Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Pamela
A little girl is playing hopscotch on the large black tiled floor of Noctem Artisans Brasseurs in Saint-Roch as I sip a 5oz glass of Milkshake IPA. It’s my first visit to Noctem, which is criminal considering the fact that I have lived in this city longer than the microbrewery has been open.
Perched on the corner of rue du Parvis and boulevard Charest, Noctem Artisans Brasseurs opened its doors in October 2015. For the first three years, they were a local haunt, unknown to many tourists flocking to the city each year. In 2019, however, the tides turned and Noctem has become a popular haunt of locals and tourists alike.
The distribution of their beer in Quebec City played a role, as well as Noctem’s inclusion in beer-focused walking tours. Many, myself included, were curious about a microbrewery with a cat in its logo and cat-themed beers. Is this a cat microbrewery or do they just like cats? Friends, there are no live cats here (which is fine because I am allergic to them), but that should not stop you from going to Noctem Artisans Brasseurs.
a chill afternoon vibe at noctem artisans brasseurs
I visited Noctem on a Tuesday afternoon, knowing it would likely be slow and I could ask questions if needed without feeling bad about taking up too much time. I arrived shortly before 2 pm, when the kitchen shuts down for its break prior to dinner service, and hurriedly ordered a small Noctem chilli with cheese, as I settle into a booth at the back with a view of the entire microbrewery.
There’s a couple sitting at the bar, but everyone else is seated on the opposite side of the room, near windows overlooking boulevard Charest. The floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the microbrewery in natural light, and I can see myself spending hours here.
Gliding amongst them was Julien, a man-bun-loving guy with kind eyes and an easy laugh. He’s the kind of guy I’d want to have a beer (or five) with on a lazy afternoon. Basically, he’s in the right job. Haha
After consulting Noctem’s menu of 18 beers, which are brewed onsite, I order a flight of four, plus an extra one to go with the cheese-smothered chilli, which arrives quickly.
don’t forget to tip your servers! tipping is customary in quebec (and canada), and 15-25% is recommended.
beers + a beer cocktail (of sorts)
Many of the beers at Noctem Artisans Brassuers have cat-themed names – catnip, kitty kitty, and calaca among them. There are IPAs and Double IPAs, wheat beers, stouts, and a cider. They range in strength from 3.5% to 10%, and I can confirm that the 10% beer is a sneaky bastard.
No. 13 Suricat Framboise (4.5% ABV) – this is a sour raspberry wheat beer. I’m generally not a lover of sour beers, and I actually tasted this one last because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. It’s in the style of a traditional wheat beer. It’s tart and sour, and the raspberry flavour is quite strong, which I love. According to Julien, they use a lot of fresh raspberries when making the beer, which creates quite a mess.
No. 2 Moloko Plus (6% ABV) – this is an American IPA in which a double dose of Citra, lactose, and nitrogen has been added. The result is a golden-yellow beer with a faint milky thickness which cuts the sour taste. From the first sip, I understand why this beer is also called a Milkshake IPA and I wonder what it would taste like with a slice of grapefruit or orange.
No. 7 La lame du colonel (10% ABV) – this stout, also known on the menu as a pastry stout, is a sneaky bastard that reminds you of its strength later. It has notes of vanilla and coconut, and lactose has been added as well. It’s dark, thick, and creamy. In fact, while drinking this beer I wondered what it would be like with a pairing of hard cheese or perhaps Noctem’s cheesecake. It’s a new beer at Noctem, brewed to celebrate the microbrewery’s seventh anniversary. Thankfully, also sell cans of it on-site. Yay!
No. 6 Amour d’été (5% ABV) – this amber beer was a perfect pairing for the Noctem chilli I ordered. It’s a little bitter but quite refreshing as well. This is where I fail as a travel and food writer… I forgot to take notes, the only beer I forgot to do. I can say this though, I enjoyed it, and I would order it again.
While a flight of three beers and a crisp cider, plus an additional beer to go with my chilli, should have been enough, I could not resist trying a beer cocktail. I am, after all, at a microbrewery, and I should taste what I can while I’m here. Plus, I am reviewing a hotel around the corner, so if I drink too much I don’t have far to go. ha!
I choose the Calacampari, which is the Calaca beer (3.5% ABV) mixed with Campari. Currently, the Calaca is fraise-melon, and mixing it with Campari is an excellent choice. It’s pink and served in a pint glass (OMG… I planned this poorly). A refreshing beer that I could have easily drank all summer long, had I come out to Noctem this summer.
I am honestly upset with myself for waiting so long to drink at Noctem. It’s rare that I love every beer that I taste, but in this case, I enjoyed all of them. As it happens, I think I leaned more toward “dessert” beers, which I don’t think is a thing.
I arrived nine minutes before the kitchen closed for its afternoon break, and I wasn’t hungry, so I ordered a small Noctem chilli to try. According to Julien, they took the chilli off the menu for a time, but when patrons demanded its return, they brought it back. While smothered in melted cheese, the flavours of the chilli were quite good. My only critique would be the need for more sauce to make it a true chilli.
You can find Noctem’s beers in grocery stores here in Quebec City, but I personally prefer buying them at La Place, a fabulous épicerie fine specializing in local products.
drink beers at noctem artisans brasseurs
where: 438, rue du parvis • saint-roch • 581-742-7979 • noctem.ca • open: mon 15h–1h, tues-thurs 11h–1h, fri-sat 11h–3h • price: low to moderate
quebec city hotel recommendations
The hotels listed below are my current favourites. I have stayed in each of these properties and often recommend them to out-of-town friends and family. This list will change over time as I make my rounds through the various accommodations in Quebec City.
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