Friday was my third and final day at Mondial de la Bière. Three days at the fest seem like a minimum, as not all beers are available all the time. You can go in with a list of beers to try but will have to adapt if the beers are sold out or if the brewery has put something else on tap. The Petit Pubs had beers selling out, but were also continually restocking their fridges so that beers could last the weekend and not be bought out by all of us early birds. It was also a good way to keep people coming back – “Sorry, no more for today. Try tomorrow!”
If you are planning on being at Mondial for multiple days, be sure to pace yourself. There is no point in overdoing it on the first day and then being sluggish through the next two. Packing lots of water and snacks is a necessity. This is especially true when factoring in the late-night events that happen once Mondial is closed.
- Hopfenstark Saison 16 (Canada): Unfortunately, the sour saison was not available, so I went for one made with rye. Citrusy, with some funky yeast, moderate tartness and a definite rye character. Not my favourite, but I blame it on the rye. (Ratebeer)
- Beau’s Bog Water (Canada): Another odd brew from Beau’s, this one brewed with bog myrtle. The malts are fairly strong, which is quite necessary in this spicy and earthy brew. I got a strong flavour of tart cranberries. Something I would definitely like to try again. (Ratebeer)
- Trois Mousquetaires Imperial Weizen (Canada): Quite a nice hazy and cloudy straw colour. Good head retention through the sample. Banana and yeast. Really spicy and bitter finish – there are definite hops in here. Ending is a little too harsh. (Ratebeer)
- À l’Abri de la Tempête Corne de Brume (Canada): It is nice to see a beer that is strong in both hops and malts, with a fine balance. Malts give a deep brown colour and flavours of molasses and brown sugar. Spices and pine in the finish. Could use more body, but a really nice beer. (Ratebeer)
- Maui Coconut Porter (USA): This was just put in the fridge and was only slightly chilled. The coconut was perceptible but not overpowering. Worked really well with the dark chocolate flavours. (Ratebeer)
- Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti (USA): One of the beers I kept on hoping to be restocked and it eventually was. A sweet nectar of espresso and vanilla. Loads of bitterness. The kind of beer that explodes with flavour in your mouth and sticks around long after you’re done. (Ratebeer)
- Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel (Canada): Yes, this is a fantastic beer, but… it was hard to taste anything past the Espresso Yeti. Still, there are worse ways to end a festival.
Actually, my true end to Mondial was double-fisting the Peche Mortel and Yeti. I got the Yeti and bought a Dieu du Ciel glass, at which point they offered to fill it up with something. Two imperial stouts for the win! On the way out, the lineup was huge, stretching down the block and covering half of the Bell Centre. Definitely arrive early.
Overall, the festival was a blast. Not only is it a chance to drink lots of great beers, but to meet brewers and other drinkers (including Steve Beauchesne from Beau’s, Troy Burtch from Great Canadian Pubs & Beer and TAPS, and Tim from Feels Good). Where else can you hear a brewery involved in discussions for buying oak barrels? Or two people debating the merits of certain types of hops? Mondial is as much of a social event as a beer festival. Beer goes best with company, which seems to be a large purpose of Mondial.
And next year it will only be getting bigger with Mondial moving from Gare Windsor to Place Bonaventure. There will be a German beer hall, a Belgian spot and something that looked like a nightclub. It will a completely different experience and another great reason to go back (not that one is really necessary).
- Le Cheval Blanc Imperial Stout Cuvee 2008 (Canada): We were a bit early for the tasting so Soph ordered the Betterave (a foul ale made with beets) and I got this lovely aged imperial stout. Flavours of espresso, tar and licorice. A decent amount of bitterness in the end and some chocolate. Body thins out in the finish, which is a sad end to a good beer. (Ratebeer)
- Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza (USA): This was definitely weird and funky. Lighter fruit notes. Compared to the other two samples, this one tasted like it had wild yeasts added, rather than naturally occurring. Great for those who love brettanomyces. (Ratebeer)
- 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek (Belgium): Loads of cherries and really fricking tart. Excellent! (Ratebeer)
- Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait 2005 (Belgium): The quintessential gueuze from our tasting. Lots of buzzwords (as Sophie calls them) are applicable – horse blanket, hay and just about every other barnyard term. A really nice sourness. Superb! (Ratebeer)
And that brings a close to my whirlwind three days at Mondial. You may have thought that I wouldn’t touch a beer again for a week, but I was drinking some gifted homebrewed barley wine the next night. Mondial reinforced my love of beer and the experience that can be created by the right beer at the right time. Until next year (maybe)!
Today: 1.88L. Year-to-date: 114.76L.