Saturday 21 June 2014

Mondial de la Biere: Beer, Food, and a Media Pass


 SO last week we celebrated the 21st edition of the Mondial de la Biere here in Montreal. This year, like last year, Palais des Congres reprises its role as the beer mongers haven. The event took place between the 11th and 15th of June. And I - being the responsible blogger that I am - took the Wednesday off to indulge in geographically inaccessible brews.


My day started at 11am where I met fellow bloggers Beerism and Malty Tasker. We received our media credentials and the rest is a blur of beer, food, and questionable photography. OK, I think I sped a little too far ahead. Let's start from the beginning.

Soon after arriving I sat down with La Décapsule des Frères Atman for the opening Conference where Jeannine Marois and Mme Plante - the event organizers - opened with a discussion of what was to be had, what was new, who came down, from where; and that we should drink in moderation, as this is a beer tasting festival and not a beer drinking festival (semantics to many...). This year, unlike the previous 20 years, the Italian and Brazilian beers occupied their own booths with representatives from some of the companies present.

Jeannine Marois guided us around the exposition hall and provided a brief description of the exhibitors present. We were then ushered to the VIP section with an excellent selection that was representative of almost all the imported beers at the festival, with the exception of some of the Italian beers. While in the VIP we were all welcomed to take a seat out on the terrasse for Glutenberg's press release of their newest collaboration with Francois Chartier, Saison Froide.

For those of you who do not know, Glutenberg are gluten free brewers producing excellent beers, and Francois Chartier is a renowned Wine Connoisseur. Together they came up with a recipe that played down the sweetness of gluten free grains and played up the character of the spices/herbs present towards a complexity of flavours that are at once discernible but at the same time allow a wholly different interpretation of the spice/herb mixture. An excellent beer! Buy it before it sells out.
The first day of the beer festival is a wondrous thing to be a part of - though some may comment on how empty the exposition hall is -  one can mingle with the brewers, try whatever beer their hearts desire, and take as much time to do so. I managed to take a few shots of some local brewers, and talk to some of the exhibitors about their beer.

 Let us talk about some of them more local breweries present at this year's Mondial.

The photo on the left shows Frederick Cormier of Hopfenstark and Ovi Bercan of Kruhnen. And the photo on the right shows Marc Bélanger  of Brouhaha and Mabrasserie, and once again Frederick. These three guys are brewing some stellar beers. If you are interested in finding their brews just click on their links.

 Brouhaha is my favourite local pub, and I really enjoy everything Marc Bélanger has put out to date. So I had high expectations when I asked for Tribale IPA and I was rewarded by an exemplary IPA having all the characteristics one wants from an IPA: lots of floral hops, a deep bitterness, without being too bitter, and a malty backbone that carries it straight through to the finish. And serving the beer was Annie Auger, owner of Les Délires du Terroir and co-owner of Brouhaha.They also celebrated their 6th anniversary. Happy belated birthday, Cheers!

 Le Trou du Diable, seven years young and getting better with age. If you have not tried their beers, you better get on that asap! They are a premier brewery here in Quebec (and the World), and I had the chance to try Le Coq. This is one of those beers that you wish you could get your hands on their recipe, because I would brew this weekly if I could. It is a glorious beer. Sour, yet subdued. Fruity aromatics, but not sweet. I honestly felt rejuvenated and ready for more beer after this one.

 Microbrasserie Noir et Blanche, situated in St-Eustache, is about as new a brewery as they get, but already well known for their RastafaYan, and Wurm. The RastafaYan, in the likeness of their head brewer, is an imperial brown ale that just envelopes your mouth with this velvety body and big mocha flavours, and then it drops all those wonderful hops like a hammer on your taste buds - just awesome. While the Wurm, a wheat wine, and quite opposite is frankly a revelation, and I wonder why other breweries have not gotten on this yet.
 Beau's, beautiful Beau's, they have a great brewery and concept. They are organic, and they complete the entire brewing cycle themselves i.e. from farm to glass. And though they are just over the Quebec border in Ontario, their beers are impossible to get here - for now at least. I had the great pleasure to try Beaus/Kissmeyer collaboration brew Nordic Pale Ale, wow did this impress! They succeeded in merging fruits, herbs, maple syrup, hops, malts, and yeast into such a rich and complex beer that keeps your palate guessing. Awesome beer!

Now let us talk about a few of those import beers (Not in order of preference):

  • Bodebrown/Stone Cacau IPA: The first beer of day is always the most critiqued. It kind of sets the pace for the day, and like it or not through out the day our taste buds began to lose the ability to discern certain subtleties. Though the opposite is also true, our palates do need to be acclimated.  I definitely got the  bitterness and the aromas from the cacao, and the hops used brought on earthy notes that married well. The body was medium-thick. Overall I did enjoy the beer, but nothing to cause excitement.
  • ST Austell Brewing, Proper Job: This is one of those beers that your glad you tried, but not more than that. "Powerfully Hopped" is a relative term, I found it well hopped, not much hop aroma came through, and the flavour leaned more towards the malts than it did the hops. Fine beer, but if you have had it once you have had enough.

  • Andean Brewing, Kuka, Golden Ale:  Another solid beer; enjoyable, but unremarkable. Beers of this calibre are great to drink when readily available and the price point is low enough to justify.

  • Birra del Borgo, Re Ale: This is a wonderful beer, simple, well-crafted, and tasty. Beer from Italy? Yeah, and they are making world-class beer at that! Between Birra del Borgo, Bruton, Baladin, and the many others that are coming out of Italy we can all expect great things. Sadly, these beers are difficult to come by here in Montreal.

Here are some of the other awesome beers I was lucky enough to sample, take a look.


 Once I had had my fill of delicious beer and food, it was time to go.

And a big Thank You!! to all the volunteers, exhibitors, and organizers that make this event happen, and make all of us so happy to be Montrealers!


Take the time to check out our photos of the event, if you have any ideas or thoughts please leave us a comment. Enjoy.

Until Next Year!!

- Jean

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