12th Annual Montreal Beer Festival

Did you know that Satan came from Belgium? Neither did I until I attended the 2005 Festival Mondial de la Bière where "Satan", a heavenly brew, is one of the 364 beers available for festival visitors to sample.

The 12th edition of the Montreal Beer Festival is being held from June 1st to the 5th at the Windsor Station & Courtyard located in downtown Montreal. This location offers the comforts of both an indoor hall and an outdoor terrace lined with tents which are filled with food and spirits for the enjoyment of the more than 75,000 visitors expected.

I visited the festival on the first of many beautiful days to come, and we had the opportunity and pleasure to be introduced to Don Tse, a BJCP Certified Beer Judge, and Beer Consultant who helped us choose from the many great beers available at the festival. I learned that beer, like wine, has layers of flavors; the more layers, the more complex a beer is, and complexity equals a delicious beer for the connoisseur.

Every year the beer festival hosts several events, including the famous Beer Contest, where festival visitors vote for their favorites. This festival is a wonderful opportunity for all breweries, including the micro breweries to have equal exposure to the public.

Cheers to the festival organizers for eliminating the admission charges allowing visitors to come and go freely during the 5 day event. Festival visitors are able to enjoy the tastings at their leisure, without the pressure of binge drinking to try to get their monies worth. At a dollar a tasting coupon – a 3 to 4 ounce sample of beer is only 1 to 5 coupons for most beer brands.

The Festival Mondial de la Bière is one ritual I have enjoyed for several years, and I must say that it keeps getting better each year with more variety of products, and a more relaxed atmosphere – it's just a perfect beginning to a great summer of festivals in Montreal.

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