Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beerfest: Day 1

Here is a preliminary look at the 2008 Montreal International Beer Festival – going by the name of the Mondial de la Bière de Montréal – and the beers I tried while I was there today, the 29th of May, 2008. For those in the area who might want to attend, it is still running until the 1st of June.

Of Montreal’s festivals, the beer festival is one of the largest, attracting thousands of people every day for five days and crowding them into a space half the size of a football field. It is an especially crowded event and picking out a space to call your own can be problematic, nevertheless, it is thoroughly worthwhile.

As this is merely a preliminary review, I will stick with the beers that stuck out for me (there is a list of nearly two dozen beers in my notes and to run through all of them would be a waste of my time and yours):

La Bock de Joliette – 6.1%: Made by a local Microbrewery called L’Alchimiste, this one’s my hands-down favourite so far. Its taste is smoky, with a hint of caramel and zero aftertaste. It is nearly like toffee going down and the blend of smoke, malt, bitter and sweet is nothing short of flawless. If I had to recommend the beer festival for any one beer, it would have to be this one.

Aventinus 8%: A german beer from the makers of Warsteiner Premium, this one is strong and fruity. The aftertaste is a little odd, though not at all unpleasant and the scent of it before the first sip is absolutely divine. The amount of sediment this one leaves behind is almost disturbing and was worth a hearty laugh upon discovery.

Bog Water 6.6%: An Ontarian brew, this one is chocolaty in the extreme; it actually tastes like dark chocolate, though it retains the memory of its origins and the caramel stout base comes through clearly. A thoroughly enjoyable brew. Unfortunately, the line up at this particular kiosk was long and crowded, so be sure you really want it before trying to get a hold of a glass.

Delaware Fort 18%: That’s right, eighteen percent. This is an unbelievably strong beer, with an almost winey taste to it. The malt, as you might believe, comes through quite clearly and, in spite of this, it manages to be very enjoyable – mostly due to a pleasant, fruity bouquet and an aftertaste which I’d qualify as enjoyable, if a little long to dissipate.

There were others, but I think I’ll wait until Saturday has passed and I’ve had another day of sampling all the delightful brews on offer at the Mondial before writing up my final report. If you do decide to go, I hope to see you there and I sincerely hope this review helps. What a fantastic way to spend the day!

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