Another year, another venue. They say that change is a sure sign of growth and if you believe that then you’ll also believe that the Mondial de la Bière has undergone plenty of growth over its first two decades. For its 20th birthday Le Mondial de la Biere has pulled up its tent stakes and made yet another move to new digs. Twenty years ago the very first Mondial took place at Place des Arts. This time it happened at the Palais de la Congrès. There is plenty of space indoors and outdoors for milling about the kiosks, tasting the different beers and foods, and meeting all sorts of people.
Over the past 20 years Quebec has become a place that is respected worldwide for the beers it brews. The microbreweries here have improved greatly over that time. It has become an annual event that the Mondial de la Bière has worked hard to shine the spotlight on beer produced in this province as well as affording beer fans the opportunity to sample some of the best beers produced worldwide.
Several areas called Petit Pubs could be found throughout and at these there was always something going on. Bierologists and experts were offering different kinds of little workshops concerning beer. Anything you could have ever wanted to know about beer could be learned here. There was also, besides the usual inside area, an outdoor terrace called The Esplanade. On a nice warm night it was the perfect setting to have a glass or two or three of beer.
Beer and cider is not the only thing that you can get at the Mondial. Different sorts of food that go with beer can be enjoyed as well. Cheese is also something that Quebec is known for producing a high quality of. The Quebec Cheese Boutique and its 400 square feet welcomed people in to discover and talk about some of the finest cheese made right here in this province. While there you could also talk to the experts about what beer or cider would be best paired with which cheese.
Besides cheese there were other food options. Frites Alors was there serving (what else) fries and poutines, La Coche du Verger was where you could find smoked maple sausage sandwich, which was the official sandwich of this year’s Mondial, Les Festi-Saveurs was serving homemade lemonade, cotton candy, popcorn, and the like, Globe-Trotter offered Skippy burgers for those interested in trying out kangaroo meat, and Pain Voyageur tempted with brioches and espresso. These were not the only food options as just outside the Esplanade area were a couple of the food trucks that Montrealers are going to get used to seeing around town very shortly.
Variety was certainly the name of the game whether it was cheese, food or beer. Different types of beers from breweries from all over the world. Beers from Quebec, the rest of Canada, United States, Brazil, Austria, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Argentina, Chili, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Italy could be sampled. Myself and my three fellow beer samplers attempted to sample a wide variety of beer styles from different countries to give you an idea of what is out there. Here are short descriptions of the beers we sampled:
1) (Carey) Pagan IPA – Brewery: Cervejaria Coritiba – Brazil: At 7.1% this is a strong and dark amber coloured American style India Pale Ale that features a nice amount of head. A medium bodywith traces of bitterness. Well-balanced and smooth. Meaning that it goes down nicely. With little carbonation and a nice fruity flavour from the hops, the beer would be nice paired with Thai food or a fish like salmon or shellfish.
2) (Carey) The Time Traveler – Breweyr: Gigantic Brewing Co. – United States: A product of the Gigantic Brewing Co. located in Portland, Oregon. It is a relatively light at 5.5%. With its striking black colour the beer features minimal head that goes away fairly quickly, but does create a nice laciness on the glass. Taste wise you will detect hints of coffee and chocolate and then it finishes a little fruity. Creamy and smooth. A simple beer that is rather light. This beer would be nice paired with BBQ or a chocolate dessert.
3) (Ina) Perigosa Imperial IPA – Brewery: Cervejaria Bodebrown – Brazil: Perigosa means dangerous. The name is fitting. At 9.2% it has an intense flavour. It is dark amber in colour, hazy and features a thick head. As you put your nose to it you will be surprised at its light bouquet though you will be able to detect a fruity scent. For such a light scent it does have a very strong taste which I could taste honey, cinnamon and even pine sap. There is a little carbonation. Then comes the dryness and bitterness in which the aftertaste lasts a long time. Good food pairings include grilled meat and sharp cheeses like blue, cheddar and Gorgonzola.
