Pilsner des Rapides

Pilsner des Rapides
Alcohol content
36 IBU

Pilsner des Rapides

The Gatineau River was known to the Algonquins as the rippled river, due to the importance of its perilous rapids, including the Farmer’s Rapids.  Blond with a clean bitterness and peppery-citrus aromas, this lager delivers a generous malt like freshly baked bread.

343 km long, it originates at Lac du Pain de Sucre in La Tuque and flows into the Ottawa River at Pointe Gatineau. The river is said to have been an important fur-trading route in the region, and was later one of the main transportation routes for logs. Today, the river still has major rapids, but the installation of 4 hydroelectric dams has created several calmer zones.  Two of these dams are located in the Collines-de-l’Outaouais, 1 km apart: the Chelsea power station and Farmer’s Rapids, with Gatineau on the east bank and Chelsea on the west.

But what of the river’s name? The name is generally attributed to Nicolas Gastineau dit Duplessis (1627-1689), a notary from Trois-Rivières who was involved in the fur trade.  He is said to have used the river for commercial purposes and lost his life by drowning. Others attribute the name to his sons Nicolas and Jean Gatineau, who are said to have set up a trading post at the confluence of the Gatineau and Outaouais rivers, now known as Pointe-Gatineau. But none of these facts have been proven beyond doubt, and the Hudson’s Bay Company has no record of a trading post at this location, nor any indication that this river was ever used for fur trading, or that the Gatineau family ever traveled or perished there. 

But what about the origin of the name? The Anishinàbeg people who inhabited the area called this river Tenàgàdino Zìbì or Tenàgàdin Zìbì, meaning the rippled river. This was an unwritten language, so the current name may be a distortion of the native name. Early maps of this river show the names Lettinoe, Nàgàtinong, Àgatinung, Gatteno, Gatino, Gateno, Gattino and Gatina. A map with the name Gatineau calligraphed on it was produced in 1821. 

But whatever the real origin of the river’s name, its rapids have inspired us to brew a clean, refreshing pilsner with a sharp bitterness and round maltiness. It’s firmly rooted in the European pilsner tradition. 

The beer’s malt base comes from modern pilsner malt from Innomalt in Sherbrooke, with a little Vienna from Malterie Caux-Laflamme in Beauce. For bittering, we went for Magnum and Triple Perle, and added new experimental hybrid poetically called EXP A for aromatics. All these hops come from Houblonnière Lupuline in Pontiac. Finally, a lager yeast from Labo Solution brassicole in Bas-Saint-Laurent completes the magic.



What could be fresher than a vigorous river than a good Pilsner? Ideal for a refreshing beer, Pilsner des Rapides pays homage to the Gatineau River and its many frisky passages, a well-chosen name for a style of beer that we like to enjoy at any time, alone or among friends.  Often paired with potato chips in front of a game or with stadium food, it also works well with a multitude of more complex dishes. From grilled proteins and sausages to pizza and all things spicy and tangy, it’s guaranteed to bring out the best in your taste buds and cleanse your palate.