As someone who is from Quebec but lives in Ontario, it is always neat to return and try the microbrew in my native province. Traditionally la belle province has been a place that to find a lot of interesting Belgian style beers but recently we have seen a rise in the popularity of English style beers coming from Quebec. Benelux (as the name suggests) is a brewpub that specializes in beer styles of the low countries, so I was surprised to see an English style ESB on tap when I popped in there to kill some time. In terms of brewpubs in Montreal, Benelux is one of the best so I was very interested to see how they would handle the art of English beer.
As the name suggests Hutchison is an ESB. For the uninitiated ESB, or Extra Special Bitter, is traditionally the strongest and hoppiest of the bitters with the commercial gold standard being Fuller's ESB from England. I will start by saying that Hutchison is a good example of an English style ESB, but one that could use some work. It has a very nice balance with a decent amount of maltiness. Interestingly for an ESB it starts with a slightly sweet taste before progressing to the malty and bitter middle. This middle maltiness is actually a bit tame compared to most ESB's, I was expecting more to be honest. The sip finishes with a very smooth and enjoyable finish, a sort nice little touch down from the bitter high's of the sip's middle. Unfortunately though it doesn't quite have the complexity and flavour of a top ESB such as Propeller or Fuller's but it is still a very nice beer. If the maltiness was more pronouced then I think that this could be an excellent beer but as it stands now it is not quite as good as it could be. Still a very good beer though.
It's available at their two brewpubs in Montreal, the first one is on Sherbrooke St. W near Place des Arts and the second is in Verdun.
Rating: 3.5 Steins
What you need to know
245 Sherbrooke St. West
4026 Wellington St.