Mondial de la Biere 2022
Updated: May 27, 2022
By Tony Forder
It was so good to be back in Montreal, back at the Mondial de la Biere festival. Sure, I was there last fall for the Terrace d'Automne, a covid watered-down Mondial, but this was the real thing back in all its glory at the classic Gare Windsor, Montreal's elegant former train station.
Top, Peter McAuslan; volunteers at the Petit Pub. Below, Gare Windsor.
This year's festival reinforced the relaxed feeling of the Mondial, enabled by the absence of an entry fee – visitors are able to come and go as they please over a 4-day schedule, paying for samples as they go. The newly remodeled Rio Tinto courtyard provided ample outdoor space and seating and the weather proved better than forecast although a storm warning Saturday which never materialized evening did scatter some of the crowd.
Overall the fest was well-attended, not to the degree of some former years, but definitely encouraging for a city emerging from the Covid-19 shadow. More than 400 beers were in supply, plus an assortment of spirits – cocktails and mocktails – ciders and mead (hydromel), from some 70 exhibitors. The Mondial program also listed a dozen alcohol-free beers from various breweries.
The OGs like RJ, McAuslan, Trois Mousquetaires, Dieu du Ciel!, Le Saint-Bock, Helm and Brasseur de Montreal were there. Peter McAuslan, now making gin and whisky in his "retirement", was busy signing his new book Making Better Beer. Many Quebec newcomers too – colorful Lagabier, Gallicus, 4 Origines, Alpha, Domaine Berthaume and Shawbridge to name a few. Le Naufrageur made the trip in from the Gaspé peninsular, Beaus returned from Ontario and the Petit Pub presented beers from 9 Vermont breweries – Big Tree, Dirt Church, Drop In, Foam, Green Empire, House of Fermentology, Lawsons Finest Liquids, Lucy & Howe, Stone Corral, and Zero Gravity – along with Rare Form and Singlecut Beersmiths from NY State.
IPAs – New England, West Coast, Sour, White – were in good supply, as were Imperial Stouts and Porters, but lighter Lager styles and Sours were also much in evidence. New importers Pivot and Vitriol brought in Belgian Lambics – Drie Fonteinen and Tilquin – and an assortment of barrel-aged Imperial Stouts including a Chartreuse treatment.
So, with a roll of the dice, we can say the Mondial de la Biere Festival is back at full strength after a 2-year hiatus (except for the Terrace event last fall). Nearly 40,000 visitors attended the 28th edition of the festival. The only things missing were the MBiere judging competition and a fuller slate of imports. With Covid restrictions still lingering – the masking rule was only lifted a week before the fest – there simply wasn't enough time.
The Rio de Janeiro version of Mondial de la Biere, which was successfully staged in December 2021, will be back again in December 2022.