By Marc Demeule
The 17th edition of the biggest beer festival in North America is now past. Another attack to my liver, but I’m sure that such good beers can’t be harmful. The popularity of this event can be observed at the two 2 hour lines during the weekend. Entrance to the festival is free, so the maximum number of participants needs to be limited to avoid an overcrowded site. When you are lucky enough, you can take some vacation time for the opening on Wednesday. It wasn’t my case this year, so I had to go the crowded way. Okay! I just used the exit to enter, pretending I was a volunteer in a booth and it worked fine so I skipped the long queue.
In Beervana, a selection of 500 beers, including 240 new brews is called a local beer store. Nevertheless, I can assure that the selection we had for 2010 was interesting. In addition to Québec and Ontario breweries, we were able to taste new products from Belgium, Brazil and Italy.
The Mondial de la Bière also included a beer judging event among Quebec microbreweries. The platinum distinction of the 2010 edition was assigned to a Pinot Noir oak aged Belgian with brettanomyces (Trippe à 3 à la Brett) from À la fut, Saint-Tite.
Gold medals have been awarded to:
– Le Saint-Bock, Montréal with RIP (Russian Imperial Porter), Sacrilège (Imperial Stout), Sacrilège Ultime (Imperial Stout) and Malédiction (Sweet Stout)
– Microbrasserie le Bénélux, Montréal with Congo (Belgian IPA) and Cuda (West Coast IPA)
– Microbraserie Le Trou du Diable, Shawinigan with La Saison du Tracteur
– Broadway Pub, Shawinigan with Sein d’esprit (German Hefeweizen)
– Hopfenstark, L’assomption with Saison Station 55
– McAuslan, Montréal with St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
On my own way, I did experience new brews from Brazil Cervejaria Bamberg and Cervejaria Wäls. Italia was well represented with Birrifico Artigianale Karma, Birrifico del Borgo and Birrifico Baladin. The Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing reminded me great Northwest hoppy beers, so did the Dr IPA from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. I’ve missed La Folie from New Belgium, but had their 1554 black ale.
Quebec breweries now offer more Saison beers on their regular tap selection. Two years ago, it was rare. For 2010, the new trend is to spice up recipes with brettanomyces. When will we have sour ales? Probably in one or two years… Hope to see you for the 2011 edition with a new location for the festival and more beers to discover in an indoor environment, so rain won’t stop us tasting.