The glass is full: the Beer Fest is here
Beer is probably the oldest type of alcoholic beverage—it was invented in Mesopotamia about 6 thousand years ago. Today is also one of the most popular, although generally associated with young consumers the truth is that there is no particular age to enjoy this drink which is at the same time refreshing and soothing. Montreal—no doubt, a city of festivals—also has a special event during which people can not only taste the most traditional kinds of beer, but also explore some strange mixtures with fruits, coffee, chocolate, and various herbs. Personally, I'm not a purist, and therefore I'm open to some exploration in this matter. I'm also fond of strong beers (some even at 10% alc. vol.) which I think are in a particular category. This year I found particularly interesting the Norwegian beers: Saison (6.5%), India Pale Ale (7.5%) both from the Nøgne Ø brewery, and the Asmpyra (9%) from the Bådin brewery. Brazil has a significant presence this year too, and although I really find one of its best-known brands, Brahma, simply terrible, I would say that the samples of beers from Cervejaria Colorado were interesting.
Of course, the whole point of this festival known as the Mondial de la Bière is to give the Montreal beer drinkers the opportunity to see beyond the best known industrial products. (Which are known just for tasting all the same, more or less). Instead, this event provides the occasion to explore what many microbreweries are doing throughout Quebec and Canada. It is also the opportunity to be educated about this drink, that's why there were many workshops and conferences. I for one would like to see people moving away from those horrible concoctions known as light beer: they are tasteless, not much different from the residual liquid left after you wash a beer barrel.
The 24th edition of the Mondial de la Bière is taking place at the Palais de Congrès and the esplanade in front of it on de la Gauchetière St. Admission is free but tasting coupons are $1. Most beers require between 2 to 8 coupons per tasting. The souvenir glass costs $15. Besides beer, visitors can taste ciders, meads and other drinks, while on the food front there is a variety of offers, from cheese to chocolates and fudge, to delicious European-style sausages.
The Mondial de la Bière continues this weekend. Saturday with the following program: 3 p.m. Brazilian beers workshop; 4 p.m. "Funkytown" guided tour; 8 p.m. Musical performance, Passe-Moé la Puck—Hommage aux colocs. Sunday—the last day of this event and Father's Day—has a special treat for fathers, between noon and 6 p.m. if you show up with your dad, the Mondial will double your purchase.At 1:30 the "Surprise Countries" guided tour.
The festival opens at noon and closes at 11 p.m. on Saturday, and is open between noon and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
For more detailed information go to:
The esplanade in front of the Palais des Congrès
the outdoor site of the Beer Fest