History
& Mission

Founded in 1987 in the Lower Laurentians, Les Brasseurs du Nord is a microbrewery known for its all-natural Boréale ales: Rousse, Blonde, Cuivrée, Noire, Dorée, Blanche, IPA (India Pale Ale) and the collection. Boréale’s beers all come on tap and in bottles, while certain kinds are also available in cans. The Boréale polar bear — a symbol of the brewery’s strength, determination, and vigour — is proudly featured on every bottle.

Laura Urtnowski, Bernard Morin and Jean Morin, the founders of Les Brasseurs du Nord and Boréale, were students in their 20s when they started developing their homebrews; their recipes were so successful that they decided to start a brewery. Intent on sharing their passion for beers that are different and unique, they offered an amber ale (Boréale Rousse) in Quebec way back in 1988 — a first in the province! Passionate about their craft and committed to beer excellence, their artisanal approach allowed them to focus on quality over quantity. During their 25 years in the brewing business, their talent and leadership established Les Brasseurs du Nord as one of Quebec’s leading microbreweries. They handed over the reins to the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Quebec’s largest group of investors, in 2013.

Boréale’s mission has always been to brew tasty, all-natural, high-quality beer and offer it to beer lovers across the province. That’s why Boréale beers are distinctive, authentic, and brewed without compromise.

A green brewery

Natural
beers

Back when being green was for tree-huggers, Les Brasseurs du Nord were the first in Quebec to offer an all-natural beer. The quality of our beer is in the quality of our ingredients, and we have Mother Nature to thank for those. That’s why minimizing our environmental footprint has always been a priority. Our beers are 100% pure malt, which means they’re made exclusively from malted barley. The malt is what gives a beer its colour and flavour — in other words, its quality. And quality brooks no compromise.

Environmental responsibility

We were the first to supply our clients and partners with recyclable No. 5 plastic glasses and the first to switch over to a hybrid fleet of vehicles. We started harvesting geothermal energy at our brewery when the company was five years old. All in all, Les Brasseurs du Nord recycles or reuses almost 96% of its waste and by-products. And when we built our brewery, we transplanted over forty mature trees in order to lay the foundations. Cutting down a forest was simply out of the question.

Green bottles, green packaging

We’re one of the few Canadian industries that recovers and reuses its containers. We chose the brown bottle for environmental reasons: it can be refilled and reused up to fifteen times over its four-year life cycle. And unlike green or clear bottles, brown bottles filter out sunlight. As for our packaging, it’s always been made from recycled and recyclable cardboard. Thanks to an eco-upgrade, our labels are now printed with vegetable inks on non-metallic paper that’s made from 100% FSC-certified pulp. This reduces the aluminum content of the wastewater from our bottle-washing.

The art of brewing

There are five steps to brewing beer.

  1. Mashing. First, water is added to the malt and milled grains and the mixture is heated. This process extracts both the fermentable sugars, which produce alcohol, and the non-fermentable sugars, which add body. The mixture is then strained; the liquid, called “wort,” is used to make beer, while the spent grain is repurposed as feed for livestock.
  2. Boiling. Once strained, the wort is boiled down to concentrate the flavours and sugars. Hops and any spices are added at this stage. The wort is then cooled to room temperature to create a healthy environment for the yeast.
  3. Fermentation. Yeast is added to the cooled wort, which is then transferred to a fermentation vessel. This is where the yeast transforms the wort sugars into alcohol. The temperature of the fermentation vessels will be carefully controlled to ensure consistency between batches.
  4. Conditioning. After fermentation, the beer is cooled to clarify it and to let it rest; this maturation period greatly improves the flavours of the beer.
  5. Packaging. Once it is ready, the beer is filtered (the exceptions being our Blanche and IPAs) and bottled or kegged before being distributed, sold and savoured!
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