Summers in Montreal are hot, but that’s OK, because you have parks; and in those parks, it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy a chilled beverage or two. But skip the PBR and grab a six-pack or a bottle of something that actually tastes good. From white wine and bubbles, to beer and mead, these Quebec bevvies are well suited to a picnic in the sun.
Les Pervenches Seyval-Chardonnay blend
Les Pervenches is quickly making a name for itself for producing wines that no one would have ever expected to come out of Quebec. One of its greatest victories is successfully growing chardonnay in the province’s harsh winter climate. It’s a very fortuitous accomplishment because its seyval-chardonnay blend is one of its best and has been popping up on restaurant wine lists throughout Montreal lately. It’s oaked but doesn’t hit you in the face with it; rather, it’s bright and acidic, and everything you want to drink when the temperature skyrockets.
$21, available at specialty grocers like Dans la Côte.
Piger Henricus gin
Artisanal gin is nothing new in 2017, but it’s a reliable option when it comes to boozy beverages. Grab yourself a bottle of Piger Henricus, which contains your standard botanicals, as well as parsnip, which adds that hint of “je ne c’est quoi.” Complete with some tonic (try 3/4 Oz.) and bubbly water, it’s perfect for an afternoon of G&T’s in the sunshine. How can you say no to that?
$30.75, available at the SAQ.
Mix up a pitcher of punch to sip in the sun with Oshlag vodka. Made right in Montreal, it’s about as local as it gets, and has an interesting spin: it’s hopped. It’s perfect for those who find vodka too boring without it being too outrageous. Plus, Oshlag also has a variety of other spirits and beers to choose from.
$34.25, available at the SAQ.
Domaine Bergeville sparkling rosé
Bubbles aren’t just for special occasions. Isn’t enjoying a beautiful day in the park excuse enough to celebrate? Domaine Bergeville is an organic, biodynamic vineyard in Quebec that specializes in sparkling wine. It produces both a white and a red, but it’s the rosé that is the ideal summer sipper. There are notes of red fruit but also quite dry, which is exactly what you want when it’s too hot for anything sweet or heavy.
$30, available at specialty grocers.
Desrochers Beezz I.P
For fans of all things hoppy who are looking to try something a bit different, this Desrochers Beezz I.P should be on your radar. Despite being a honey wine, it’s incredibly dry and not surprisingly, has the characteristically bitterness of something more like a double IPA than a mead. The citrus notes from the Cascade hops pair well with the lingering floral aftertaste from the honey.
$8, available at specialty grocers.
Quebec is putting itself on the map when it comes to wine, and Négondos Organic Vineyard is an excellent example of what wine drinkers across the country have to look forward to in the coming years. One of the best parts is that the vineyard offers an opportunity to try different varietals that you may be less familiar with. Its Saint-Vincent white is a blend of Cayuga and Geisenhem, which together are reminiscent of an off-dry riesling. Notes of tropical fruits and fresh peaches abound, the wine has just the right amount of acidity to balance it out.
About $20, available at specialty grocers.
This microbrewery is producing everything from IPA to stout, but park drinking definitely calls for something on the crisper, more thirst-quenching side, and for that, its Matante blonde ale is the way to go. A bit bitter, a bit sweet, it will convert even the most adamant non-beer-drinker. It’s the type of beer that tastes better and better the hotter it gets outside.
About $10 for 4 x 473ml cans, available at local grocers.
If you’re in need of an uber-quaffable option on a scorching hot day, find a shady spot and crack open a hefeweizen from Farnham. It’s delightfully citrusy with just a touch of tropical fruits, so with just a touch of imagination, you could be on a beach somewhere listening to the waves crash into the shore.
About $10-11 for 4 x 473ml cans, available at local grocers.