New additions and surprises. That is what I’ve come to expect from the Mondial de la Biere. Each year they put a fresh twist on things. Now, you might be thinking how different could a beer festival be from year to year. Well, you’d be surprised, I guess. From different types of beers from all over the globe, a games nook set up by the people from Randolph, other types of alcohol like cider and hard alcohol, music from DJ Pat the Brat as well as some live music, a variety of food that compliment what you are drinking, and workshops to expand you knowledge on subjects like beer and chocolate or cheese pairings. This is not just a place where you and your buds can hang at drinking; it also is about expanding your palette and knowledge. An entire world waiting to be discovered.
And discover is exactly what I recommend and did. The Mondial is the perfect place to chill with friends or start an evening out at. You can walk around the large exhibit room at Palais de Congres, stop to ask questions at any of the booths, indulge in 4 ounce or 8 ounce samples of whatever catches your eye, head over to the Randolph area and play games or sit down at one of the tables set up around the edge to chill or chat. Plus, you can go outside to soak up some rays on the terrace where there was plenty of food and a couple of drink booths as well. As you can tell the possibilities were endless.
The set up is very user friendly. All tasting coupons bought go on a card which can be filled up at several spots inside and outside the room. Each booth you went to had machines to deduct the cost of your tasting and then they would tell you what you had remaining, so you never were surprised. Plus at each booth they would rinse you glass so you could start off fresh with each new tasting.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the reason most are there is to taste and discover new beers, etc. So here are some of the ones I had a chance to sample and a short description of each:
- Vox Populi Vox Stout Chocolate – 5.5% – Group Glutenberg – Montreal – Sweet Stout: Was one of the first beers sampled and remained a favourite throughout the evening. The first thing that strikes you is how dark and thick it looks. Then it is the sweet aroma of chocolate mixed with vanilla and a hint of coffee. Upon tasting it it goes down smoothly and tastes as sweet as it smells with a slightly bitter finish. The head is thin and dark brown. Lightly carbonation.
- Steamworks Pale Ale – 5.2% – Steamworks Brewing – Vancouver – American Pale Ale: Colour is rich. The taste is of caramel and toffee with a hint of malt. Also some spiciness. Smells of citrus – orange and grapefruit. The finish is a gentle hoppy. Small white head. Light and refreshing summer beer.
- Brewfist Spaghetti Western – 8.7% – Brewfist – Italy – Imperial Stout: Chocolate coffee stout which is aged in Grappa barrels. Deep and dark stout with a thin head. Very little lacing. Smells fruity and of chocolate with hints of licorice and molasses. Creamy with a bitter taste and full bodied.
- Cerveja Artesanal Cabeca de Dragao Mountain Jam – 6.0% – Cerveja Artesanal Cabeca de Dragao – Brazil – American Pale Ale: Organic beer. Taste is of honey and wheat. Bitter and full bodied aroma of cereal and caramel. Light amber in colour and is cloudy. Creamy foam with a fair bit of lace. Medium carbonation.
- Kinn Strandgata Export Staut – 7.0% – Kinn Bryggeri – Norway – Stout: Deep and dark stout with a thick mocha coloured head. Smells of chocolate, malt with light hops and vanilla. Tastes of chocolate, fruit, vanilla, and coffee. Lacing is spotty. Partially sweet and partially bitter. Light carbonation. Very much like a British stout.
- Stiegl Radler Grapefruit – 2.0% – Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg – Austria – Radler/Shandy: Real juice gives this beer its tastes and smell of grapefruit. Once poured it is cloudy and the head lingers. Distinct smell which is rather tart. Carbonation is like a spritz. Slight malt taste with a little bit of hop. Feels sticky in your mouth.
- The Great Jamaican Bitter Lemon – 0% – The Great Jamaican – Canada – Mix: For a change of pace I hit up a booth in which the product itself was non-alcoholic. The Great Jamaican makes a ginger beer and bitter lemon. They mixed the Bitter Lemon with gin and fruit like watermelon. It was great! Super summer drink when you don’t feel like a beer. Dangerous though as you cannot really taste the alcohol.
- Chic Choc Ungava Gin – 43% – Domaine Pinnacle – Canada – Alcohol: Very aromatic. Very forest like taste. Made with botanicals from Northern Quebec. Smooth. Distinctive yellow colour. In a short time it has become a major player in the gin world.
- Mad Jack Punch Tropical – 5% – Molson Coors – Canada – Fruit Beer: Very light. Hints of pineapple and coconut. Sweet. Almost clear in colour. Tastes like something that you should drink on the beach under the sun. Not a drink you could drink all night long as it is too sweet.
- Henry’s Hard Soda Hard Grape and Hard Orange – 4.2% – Molson Coors – Canada – Malt Beverage: Made with soda water and cane sugar. A nice option if you want to go for something lighter. Fun! Another sweet drink with satisfying endings. They taste very much like the orange and grape sodas you are familiar with. Colours are both bold – orange and purple. An option for people who are not typically beer drinkers.
Photos by Jan Giblin