Yes, you read that right: 1600 micro-breweries. With such a huge number to deal with, where to possibly begin? Thankfully, the hip Montreal neighbourhood known as the Mile End has got you covered in one small, unassuming dépanneur. (The dépanneur is basically a corner store that serves everything from chips to canned soup to toilet paper. In Quebec, they also serve wine and beer until 11pm every night of the week). While most “deps” serve a standard selection of imported and domestic beers (Molson Brewery, founded in Montreal in 1786, is North America’s oldest brewery), the one called “Le Paradis de la Biere” (“Beer Paradise”) is something special.
Located on upscale Laurier Avenue, near the great drink spot Barmacie Baldwin, is a small store that, save the sign, looks pretty much like every other dep in the city. But, as soon as you walk in, you notice the difference. They carry over 500 different types of beer, 400 of which are from Quebec. The place is literally covered in beer bottles. While they have do beers from the bigger micro-breweries (like St-Ambroise, Boreale, Belle Geule, etc.) they also carry many that I’d never seen before. They have a McAuslan Scotch Ale that won the bronze prize at the 2002 World Beer Cup. They have a carrot beer. They also have a Saint-Arnould dark stout that cost almost $20. The owners of the dep even make their own beer, the aptly named Paradisiac. In short, “Beer Paradise” treats beer like fine wine and its knowledgeable staff know a little bit about all 500 varieties.
Did you also know that, in Montreal, you can drink beer in the park during opening hours as long as you have some food with you? So, if you’re looking for something to do, why not take a trip to Le Paradis de la Biere, pick up a 6-pack of some of the world’s best beer, and take a walk down to the nearby Parc Jeanne-Meance and try them out. What could be better?
Palais de la Biere (also known as Super Marché Rahman), 151 Laurier O, H2T 2N6, (514) 279-2566
Open 8am-11pm, every day of the week