BAIE-SAINT-PAUL, Que.—Brewers in Quebec's Charlevoix region have put the world inside a pint glass by creating a special beer fit for a head of state.
As a nod to the 44th-annual G7 summit taking place June 8-9 in Charlevoix, the Microbrasserie Charlevoix brewery—renowned across the province—blended ingredients from all seven member countries into a true international lager.
Even its alcohol content reflects the summit: at seven percent, La G7 is on the strong side.
“I was looking for a concept, not just a recipe,” said Nicolas Marrant, the beer's creator.
The brewer originally is from northern France, a region bordering Belgium he said is simply called the “North”
“They didn't break their heads coming up with a creative name,” he mused.
Marrant moved to Quebec in 2001 after he learned the province was undergoing a craft beer renaissance, and he now proudly considers himself Quebecois.
“I am passionate about Charlevoix,” Marrant said in an interview in Baie-Saint-Paul, about 90 km northeast of Quebec City.
“I was thinking about a way to brew something special for this fantastic event.”
The leaders of Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States—countries that represent the majority of world's GDP—will be welcomed for the summit at the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, which has been serving La G7 beer for a few months.
The base ingredient is a Canadian barley malt supported by an oat malt from the U.K.
Italian orzo pasta gives the brew a fruitiness savour similar to the role wheat plays in a white beer.
Down the list are three types of hops.
Summit hops from the U.S. bring a bitterness to the drink, strisselspalt hops from France offer a floral note, and Japanese sorachi ace hops added in uncooked at the end—right before bottling—carry a touch of citrus flavour.
Finally, the beer is fermented by a German yeast.
Russia used to be a member of the exclusive association—when it was called the G8—but the country was kicked out in 2014 after President Vladimir Putin forcefully annexed Crimea.
When asked if a secret eighth ingredient was added for Russia, Frederick Tremblay, founder and president of the brewery, replied categorically: “No.”
Then, seemingly as though he had made the joke before, he held up a pint glass emblazoned with La G7's logo, filled with that beer, and said, “But this does go well with poutine!”
Tremblay's microbrewery, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is an elder statesmen in the province's craft beer industry, which has exploded over the past several years.
Between 2002 and 2017, the number of breweries in Quebec increased to 190 from 87—a jump of almost 120 percent, according to the province's microbrewers' association.
Brewing beer is particularly popular with Quebecers who live outside big cities: 60 percent of all brewers in the province are located in towns with a population under 100,000 people.
Quebec's craft beer companies come up with inventive flavours and names for the products, as well as especially colourful labels, reflecting their regions.