4) (Nadia) Hazelnut Brown Nectar – Brewery: Rogue Ales – United States: This is an exceptional beer with 13 ingredients going into the making of it. Brewed at Rogue Ales out of Newport, Oregon. The style is an American Brown Ale and it is 5.6%. It is available year round. Colour is brown with a thin head. Slight carbonation and a little bit of lacing. Upon putting it up to your nose you will get whiffs of hazelnut and honey. Sweet. Upon tasting it is pleasantly malty and its ending is sour and/or bitter. Should interest those who drink Newcastle. Nice food pairings include chocolate and beef.
5) (Carey) Tripel-Hop – Brewery: Cervejaria Bodebrown – Brazil: A potent 10.0% this is a beer to be reckoned with. Yellow/blonde colour and also pours hazy with an ample and foaming head. A little lacing. You’ll get a fruity smell from it. Sweet malty flavour with little aftertaste. Only a little carbonation. Not a very complex beer. A good beer to serve with poultry and Mediterranean style dishes.
6) (Cindy) Shoals Pale Ale – Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing Co. – United States: At 5.6% it is available year round. Brewed in New Hampshire the beer is of the American Pale Ale style. It has a striking copper colour and medium-bodied. Lots of pretty lacing patterns. A complex beer whose taste will grow on you. It starts off fruity and then moves to hops and malt that will remind the drinker of bread. What I liked was that the hops did not overwhelm. Somewhat sweet. Was a solid, but not great beer. I would serve it with a salad or poultry.
7) (Nadia) Affligem Blond Abbey – Brewery: Brouwerij Affligem – Belgium: This Belgian Pale Ale rings in at a manageable 6.8%. It is a nice beer to look at, but the taste does not measure up. When you pour it is golden, but hazy with some sediment settling on the bottom of my glass. I could smell a unique combination of flowers and malt when I put my nose to it. When you taste it you can distinguish fruits like pear. A little too much carbonation for my taste though it does manage to conceal the alcohol taste. I would serve this dry beer with Thai food or fish.
8) (Carey) Red Racer ESP – Brewery: Central City – Canada: Brewed in British Columbia it is classified as a Strong Bitter or Extra Special style beer that is 5.6%. When you pour you will notice the reddish colour immediately. The limited head is off white. When you bring it to your nose you will notice grapefruit and hop. A strange buttered bread taste with a bitter finish. Not my type of beer as I didn’t find it overly drinkable. I would serve this with pork or bbq.
9) (Nadia) Hopfen Weisse – Brewery: Schneider Weisse – Germany: A robust 8.2% Weizenbock style beer. A hazy golden colour once poured and had a fluffy little head. It smells of hops and is at first bitter and smoky then it moves to spicy. An easier beer to drink than I would have thought of with that alcohol percentage. Light and creamy and not overly alcoholy. I would pair it with chocolate or grilled meat.
10) (Cindy) Mad Tom IPA – Brewery: Muskoka Brewery – Canada: Out of Gravenhurst, Ontario it rings in at a mild 5.4%. Available year round in bottle form. The American India Pale Ale will make an impression on the drinker. Pours a light amber colour with plenty of head. The smell is fantastic with its strong citrus aroma. Once you try it there is initially a bitterness then it moves to a citrus taste and ends once again bitter. Starts thin then becomes thick. It is vibrant, crisp and deep. This craft beer is a good one. Pairing it with poultry or fish would work.
11) (Ina) Vixnu – Brewery: Cervejaria Colorado – Brazil: Classified as both an Imperial India Pale Ale and an American Double. At 9.5% it pours a light amber colour and is a little cloudy. Lots of creamy head that sticks around quite a long time. It smells of malt and hops. A strong alcohol taste that hits you after the initial sweetness of the hops. As a result your tongue will feel dry after you have swallowed it. A medium amount of carbonation. Excellent with peppery cheese like Monterey Jack or pungent cheese like Limburger or with a grilled salmon.
Photos by Cindy