Portraits of brewers | Lagerbräu: for the love of lager

A name like Lagerbräu doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but it fits perfectly with the approach taken last fall by Jasen Gaouette, Alex Ganivet-Boileau and Olivier Charbonneau. Interview with the brewers who go where their heart takes them.

Posted April 20

Pierre-Marc Durivage

Pierre-Marc Durivage
The print

Alex Ganivet-Boileau has been around for over 15 years. He was in particular a master brewer at Les Trois Mousquetaires – we owe him, among other things, the famous Baltic Porter Cuvée Spéciale, still and always a reference in the sector. But he has inevitably gone back to lagers, a type of beer he particularly likes. “Nine times out of 10, what I like is a well-made lager,” he admits. Many experienced brewers also tend to come back to something similar. ”

For the guys from Lagerbräu, the click really happened in 2019 when they participated with several brewers from here on a trip to Europe, a real pilgrimage organized in Germany and the Czech Republic by Martin Thibault, says the Coureur des Boire. “We visited small country breweries, we got behind the scenes access, it was magical,” recalls the 38-year-old young brewer.

We really have something. We fell in contemplation, in ecstasy, in front of these authentic steps to make fine beers with obsessive precision.

Alex Ganivet-Boileau

“There, every brewery produces the same style of beer, but each has its own twist, its difference, its know-how and its pride,” adds Jasen Gaouette. We told ourselves that this is what we wanted to do, which is a culture that we get from knowing and bringing to life here. ”

For Alex Ganivet-Boileau, a tasty artisan lager is to beer what a good baguette is to a bakery. “We are witnessing a renaissance of neighborhood shops where you can find good fresh baguettes, with a crunchy crust and very soft crumb, explains the brewer. Likewise, in the world of beer, we are seeing a resurgence of lager enthusiasts. The person who has tasted everything tells himself he wants to go back to something simple, but well done. It’s a slow but steady trend. ”


PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

Lagerbräu, which launched its first lager in November 2021, intends to offer a small range of beers, its concern being a perfect balance of the recipes on offer.

Like the visited breweries in Franconia, Germany, the Lagerbräu range will remain simple, a pilsner, a lagerbier and a seasonal beer – the latest in the running was a superb Polotmavé Specialni, an amber lager with a strong character, and we soon come promised a Vycepni worked with a malt from the Czech Republic and a yeast inoculated by that used in a Czech brewery visited by the boys of Lagerbräu. “We will continue to refine our recipes and at some point it will taste like us,” says Jasen Gaouette, who also owns two IGA supermarkets in Saint-Césaire and Granby. “Basically, we want to put our stone in the construction of the lager in Quebec. If people like what we do, I hope they will also like what other people are doing. ”

Collaborators

For now, the trio behind Lagerbräu brews 5,000 liters of beer a month in the Montreal facilities of the Avant-Garde microbrewery, as well as occasional collaborative beers: a craft beer has just been bottled with the team at La Chouappe, in Saint-Félicien, after to which there are also promises collaborations with Le Cheval blanc and Le Temps d’une Pinte. “We are currently developing the brand, so we might as well have beer with friends, the people we love,” says Jasen Gaouette.

But it is still in the plans to find a place, we want it to be on the side of a hill, reproducing the principle of the German keller, that is, a natural vault where beer is kept and close to where people gather in the summer to have a drink, on a nice terrace.

Jasen Gauette

“The keller is to Germany what the sugar factory is to Quebec,” says Alex Ganivet-Boileau. There is no menu, food is brought to the center of the table and only one type of beer is served. For the moment we have fun, we like what we do, but when we have found the place we will see what kind of investments will be considered. One thing is certain, we want it to remain accessible because it echoes the culture we found in Germany, with a superb community and family spirit. ”

Small lexicon

blonde beer

We call Lagerbier the lagers produced in Franconia, a region of northern Bavaria from which this type of beer comes. These are low fermentation beers because the yeasts used act on the bottom of the vat, at a low temperature, between 5 and 10 degrees. The lagers, with a clean and lively taste, must also mature for several weeks before they are ready – the name of the beer derives from the German word. langernwhich means “to keep”.

pilsner

It is actually a kind of lager developed in the 19th century.And century in Bohemia, western Czechia. It is pale and clear, because it is filtered. Its light and floral taste comes from the use of Saaz hops. Over the years it has become the most popular type of beer in the world.

Polotmavy

Amber lager of Czech origin, it is the cousin of the dry and hoppy Dunkel produced in Franconia. It offers frank malty notes of toast, caramel and spices, the finish is supported by a more pronounced bitterness than the pilsner.

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