Summer is certainly a time for beer festivals and Quebec has no shortages of these crazy alcohol driven drunk fests. I mean lets be honest, we all try to keep our composure, eloquent fancy tasting nature, and overall demeanor. However at the base of it all we are not tasting wine and spitting it out. We are tasting beer and sending all of it into our bloodstream. So these festivals can and do get a bit messy.
Mondial has to be the most well known, and largest of them all, attracting people from all walks of life. Mondial essentially turns into a place where some people go to party and get drunk, while the rest of us beer geeks walk around in wonderment (still also getting drunk though). And although I do enjoy attending Mondial every summer, it is not my favorite festival. Thus far my favorite festivals are ones that take place outdoors. It is just an overall better experience, get some sunshine, drink some beer, lay on the grass and kick back. Being indoors in a large space can sometimes make it feel like you are at a job fair rather than a beer festival. Especially when its summer, it is made to be outdoors! The most enjoyable part of Mondial is whenever I step in the outside area where the food is and some other beer stands are. For this reason my favorite festival to attend is Bieres et Saveurs Chambly. Or as I simply call it Chambly Fest.
Even though Chambly Fest is at the top of my list, I couldn’t resist the urge when something wonderful happened. Dunham decided to start a festival like no other in Quebec. A type of festival with a specific system that has been taking place in the United States for some time now. Lighting sessions. What made it even more appealing was the long list of some of the best breweries on this here earth. With attendees such as the likes of Cantillon, Drie Fontein, Foam Brewers, Other Half, Boon, Bellwoods and the list goes on and on. I am sure everyone has seen the massive list of phenomenal breweries. It encompassed a wide variety USA, Canadian and International. A lightning session, is pretty much a flat ticket price to consume as much beer as you want, in a small 2/4oz tasting format. It is essentially a really good deal, namely because of the large variety you will be able to drink and try from far away places. At first I was hesitant considering it was $140 that would go into my stomach and come out as urine (whilst some of it sits on my waist line), as well as the far location, and to top it off, I was afraid I would be spending more time in a line to get beer, than actually drinking beer.
However many reservations I may have had, I decided to say “we’ll do it live.” I bought my ticket, told my wife to make plans with her family in Dunham region and began the dreadful wait till August 11, 2018. Many have been congratulating Sebastien, Eloit, Simon and the rest of the Dunham family and crew on their efforts on this festival. And I will add on to that as well, because Foudres Unis turned out to be exactly what anyone would have hoped for! This festival went on without a glitch in my opinion. Maybe just needed a little bit more organization as far as waiting before 11am for the festival to start. It was difficult to distinctly form a line, and few of us where there early and in the front having a hard time getting people to realize there was a line. But that was not much of a problem, thanks to Derek aka Malty Tasker, who was able to heard the hoards of black sheep roaming around the field and let them know, line is that way.
Finally after a little wait the afternoon began, and what were fears slowly turned into smiles, and what were concerns slowly faded away into thin air. And all that was left, was the wonderment, the ecstasy, and the elation of what I can only describe as one of the (so far) best festival experiences I have had. The waiting in lines for beer went by very quickly, I was able to drink most of what I wanted (mainly couldn’t due to the 3hr 30mins), and even though 650 people were at each session, it felt small and intimate. I left the festival, a bit drunk, very satisfied, and content with my experience. And looking forward to the next year when I would jump to the opportunity to buy my ticket.
For those that did not attend, I highly recommend checking it out, sadly it will not be occurring again till August 2020. Which does make me very sad. But I look forward to that day, the exact day is August 8, 2020. You can shoot a like on the Foudres Unis page to stay up to date with happenings and news. The facebook page is HERE.
Another big congrats to Dunham and the crew for this fabulous event, I will see you at Foudres Unis 2020!
Words + Photography by Hopcitizen