Montreal's beer brasserie dominance chugs along as popular Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie beer bar Isle de Garde plans to add on a brewpub next door on the corner of Beaubien and Christophe Colomb. They'll be taking over roughly half of the Vidéo Millénium store space and putting in a 500-litre brewhouse to produce beers to serve on site, Isle de Garde marketing director Michaël Ruel told Eater. The focus will be on English-style beers, underrepresented in Belgian-beer-influenced Quebec, American styles, like low-ABV pale ales and IPAs, and a barrel-aging program highlighting wild yeast-fermented saisons and farmhouse ales.
Since the six partners — Ruel, chef Marc-Aurèle Lussier, brewer Olivier Dupras, Matthieu Gauthier, Simon Chantal and Tristan Coutu — opened Isle de Garde in September 2014, they've wanted to open a brewpub, Ruel says. After inquiring about the dépanneur on the other side, the building owner pointed them to Vidéo Millénium, which was looking to close after 16 years in the space. They'll be taking it over in June and are aiming for an autumn opening.
Dupras, a homebrewer of more than a decade, will be the brewer. He's also gained experience brewing Isle de Garde’s beers at the MaBrasserie co-op, and collaborating with Quebec brewers like Brasserie Dunham, Loup Rouge and Riverbend. They plan to keep their two 1,000-litre tanks at MaBrasserie, and will use the extra space to brew lagers, which take longer to ferment. "We like to say lager is the new IPA," Ruel quipped.
Of the bar’s 24 taps, about two-thirds will remain reserved for other Quebec breweries. And while it's a definite beer geek destination, they’ve always wanted to maintain Isle de Garde as a spot for the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood, where four of the six partners live. "We’re really surprised to see all the popularity when the first thing we wanted to do was to make a good place for the neighbourhood," says Ruel.