Our next stop on the craft brewing circuit takes us to another new brewery in Embrun.
Tuque de Broue is a family-owned independent brewery. There I met with owner Nicolas Malboeuf. He told me how the brewery started and what Tuque de Broue is all about. First off, why is the brewery named Tuque de Broue? It’s a play on words that refers to the head or foam of the beer when poured. Like a Tuque on your head keeps heat on a cold day, Tuque de Broue keeps the effervescence and aromas in the glass until you’re ready to take a sip. This is fairly important, as our sense of smell plays a role in our sense of taste too. The foam helps in delivering carefully crafted aromatics that provide us with the full flavour of the beer. Also, foam provides a good mouth feel and lends to the quality of the brew.
The beginning of any craft brewery is often similar: the dream of making great beer. From there, the differences begin and the character of the brewery forms. Malboeuf, unlike a lot of craft brewery owners who have a home brew background brings another skillset to the table. Malboeuf comes from a background of fine wine sales and wanted to apply that experience when starting his own business. He learned everything he needed to start a brewery and, with the help of a few friends, had some contract brewers create his flagship beer, Tuque Dorée.
After a successful launch of the brand the search for a location began, and, being from Embrun there was no other community in which Malboeuf wanted to start his business. Malboeuf has hopes to one day fully utilize the area’s strong agricultural foundations in order to create a beer with 100% locally produced ingredients. Today, spent grain from the brewery goes to a local farm to be used as feed for animals. Then the manure produced by those animals goes to a local hop farm, to fertilize their crops. Malboeuf sees opportunities everywhere, including in his challenges.
One of the challenges with the brewery is that it’s working on a well and septic system. Spent water from the brewing process is stored in holding tanks and Malboeuf makes the most of this. The water, which is rich in nutrients, is picked up by local farmers and mixed into manure for fertilizer. The design of the closed system has caught the attention of local institutions because of its low impact on the environment and ability to isolate elements from the process for recycling. Tuque de Broue is brewing for the future, with the aim of low emissions and minimal environmental impact, supporting the local community with jobs, as well as providing a legacy for Malboeuf’s family. It has been only three months since Tuque de Broue opened its doors in Embrun and they’ve already had to begin planning as far as three years ahead with inventory purchases, in order to keep up with high demand.
Tuque de Broue have four beers available:
- Tuque Dorée, their flagship beer, a Canadian Pale ale that is light, clear and crisp.
- Gougounes Rousses, a red/amber ale with a subtle caramel flavour and light hoppiness.
- Barbe Blanche, a white beer (not quite a wheat beer) that is 20% wheat with a citrus and spice flavour.
- La Cavalerie, their take on everyone’s craft favourite: the IPA. A light IPA with a smooth finish.
I found each had a nice clean taste and light hop flavour that wasn’t an overpowering bitterness – which some craft beers have. It’s a flavour that is easy to approach for both non-connoisseurs and aficionados alike.
You can find Toque De Broue at many restaurants and at the LCBO in the Ottawa area. Visit tuquedebroue.ca to find the nearest location. There is a retail shop at the brewery in Embrun (189 Bay St). On September 17 from 11am–5pm, Toque De Broue will be holding a release party at the brewery for their brand new Pumpkin Beer. There will be entertainment, a food truck and an opportunity to meet the passionate people behind this beer.