The Mondial de la Biere truly is a wordly beer festival. These days is it very typical for festivals to focus on the beers of their native region – the Mondial in Montreal Quebec however had a massive selection of beer from every corner of the earth. Canada, United States, Belgium, Germany, Italy, England, Brasil, and more were all represented at the Windsor Courtyard for five amazing days of beer excursions.
Really you could have easily spend five days there enjoying the local food, amazing beer and joyous atmosphere – well, at least I could have – but in this trip we only had one day. And already I have learned that the best way to enjoy the festival is to come early midweek. In this and the coming three posts I will take you through the journey of amazing beer that I went on last week in Montreal!
We arrived around noon on Thursday, and the human traffic was mild at most. It was a great scenario to get around and find the beer you are looking for easily. Even by 4pm as it has started to fill up a bit, it was still extremely calm and easy to maneuver.
As 6pm rolls around though the festival turns into a wild rush of crowds all trying to drink beer, get beer and talk about beer. It is a great party of beer lovers, and a fantastic time. It does however make a methodical tasting of beer much more difficult. Hence, without a doubt, they ultimate way to enjoy the show would be the 2 or 3 days in the week from Wednesday to Friday beginning at show open – this way you can ensure you don’t leave without checking off all of the beers you had hoped to enjoy – there will be lots!
We started the Mondial off on Thursday by checking into the Press Tent where we were promptly allocated with a golden wristband allowing us to enter the VIP tasting lounge where several of the festivals most unique beers lay waiting for us. Really there were about 50 beers here; we could have spent an entire day just enjoying the selection here. However we did decide to venture out and reserve the privileged tastings for later in the day when the festival got really busy.
Here is a brief list of some of the notable beers I was able to enjoy from the festival:
Unibroue: Blonde de Chambly (5%)
On the very first day of the festival Unibroue unveiled their newest beer; the Blonde de Chambly. It classic Unibroue fashion it comes in with crisp and clean flavors with a distinct Belgian style spicy and yeasty character. This beer should not be confused for the Blanche de Chambly – that is a Wit, this is a Blonde. The Blond emanates soft and lightly sweet pale malts with touches of green apples and light citrus. The palate is extremely fresh showing the same flavors as the aroma with gentle biscuits and refreshing muddles spices. Light tart yeast and funk plays a small role in the background as fresh and floral hops come in to balance the pale malt sweetness. Another hit from Unibroue for the summer! Although it will probably still play backup for me with the Chambly and Maudite taking the reins.
Brasserie de Brunehaut: Abbaye de Saint Martin Dark (8%)
Hazy opaque amber orange with deep golden browns and a short tan head. It is a classic Belgian brune with nice deep caramel flavors which melt effortlessly over your tongue. Smooth burnt brown sugar and touches of spicy and lightly funky yeast perfume their way into your palate. Soft hops add an herbal and lightly bitter note helping balance the sweet malts and big mouthfeel.
Wals: Trippel (9%)
The Wals Trippel came in a wicked corked 750ml bottle that resembles a wine bottle but tapers flat to the bottom. A labeled on ribbon on the neck of the bottle presented this beer in an absolute elegant fashion. The Trippel impressed me hugely with a creamy yet effervescent mouthfeel that brought in smooth toffee and caramel with mulled spices and ripe fruits. Bright apples, peaches, and bananas come into play with cinnamon, cloves, white pepper, with a sugary sweetness. It’s balanced nicely with citrus tartness and delicate hop bitterness with an herbal smooth feeling. It has a quenching dry finish with an added touch of spice and sweet malt. This was one of the most memorable beers of the event for me and I will absolutely beer seeking out Wal’s beers when I am in the US.
Beaus: Matt’s Sleepingtime Stout (8%)
My first Impression of Matt’s Sleepingtime Stout was “roasted carbonation”. It came in cold and crisp showing generous carbonation and smooth distinct roast flavors. First it was all roast, but then slowly cocoa and espresso made their way in finishing with only espresso. It showed a good amount of malt sweetness but was relatively dominated by roasted barley. That being said, I still did get some chocolate and butterscotch in the body. As a refreshing stout to be served cold it was excellent – crisp and quenching with balanced bitter and rich coffee flavors.
See more from the Mondial de la Biere in Part 2…