Friday, June 10, 2011

Mondial De La Bière II

The Mondial is held in the Bonaventure convention hall downtown across from the Central Station where we arrived. The venue lacks the warmth of the outdoor location used the last time we hit the fest. But it's filled with acres of beer stalls, offering (probably) over 500 different beers.
Beers are served in small 4 oz. sample cups, unless you bought the optional glassware, which often means a much bigger pour -- though not always. You buy beer coupons for $1 each at a ticket window, then use the coupons to pa for the beer. The beers cost between 2 coupons (or $2) and 5, with many going for 3. The higher ABV, the more tickets required to experience that ride! But if you know the brewer or bartender, you're likely to get a few gratis.
On Thursday I had some early errands to run, so B.R. hit the fest early. By the time I had arrived I was ready to try to catch up. The first stall I went to was HOPFENSTARK, a Montreal area brewer. Fred, the brewer, was on hand and he offered our first round on the house. I had his BERLIN ALEXANDER PLATZ, a 3.2% raspberry Berliner Weiss. It had a slight murky attractive pink color, an aromatic with raspberry and was perfectly tart and refreshing! It was sour enough to be quenching without going over the line. Fred said that he uses about 40kg of fresh local raspberries in a 700 liter batch.
Fred recommended his End of the Trail I.P.A. to B.R., which had enough hop aroma, flavor and bitterness to satisfy any connoisseur des houblons, yet also had the malt to back it up.

Across the way, BENELUX, another Montreal brasserie, offered the ARDENTE, a "brettanomyces saison." The brett character was there, but very subtly. The tart blanche character married well with the brett, and gave the beer a slightly wild, woolliness.

Though we had plenty of DIEU DU CIEL the night before, we stopped off for a NOCE DE SOIE, a Saison with Sancho and yuzu, and CHAMAN imperial pale ale, a 9.5%, a slightly stronger version of their usually 8% double I.P.A.

Not everything that we tried at the fest was amazing. I got suckered into trying "white beer with champagne" -- LA FUTéE -- by some barker. I'll have to check on the name of the brewer -- the drink was not worth remembering. (It was PETIT FUTé which isn't a brewery, but a tourism promoter.) In short, it was dull and flat and aside from being wet, there's not much good to say about it. They make a black beer version of it, too. I didn't bother.

BEAU'S ALL NATURAL of Ontario had a nicely visual display. B.R. was recommended their flagship beer, LUGTREAD LAGERED ALE, which they boasted won "best craft beer in Ontario" at some point. Though it had good color and clarity, it had a grainy, homebrew-like flavor. Their BOG WATER had a lot more character -- a murky brown gruit brewed with bog myrtle that had a hint of molasses flavor.

I also tried the BROADWAY PUB's (from Shawinigan, Que.) "CELEBRATION", their Märzen, which was tasty and malty, though way sweeter than you'd ever expect for that style. The BLACK MAMA schwartz bier was a good example of the style with good roast malt notes without any acrid bitterness.

There were a bunch of other items that we sampled, including some ciders, but nothing worth mentioning, except for the amazing cheese bread offered by PAIN VOYAGEUR, one of the few food items available at the fest that was not some kind of weird meat (alligator, bison, turtle, bore, kangaroo -- yes KANGAROO).

We really got treated when we met with the other Quebec brewer named Fred from CHARLEVOIX in Baie Ste-Paul, about an hour north of Quebec City -- Jean-François of Dieu Du Ciel was with us.
He started us off with the DOMINUS VOBISCUS TRIPLE which and a really nice, yeasty -- but clean -- aroma, with a pleasant perfume-like note. At 9%, it also had that bit of alcohol bite associated with the style.
Next it was the BLANCHE, which is made with curaçao orange peel, coriander and chamomile! The flavors melded perfectly to give uniqueness yet balance to this great summertime ale. Following it was the DOUBLE, which was estery and fruity, with a faint banana/figgy flavor, with some bitterness in the finish.

We wrapped up with the LUPULUS, their very hoppy 10% beer. It was so aggressively, and pleasantly hopped, with wonderful flowery hop aroma and reasonable bitterness, that it didn't seem close to being 10% -- i would have guessed 8%. It had a bit of "triple" qualities and hop flavor in the aftertaste. Definitely a sipping beer!

That was it for the day at the Mondial. Next it was time to stuff ourselves with moules et frites at BIERE ET COMPANIE! Later in the evening we hit the insiders after-gathering at BROUE PUB BROUHAHA.

They had some very interesting items on offer, including a MAPLE DOUBLE "with a secret ingredient" added in a bar-top randall. Hops? Yes, but that's not all! Please... don't tell us -- YES! BACON! Ugh, give us a break, already! They put it in ice cream, they put it in toothpaste, they put it in everything. And while it may enhance some items, it didn't do anything for this (possibly) good beer, except make it flat, and taste like stale, semi-burnt french toast. The FORÊT ENCHANTEE (Enchanted Forest) bière de Noël they offered was dark, strong, roasty and very much spiced. And their BLANCHE SOLEIL spiced with peppercorns was good enough to wash away any actual bad taste left in our mouths from la bière de porc!

1 comment:

  1. A couple years ago I had a rauchbier that tasted like used hot dog water and it's kind of ruined the style for me. But yeah, I even like bacon quite a bit, but wouldn't want it in my beer. That must do some interesting things to the head retention, too...