, the Sour IPA and Table Beer also offer some nice refreshing respite.
I think this experience will also mark a new direction for Brasserie Gallicus, who will have learned a lot from their experienced neighbours and colleagues from across Québec. After all, what are collaborations for but sharing ideas and knowledge?
Here’s to many more years Gallicus! Bonne fête!
An Article by Mike Davis
Photography by Noah Forrest