Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 24th edition of Mondial de la Biere. Due to my main line of work being contract based I was lucky to have some time off during the festival to really take it all in. Some of the international choices, namely Three Floyds and Lost Abbey, had me attend early on Wednesday. However I attended Friday and Saturday as well. It is safe to say there was a lot of beer consumed, a lot of brain cells destroyed and even some memory loss of the events that occurred. This festival was a time to try new beers and enjoy old ones, all the while enjoying the company of brewers and other beer bloggers. Cody from Beercrank flew in just for that week to enjoy the festivities and along with Alex from Le Malt Incarne we ravaged the festival over the course of two days. Friday was quite a day because we had a group of us beer bloggers including Derek from Malty Tasker and Noah from Beerism hanging about! I also had the chance to have a quick chat with Apologie Du Malt and drink down some brew.
The craft beer public seemed to have some reservations about attending, sighting the fact that all of the well known, large and high ranked breweries were not present, nor the newer smaller Quebec breweries and that the representation of Quebec was not impressive or was too small. To this I do agree, there were many many great Quebec breweries not present this year, and it seems to keep decreasing as time goes on. For me it wasn’t too much of a bother because I was there to try new beers local and international.
At first glance I too thought that there wasn’t much from Quebec I would want to try out, but to my surprise once I was there things were far different. Namely because I was able to leave having tried some great beers from Brasserie du Bois Blanc and getting the opportunity to have a quick chat with Frederic. Bois Blanc is fairly new and on the outskirts of Montreal, I believe they bottled a little bit starting out but have since stopped to focus on just brewing the beer. You can however travel to the brewery and do growler fills onsite! One of their beers that really stood out to me was their Dark Soul, a 9.5% imperial stout. This beer was an explosion of chocolate, coffee and nice tobac biter finish but supremely easy to drink and very dangerous.
Another great surprise was hanging around the Noire et Blanche booth and tasting some of their beers which I really have not indulged in much. I had picked up one of their beers from Ma Brasserie some time back, but most of the others I have not touched. I was surprised with their Litchi-tchin, although not rated high on untappd or ratebeer, having gone in without any preconceptions I was truly happy with the way it tasted, light, refreshing, hoppy and fruity.
Another part of the festival I enjoyed was having the chance to chat with Etienne and David from Vox Populi. I had tried their double fruit punch last year at Mondial and it is safe to say they have come a long way since then. Recently they have been releasing a single hop IPA which showcases a new hop variety with each release. The true beauty of it is the people decide the hop and brewers make the beer, showcasing the true meaning of Vox Populi, latin for “For the People.” There will be more on these guys very soon.
Another great beer was the collab between Brasserie Harricana and La Memphre, the B52, I think I need to head to Magog soon to visit the guys at La Memphre. This beer was the brainchild of Harricana brewer, Francis Ritcher and La Memphre brewer David Plasse. The B52 was a solid imperial porter with lactose, coffee and vanilla aged in bourbon. It was literally like having B52 bomber drop an explosion in my mouth. My whole body shivered with fear and euphoria as this beer went down into my stomach and its affects into my blood stream.
Another stellar beer that was consumed was Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltic 2013 edition aged in Bourbon and Brandy. I have not yet opened my bottles at home of the Porter special editions so this was a delight for me! It also has me excited to crack open my 2015 and 2016 versions. And a quick shout out to Helm, for their hyper, exciting attitude and friendly welcome!
I had the chance to have some really solid international beers out of which the Lost Abbey beers stood out the most to me, but there was some really solid beers from Norway which were consumed as well. It was a real disappointment that SAQ has to hold some of these beers to process them and most of the IPAs that come in out of province are over three months old and really not in their prime. Most of the Three Floyds were bottled back in January or February and a lot of the European IPAs just tasted like cardboard. As stated by Malty Tasker “SAQ aged it for us.” And that statement was truly on point.
Out of the international beers the biggest surprise for me was Cervejaria Overhop, they are a brewery based in Brazil but are looking to get set up here in Canada. And some of their beers were a true delight, along with the people! Thanks again guys for the warm welcome!
One brewery from Canada but from the west coast Central City, had two spectacular beers which were enjoyed and I wanted more! Thor’s Hammer and Sour II. Both were a true delight but Thor’s Hammer really stood out to me, it’s a bourbon barrel aged barleywine from 2014. The sweetness was on point and the bourbon notes were solid. The bourbon ageing toned down the traditional qualities of barleywine, which I preferred as I am not a huge fan of barleywines.
It was as always a pleasure to hang about with the boys Renaud and Shawn from Avant-Garde Brasseurs, drink some brew and shoot the shit. I was also able to speak with Darryl Shelton who recently released his Shelton NEIPA, you can read more on that Here.
Friday night was coupled with hanging with some beer blogger friends, drinking great brew and also occasionally going to visit another beer blogger who was too busy volunteering, my buddy Pierre from La Tete Dans La Fut. So after a long day of festivities on Friday the night ended in a super charged high speed crazed run of tastings with the one the only Olivier Moreau from Matera Brasseur. This is the part of the night that is very hazy, pun intended, all I can remember is some laughs, some chugs and a whole lot of drunken screaming. Especially quoting the clip below, Paul Rudd is a genius. Explicit content below, viewer discretion is advised.
So after three brutal days of consumption, many laughs with Alex, Cody and our other friend Stephane, the debauchery came to a close, and thank god, I don’t think my liver could handle anymore, I can say with confidence for me the festival was a great success. Namely because of the company that was alongside me and the people I was able to meet whilst there. Till I conquer the next festival, *Ahem, Chambly, Ahem*, enjoy the summer, enjoy the local brews, and stay hoppy ladies and gents.
Words + Photography by Hopcitizen