It’s time to celebrate the most important festival of the year, Le Festival Mondial de la Bière. Like a child in a toy store that can afford all the toys, I will most definitely enjoy this year’s festival and this article aims to share with you some tips on how to get the most out of it!
When: June 14-18
Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal
Metro Station: Place d’Armes. Avoid driving, it’s more fun this way!
Have you ever been overwhelmed at the Montreal beer festival? Can’t choose which microbrews to taste? Can’t find your way around? Let me help.
Get there early. If you get there later in the day, moving around will be difficult, and trying to have a good conversation with the brewers will be impossible. So, for all the beer connoisseurs out there, get there before 5pm weekdays and before 12pm on weekends. If not you will be forced to face the hordes.
Where to start?
First you get the tickets.
Then you get the beer.
Then you get the food.
…Then you go back for more beer.
TIckets: There are ticket booths everywhere. Every beer will cost you between 2-8 tickets for 2-8 ounces of beer. I recommend buying a reusable glass, it makes for a great keepsake and it’s good for the environment.
My favourite microbrews to start with include Dieu du Ciel and Beau’s. At Dieu du Ciel, I always get a 4 oz of the seasonal beer Herbe à Détourne which is hard to find in stores. This year, I’m eager to try Beau’s new brew, Full Time IPA. Because these are both strong beers it will be important to cleanse my palate afterwards, which means food break time.
Food Gal Tip: After two to three tastings go straight for the cheese booth. Cheese and beer mmmmm.
Then we move outdoors. Yes, it extends outside to a beautiful terrace, where Helm and McAuslan await. I’ll try 2 oz of a new brew at each of these fine establishments while enjoying a treat from one of the food trucks. The fries from Frites Alors are great because they come in a cone with a tiny, fun fork. The outdoor counter for imported beers is worth a taste as well. We then like to head back indoors and stop at the Mons kiosque. Mons on tap is a delight.
There are so many kiosques to choose from but microbrews I suggest include:
Dieu du ciel – Peché Mortel imperial stout
Beau’s – Patersbier sessionable belgian
Harricana – Saison des allergies
Brouhaha – Sang de Lutin
Trou du Diable – La Pitoune – Pilsner
Avant-Garde artisan brasseur – Funk et la Furie sour
Helm – Hutchie Blonde IPA
McAuslan – St Ambroise Stout
Dunham – Saison du Pinacle
Mons (food gal’s personal favourite) – Blanche
Here is a list of beers you don’t normally find in Quebec, but you can find at the international beer counters indoors, that I am looking forward to trying for the first time:
Brussels Beer Project: Babylone
Vliegende Paard Brouwers: Préaris Smokey-Li
Central City Brewers: Sour No.2
The Lost Abbey: Serpent Stout
Nøgne Ø: India Pale Ale
If none of these beers sounds appealing, then by all means, aim for your favourite styles. Every brewer usually has a blonde, a stout, an IPA, a blanche etc. My favourites include Tripels, saisons, IPAs and funky brews that I have never tried before (usually sours and gruits). If you have not yet determined your style, then ask the brewers for their recommendations.
For the complete list click here
Sit back and relax
Now that we have all enjoyed a few good brews and nibbled on some tasty foods, relaxation is a must. Maybe play free board games, courtesy of Randolph’s, or have a deep conversation with some newfound friends. Either way, its time to enjoy some last sips of your favourite brew of the day- I know I will. At this point if I have a few tickets left I venture back into the crowd and try to end on a more bitter note with higher alcohol content, usually a tripel, IPA, or imperial stout, as these are the only beers strong enough to impact the palate.
Taking the time to enjoy this festival is something I look forward to every year. Now that you know my secrets on how to enjoy it, I hope you have fun. Stay safe!