Mont-Royal, Dieu du Ciel, Lili Co.
The mountain is in the middle of the bustling city, and it certainly feels that way all the way to the top. It is like Central Park with a severe incline and its people bent on getting fit.
The ride up is via a long, winding, wide trail of crushed stone with the occasional cavern carved through one side from rain. There are no rules, lanes, directions. It’s all quite aimless, leaving me to firmly state “à gauche” or “à droite” (on your left/right) frequently.
Two water stops and lots of pedaling brought us to a spectacular view of the city plus some surprises including a new sculpture garden, a little bistro and museum, and even a piano for public use.
Ok, so it’s not exactly mountain biking, but it is biking up a mountain.
The beer was quite motivating, in addition to the view, and we enjoyed a Farnham Pilsener with fruit and granola. It was a beautiful beer with a balanced dryness which showcased the malt and Saaz hops very nicely.
Of course my Canadian friend absolutely loved the Saga. No surprise there. A mingling of pine, grapefruit, and tropical notes would please most drinkers.
We took one last look over the edge and then a wonderful thing happened – it was time to bike down the mountain.
And we kept biking. Down, over, into traffic, and finally turned into another neat neighborhood called Mile End (evidently all of Montreal is quaint, neat, pretty, and chic). I asked if we could go look at the castle-church-thing while waiting ten minutes for Dieu du Ciel to open its doors.
Next to the fire station is a little unassuming building that houses one of the more highly regarded Canadian breweries. Dieu du Ciel is a legendary place for beer lovers, as their spotty distribution brings bottles of the stuff to select states (not Minnesota).
Hibiscus, Nativite, Mild, Disco
It took much deliberation to settle on the four tasters for our flight but we ended up with decent variety and maximum interest: The Rosée d’Hibiscus Blanche, Nativité Hoplosion Weizen, Mild End Mild, and Disco Soleil Kumquat IPA.
Unfortunately, the Weizen had notes of DMS which were significant enough to overpower what I was really looking forward to – Mandrina hops. I was quite surprised for a number of reasons, but regardless, it was definitely there, so we moved on to better choices.
I ordered the Déesse Nocturne, an excellent stout served on nitrogen and was quite pleased. Even on a hot day after a sweaty ride, the nitro character and modest body presented a refreshing take on what came across as a dry-meets-American stout.
The final jaunt of the evening (after a much-deserved nap) was to a minuscule restaurant named Lili Co. where chef Teg Graham, a good friend of Rick’s, was guest-cooking an eleven course dinner for family and friends. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been in the country for this event. Eleven courses, yes, that’s what I said.
Lili Co. and its chef, David Pellizzari, handed the keys over to Teg who performed this miraculous series of events (I really don’t have words):
Teg’s food was some of the best I have ever tasted in my life. I was so impressed by not only the quality but also the creativitiy.
Here are some images of his creations. It was the perfect end to a wonderful day, and not only did I enjoy the food, I enjoyed the amount of pride in the room, all in support of this young chef.