Food and Drink Blog: Pairing beer to poutine

Poutine—whether enjoyed traditionally, as a sub-par side dish from Wendy’s, or as a meal in itself—is a staple of drunk Canadians everywhere.

Today, we can get it in hundreds of varieties, from vegan-gravy to bison, and even Americans, in their ongoing quest to find newer and more interesting ways to clog their arteries, have taken a shine to the Quebecois dish.

Like every other food, poutine goes well with alcohol. To be totally fair, poutine is best enjoyed with whatever beer you happen to be holding in your hand at 3 a.m. after a long night out. But for those with more class, here are several great suggestions to drink with your salty, savoury fries.

St-Ambroise: Pale Ale

Quebecois food requires Quebecois beer, and this one has a strong taste that can cut grease quite handsomely. A nice bonus to eating heavier foods is that it allows you to drink heavier or more flavourful beers alongside it, as the two strong tastes hold up to one another quite well.

St. Ambroise’s Pale Ale is an excellent introduction to stronger pale ales, as it is still medium-bodied and drinkable, but provides a good hop kick. Between mouthfuls of salty curds and gravy, it has a refreshing hop note, and remains one of the strongest pale ales on the market today. Pick it up at the LCBO in Billings Bridge.

Unibroue: Don de Dieu

Oddly enough, the largest Quebecois craft brewery, now owned by Sleeman, never recommends which beer from their huge selection goes best with poutine. Don de Dieu packs an almighty wallop at nine per cent ABV and is remarkably not too hoppy, given its strength. It should certainly be eaten with a whole bunch of heavy food, like our favourite three-ingredient meal.

I highly recommend only a bottle or two in a night, as it can get overbearing and unpleasant if drank too quickly. Neither the LCBO nor the Beer Store carries it, but it’s remarkably easy to find in Gatineau—try Broue Ha Ha in Gatineau or Bières Du Monde in Aylmer.

Dieu du Ciel: Péché Mortel

The only stout on this list, this beer happens to be the easiest to drink from the beer snob’s wet dream that is Dieu de Ciel. Expect a strong, tasty dark beer that is almost opaque and appears an inky black. This beer has the potential to overpower the poutine, but paired with a particularly rich, mushroomed gravy, it can be absolutely fantastic.

Expect a total food coma following this ingestion, and zero desire to eat anything for at least a few hours following the binge. You can almost expect a buzz pretty quickly, considering the beer packs a nine and a half per cent ABV.

This beer used to be quite easy to find, but now isn’t offered at the LCBO anymore, so a trip to Gatineau would be in order.

Beyond The Pale: Brewmance Begins

It seems somewhat sacrilegious to put an Ontario beer on this list, but in this case, it is much too good to pass up.

The beer, made with Bridgehead coffee beans, is terrifically suited to poutine consumption, with a full-bodied taste and an interesting coffee finish. It can be difficult to drink on its own, but paired with a heavy, salty greaseball like all good poutine should be, it behaves like Péché Mortal, without the impending hangover.

Get it directly from the brewery in Hintonburg.