The glass is full: the Beer Fest is here

Montreal Times - - News - By Ser­gio Martinez mtl­ fes­ti­val­mondi­al­

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

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