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3 Brasseurs brings its tasty brews to Sparks Street

By Jared Davidson on January 15, 2013

As Ottawa’s love affair with the beer brewing industry rages on, hot and heavy, new brew pubs seem to be popping up every other day. Last year saw the opening of so many such establishments that to list them all here would be futile. Instead, take a gape at our beer map. Yup. There’s a lot of beer in Ottawa. But is there enough?

I think not. Which is why I was pleased to see the opening of 3 Brasseurs’ first Ottawa location. The French brewer, whose beer has become famous in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto, opened their Ottawa location on December 27th. The brewer has taken over the corner of Bank and Sparks with an impressive-looking, glass-encased, two-story restaurant. And though the façade is nice to look at, it’s what’s inside that counts, particularly what’s inside 3 Brasseurs’ brewing machine, which sits in the centre of the restaurant, a reminder of the authenticity of the beer.

Any conversation about craft beer has the dangerous potential to swerve into the realm of ingredients, temperature, pressure, and other things which continue to elude my comprehension. Instead, I’ll focus on the only thing that truly matters: taste. In order to best serve our readers, I thought it crucial that I should try as many of the brewery’s six-odd beers as possible. And while it’s possible to order the fabled “Metre of Beer” (something that prompts your server to shout your order to the entire pub, a practice that for me conjures horrible memories of birthdays spent at Pizza Hut), I contented myself with the four-beer sampler.

The sampler contains the four main beers produced at the brewery: blonde, amber, white and brown. All four beers are quite good. The dark is very nutty, rich with a chocolaty finish, qualities which made it my instant favourite of the four. But the other three are no slouches – these are very decent beers, comparable to the mainstays of any fine brewer. And for those who feel more adventurous, there are two seasonal beers currently on offer in bottle form, each of which clocks in at 7% alcohol per volume. Sadly, their IPA won’t be available until next month.

The food, unlike many brew pubs, is fairly varied and plentiful. Burgers, sausages, pizzas and pastas fill a complete restaurant menu, and there are plenty of variations within the categories. If you’re looking for pub classics or an actual meal, 3 Bresseurs’ has both covered. Now, I should admit that I didn’t eat any of the food. I did, however, smell a plate of sauerkraut sausages from a table nearby. I’m pleased to report that it smelled good.

While the beer is good, I was a bit put off by the general atmosphere in the place. The décor and mythology of the pub harken back to a simpler time, as do the supplies of free peanuts by the door (by the way, if you’re allergic to peanuts, you absolutely cannot go to this pub!). But as well as being a place that exudes this sense of capital-t Tradition, 3 Brasseurs is also a sports bar. And since there was no sports to be had on the night of my visit, the pub’s expensive audio visual equipment was put to the task of pumping out top 40 hits at nauseating volumes. Something isn’t right about this. It’s not just that I hate the music, it’s that I feel that it clashes with the enjoyment of the craft of beer. Then again, I could see this being a good first stop to a night of clubbing – a place to get your groove primed while still drinking and eating well.

Overall, 3 Brasseurs is very much worth a visit. The beer is good and the food looks tasty. It caters well to those who like quite a lot of beer (metres, pitchers and a one litre mug called “Le Varlet” get the job done). And while its atmosphere is a bit too gregarious for my tastes, it’s clear that the set up would be ideal for catching a hockey game.


  • Mike L

    Agree about the music. I didn’t think it was even top 40, seemed like a lot of B-list pop singers. I thought it would be a lot better if they just got a local dj to come in and play some music, similar to standard or blue cactus (among many others)

  • Carol S.

    I went last week with three friends. We did eat, with mixed reviews. The ribs were very good, the sausage and sauerkraut were good, but the steak was mediocre at best. Asked for rare, got something more like medium, and it was tough. Fries were good, though. Some of us preferred wine, which caused much confusion about what they actually had on offer, surprising as they only listed three or four. Still, the waiter tried hard and I suspect that the place, being new, has some growing pains to get over.

  • Kaitlin

    I love 3 Brasseurs. I hate how loud it is there, though.

  • Anne-Marie

    The food is-in a word-terrible. Worse than the Montreal locations. The nachos were probably the worst I’ve seen in Ottawa and the dips were all dry and crusty. Nothing seemed fresh which was strange for a restaurant that had only been open for 2 days.

  • Anne

    Very very very bad experience. I went with my boyfriend. The restaurant was so noisy and the music so loud that we had trouble hearing each other. We asked if it was possible to turn down the volume. Apparently not… Even though the waiter himself told us he could not stand it either. It took about one hour to get our meals served and OMG the food was bad. I think they dropped the salt shaker into my plate.

  • JOHN M.

    Been here twice now,I have no complaints, enjoyed the star platter with the onion pieces spiced up goes down good with the blond ale which is nice and cold. Had the lamb shank which was excellent, the only thing left on that platter was the lamb bone. Had the mild chicken wings,ate the pork shank as well cooked in the beer broth has a very distictive flavor o the pork, my brother had the rib steak which is around $21.00 I was paying the bill so I think thats why he order the steak, he said the steak was cook to his liking and he enjoyed it. my wife had the caesar salad and also had the one piece fish and chips w/coldslaw her fish was battered not greasey like some other places in the area and the fish she said was moist not dry and overcooked. haven’t tryed the desserts yet,me and the wifeboth stuffed to the gills no room for it. overall I will be going back for more food and drink

  • There seems to be a lot of interest in place. Would anyone enjoy a revisited review? Maybe some of what made it not the greatest has changed?