A very short walk from the piers in Quebec City stands L'Inox. Technically a microbrewery, the adjacent bar gives it the flavor of a brewpub. It biggest draw is the large outdoor patio with its southwestern exposure. Tables fill up fast as the crowds flock for the happy hour sunshine from 16:00 to 20:00 when pints are only $4 CDN ($3 USD). A medium-sized bar occupies the main room, with a serving counter at the front half and a circular polished steel bar back at the rear half. Light wood trim and faux cacti surround the full liquor bar. Seating consists of black and chrome directors chairs at the bar and black leather bench seating along the walls. Stylish black chairs populate the lounge area on the grey tiled floor. The raised lounge features small- and medium-sized pedestal wooden tables. Overhead, black drop-in tiles and decorative drop lighting extend downward from the 15-foot ceiling. Various shades of red brick cover the interior walls, some of which sport murals of 18th-century brewing activities. The brewing process is illustrated and annotated in French on the wall. A nearby room features video tennis games and larger tables for group gatherings. Snacks consist of potato chips and hotdogs, with the later being cooked at the bar in a counter top rotisserie and then inserted into a mini-baguette after it is "spiked" by hand. A nice touch are the red pillars that display lists of cheeses that pair well with the house beers. Circular stainless steel placards depict in French the history of beer. An archway door leads to the outdoor patio with its green plastic tables and chairs.
One view from the bar is of the nondescript stainless steel brewhouse where no mill is present. All house brews are ales, brewed using a single-step infusion mash regimen. The beers are naturally-carbonated in the fermenters, with most beers being about 5% alcohol by volume and filtered but not pasteurized. The Transat Blonde is gold in color with a medium body, smooth mouthfeel, mellow pale malt flavor and a supporting mellow hop bitterness. The Cream Ale is amber with a creamy white head, light body, smooth mouthfeel, and very dry malty flavor with an oak-like character. The hazy gold Trouble Fête Blanche is served with a lime and is light-bodied, with a smooth mouthfeel and very clean, dry wheat flavor and dry finish. Ingredients include coriander. The Dolce Vita, available May through September, is a clear deep red amber color with a medium body that offers a lasting lace and rich malty flavor and dry finish. A very nice ale!
Service is leisurely and that seem to please the French-speaking crowd in their 20's and 30's. Ashtrays abound and are in constant use. The bar staff speaks some English and they are very friendly and helpful. The collection of guitar music CDs seems to complement the tavern atmosphere well. The modern interior accommodates wheelchair access to the restrooms and most other areas. Beers come in sizes of roughly 12-ounce and 20-ounce, as well as pitchers. Brewery tours are possible through advance contact with Pierre Turgeon at 265-8088. Visit L'Inox for one of the more popular happy hour settings in town and some fresh and tasty craft beers.
Vocabulary: sur lie = unfiltered, yeast not filtered out
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - June