I look forward to the Mondiale de la Bière every year. It is an annual ritual in my fortunate circle of friends. We treat it not as an afternoon 5 à 7 or night out. Instead we take advantage of the fact that there are a few hundred opportunities to give our taste-buds a treat. It is an adventure leading to the discovery of new flavors and a new-found appreciation for beer. There is one rule that we abide by: never try something you’ve already had before.
Come Thirsty: The Beer
This year, I found that there were a lot more Canadian beers, specifically from Quebec and Ontario. Also, a few of the local bars and microbreweries made an appearance this year, which I was pleasantly surprised to see. Brutopia, who is no stranger to this festival, was now accompanied by Les Trois Mousquetaires, Benelux, and McAuslan, and many more. Sticking with my only rule, I chose not to use my tickets here since for the most part I know what they taste like.
The one Ontario brewery that impressed me the most was Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company. They pride themselves on producing an organic beer and running a family-oriented brewery. The two beers I wanted to try the most, Bog Water and Matt’s Sleepy Time Stout, were both sold out. So I opted to try their other two beers: Lug-Treaded Lager Ale and Beaver River I.P. Eh?. Both had that familiar micro-brewery taste and for some reason, I felt like I was part of the family even if it was for just a moment. They were very refreshing and had a really nice finish with little bitter aftertaste.
The beer that was the most unusual was El Lapino from Microbrasserie du Lièvre in Mont-Laurier, Quebec. It is a jalapeno flavored beer. Yes, it is spicy. This may sound a little odd, but trust me, it was unusually good. It has a great smooth heat that was freshened up with that crisp brew flavor. It’s not something that I would buy a case of, but I’m glad I tried it.
Have you even seen a single bottle of beer with 27% alcohol costing $150? No, it does not come in a 6-pack and it is banned in 13 states. Sam Adam’s Utopias 2009 cost a whopping 7 tickets per ounce! Only one bottle was opened each day, and was finished in the first 15 minutes of the day. Wish I could have tried it.
Come Hungry: The Food
Les Bons Roulés Kévy served succulent bison and wild boar on a stick. Cooked on a griddle right in front of you and served on a paper plate drew me right in. The aroma was truly intoxicating. Few things taste bad when it’s on a stick, and this did not disappoint.
The deer sausage from Le Verger des Cerfs cured my hunger like no other. A quick snap of the casing allowed the juices to flow. Topped with cooling sauerkraut and served on a sourdough roll. What could be better after 3 hours of drinking? How about some Kangaroo?
Yes, I ate that jumpy cute animal with a pouch. The character on the Dunkaroo’s label. Kangaroo Jack…It was delicious. Also cooked on a griddle, the slider of meat was put on small white buns with a tangy mayonnaise and some mesculin. Even though it was delicious, it was not worth $9 for two. Again, glad I tried it, it was delicious, that is all.
Although I did drink a fair amount, I still managed to enhance my beer knowledge even if it was just a little bit. I always say that too much of a good thing is always good. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the beerfest will get a new home next year: Place Bonaventure. There will be 200 more beers to taste, various themed sections, and the best part: more room! This year’s Mondial de la Bière was amazing, but the venue is just too small. With over 15,000 people walking in and out over 5 days a larger space is necessary and I’m glad to hear this will be changed next year. So mark your calendars, the 18th annual Mondial de la Bière will take place June 8th to the 12th, 2011. I’m counting the days.