This was the day that the MBiere Contest awards were to be handed out to all the winners of the 5th edition of the tasting. A group of international judges gathered on days 1 & 2 to judges numerous beers available at the festival and shortly after 4pm the winners where announced in the media tent:
A la fut - Trippe à 3 a la Brett
Benelux - Congo
Benelux - Cuda
Broadway - Sein d'esprit
Hopfenstark - Saison Station 55
Le Saint-Bock - Malédiction
Le Saint-Bock - R.I.P.
Le Saint-Bock - Sacrilège
Le Saint-Bock - Sacrilège ultime
McAuslan - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
Trou du Diable - La Saison du Tracteur
Le Saint-Bock was the big winner with four gold medals (all four beers are big and bold, strong in strength) and A la fut received the Platinum award for their Brett infected Trippel. **Starting next year the MBiere Contest will be named in honour of the late Greg Noonan**
We had more help in the TAPS booth from Jordan St. John again and we had another busy afternoon. By this point my voice started to go and my legs felt like cement...but my energy remained high with each new subscription the magazine received. There were a lot of people stopping by the booth, including Gerry Heiter, the founder and organizer of the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria, BC. Great guy! Really passionate about good beer. We chatted for a long time about his festival and how alcohol regulations in BC limit him from throwing a festival similar to Mondial.
Another Toronto TAPS reader, Rob Symes, arrived on Friday night to volunteer in booth for the entire weekend and when day three came to an end we headed out to Le Cheval Blanc to drink some sours. We started off with a couple bottles of their single hop Warrior IPA, 100% fermented with bretts, bottle conditioned. Unfortunately it was for us and we ended up sharing the bottles with the large contingent of Toronto people who were also there. A bottle of Boon Mariage Parfait ended up on our table and got us back in the game. Delicious. There were also glasses of a Saison aged for five months in Chardonnay Oak barrels and more.
Hungry and tired we headed down the road to Le Saint-Bock for some dinner and a night-cap. Back to the hotel.
Saturday morning. Getting close to the end. Close to some rest and relaxation. Saturday was not the day for rest, though.
It was raining a bit in the morning which thinned the early morning crowd but it picked up again early afternoon. All the Quebec brewers who stopped by the booth kept saying, "You haven't seen anything yet. Wait till 5pm." Well, by 3pm the place was packed. And I mean packed. Each time a glass was dropped the entire crowd let out a deafening cheer, something that would continue all day and all night.
At 5pm we had another volunteer show up which provided Symes and I the opportunity to head to Dieu du Ciel for some pints. Penombre and Isseki Nicho were my selections and both were damn nice. I could drink the Nicho everyday. We sat beside a dj from LA who was in town for work and decided to stop in to try all the beers. On the other side of us was a couple from New York who came into town just for the festival. It was fun to rub it in that the Jays just beat the Yankees in 14 innings!
Back out to the street and off to the famous Schwartz's restaurant for some smoked meat. Simply amazing. If you haven't been before - go. We grabbed a spot at the counter (after waiting outside in line for 15mins) and soaked up the atmosphere.....and the meat.
After finishing up the food we headed back to the festival to work the rest of the night. When we got back the noise was crazy. The last two hours of the festival flew by and we even managed to sell a few subscriptions, even though reading was the last thing on most people's minds. Our t-shirts were pretty hot sellers though.
Numerous trip to the exhibitor bar area and our previous session at Dieu du Ciel, plus the previous nights, were catching up to me. It was back to the hotel and off to bed.
The last day of the festival. Rain, lots of rain. The crowds were thin until about 4pm or so. The exhibitor fridge was running low and many of the breweries, and the petit pubs, were slowing running out of certain products. However, we had many, many coupons left and because it was the last day we had to take advantage of them (we really did).
My day started and ending with beers from MicroBrasserie Le Trou Diable. The Saison de Tractuer, which one a gold medal, was/is a beautiful beer. I did a small video interview with Andre Trudel who was thrilled with winning a medal.
I also did an interview/beer tasting with a reporter from Belgium who was interested in how Canada's perceived Belgian beers. We sampled some beers from Brasserie du Boco (Blanche de Namur) and Brasserie la Binichoise (Blond) while he asked me about Canadian beers, Belgian beer labels and what I tasted in each sip.
Over in the media tent Mirella Amato (Beerology) was leading a blind tasting of Ontario and Quebec beers and individuals were tasked with voting on each beer - either from Ontario or Quebec. Amato was shocked, as was I when she told me, that 18 people thought that the Stout from Ontario's Hockley Valley brewery was the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout while only 3 people got it right. Interesting...
The day was coming to a close and we started tearing down our booth. Loaded and packed in the TAPS trailer we headed out to dinner. We found a Polish restaurant in Old Montreal that served Unibroue and Polish coffee. Back to the hotel after dinner to polish off the beers we accumulated over the course of the week. 3:30am - day over.
Up at 9am. Sore head. Got the vehicle and headed off to Chambly for some cheese. Got some cheese. Drove home. The end.
Mondial was a great experience - everything I thought it would be. I'm looking forward to attending again next year and I'm excited to see the new location.