Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet Luc 'Bim' Lafontaine: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Bim with barrels at Trou du Diable
Meet Luc 'Bim' Lafontaine, head brewer at the infamous Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! brewpub in Montreal, QC.

Bim, as he's affectionately known, has been with Dieu du Ciel! since 2001 and in that time he has created some of the most hyped and sought after beers in Canada. Beer lovers from all parts of the world make a note to visit the brewpub should they find themselves in Montreal, where they can indulge in some of Bim's creations.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Bim over the last couple of years, sharing drinks with him at various beer festivals and conferences and I can tell you that he is a very humble brewer, proud of his work ... and not a bad DJ :) !

Dieu du Ciel! are represented in Ontario by keep6imports and you'll be able to find Bim in their booth serving up the following DDC beers at Session 99 this weekend -  Rosee D’Hibiscus, Rescousse, Peche Mortel

Meet Bim! - Follow Bim on Twitter: @DieuduCielMtl

Why did you get into the brewing? And how?
1988 was the year I first drank a beer in my life. And this beer was called Satan Red, a beer from Belgium. I just fell in love with good beer right away. All this logically lead me to homebrewing and traveling around the world seeking out good beers. Then, when Dieu du Ciel! opened, I was like, “yes, this is the place, this is what I want to do, and this is where I’m gonna work.” And it all happened.

You brew exclusively at the brewpub?
Yes, I am the head brewer at the brewpub. It is a big enough job and I consider it the fun part. The production brewery doesn’t call me too much. I way prefer my “lab” (that’s how I call the Montreal brewpub). It is a wonderful playground where I can experiment and brew many different styles throughout the year. I just updated our recipe database and we’re up to more than 100 different Dieu du Ciel! beers now. Just last year I brewed 60 different styles. It’s a cool life.

Which Dieu du Ciel! beer would you consider your favourite? Or the one your most proud of?
The one's I create of course (with a laugh). I would say that the beer I brewed with my Japanese friend from Shiga Kogen (“Isseki Nicho” meaning to kill 2 birds with 1 stone) is quite amazing. And the response from the people was amazing too. It’s a strange beer, very unique. We were working on something like an Imperial Stout using a Saison yeast, but when we were building the recipe it changed a bit. We ended up using a way different malt bill, using some of my favourite malt in the world (CaraAroma from Weyermann) and some Japanese hops that I brought back in my suitcase from Japan. The version we brewed in Japan includes Shiga Kogen’s own grown sake rice Miyama Nishiki. Quite nice!

Dieu du Ciel! is considered to be one of the best breweries in Canada, and your beers are right up there with the best in the world. When you hear that, how does it make you feel?
You know, when people tell me that, it feels very good of course. It motivates me a lot to be a better brewer, to make better products. I know that every Monday morning I’m in the brewhouse doing what I have to do. We know that brewing good beer is a never-ending learning process; it’s so complex. It’s very hard work (sometimes it doesn’t look like it when we’re out having fun at events), all this to say that it’s so nice to be rewarded by our customers.

What will we be hearing about Dieu du Ciel! in 5 years?
Hopefully it’s not going to change too much. The brewery could be growing very fast you know, so everyone at Dieu du Ciel! has to realize that we have to do things right, keeping in mind of expanding in a good way. Of course, in the years to come our production will grow and our beers will be exported to more and more places. It’s a must to maintain the high quality of our products and this with zero compromise. We want to be the reference point for people when they think of Quebec beer*.

*Which brewery do you think of when you think of Quebec?


Eric said...

There are a few that come to mind! McAuslan brewery for one, as well as Boreal. Of course there is Unibroue, who produce a whole line of great tasting beers. There is so much variety, we are truly lucky here in Quebec!

Claudia Becks said...

It is very inspiring when people actually find a passion and also manage to make a living out of it, so much so that their obsession and their passion becomes a part of their lifestyle! All the best dude! Hope you make the brand bigger than what it is!

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