Monday, December 28, 2015

Le Trèfle Noir Brewery

One of the most impressive breweries that we encountered at La Soirée des Brasseurs in Shawinigan, QC in August of 2015 was Le Trèfle Noir, from the copper mining town of Rouyn-Noranda. "Noranda" is a contraction of Northern Canada and it lays directly in between the bottom of Hudson Bay and Toronto, 380 north of Canada's largest city. The northern most east-west highway in North America passes through it. So, to say that it's out of the way... yeah, just a bit.

Le Trèfle Noir, which translates as The Black Clover, started as a brewpub in July 2009 -- the first brewpub in their county of Abitibi-Témiscamingue -- and eventually opened an additional production brewery, not unlike Dieu du Ciel and Trou du Diable. Using about $125,000 of governmental economical development grant money, the brewery underwent an expansion in the summer of 2015.

Before co-owner and head brewer Alexandre Groulx graduated from Siebel in 2008, he spent about a decade honing his brewing skills as an amateur brewer. He served as a brewer for three years at the Montréal-based MacAuslan Brewery, where he made primarily English style ales.

Alexandre is excited to be working on a system small enough to experiment with all kinds of styles and techniques. One of our favorite beers at La Soirée was his Berliner Weisse made with cassis. He said that a local farmer ended up with a huge surplus last season and gave him some cassis to play around with, just as he finished brewing a Berliner Weisse that he felt was too dry. Alexandre decided to see what happened when he added in the cassis. The result was a pink hued, tart, refreshing beer with a wonderful black current flavor!

Their flagship beer is Le Trèfle Noir Stout, which is their biggest seller. They make an imperial stout aged six months in bourbon barrels which is also popular, as well as IPA, DIPA, Belgian Double, wheat beer, Belgian Saison, Scotch Ale, and others, including seasonals and one-off brews. Alexandre told us that he wants to exlore a bit with Bret fermentation.  Hear all the details in the podcast!

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