An article by Noah Forrest
Once again Mondial de la Bière has come and gone. And guess what, I was actually there. That’s right, I left the house and drank beer with people other than my partner and two young children. Although brief, it was still nice to get out. Sadly, though, I don’t remember all that much. I’d like to blame it on the inebriation — and certainly that was a large part of it — but it was mostly because life is so fucking tiring at this point. I don’t sleep enough, and come Friday I’m already a bit of a zombie. And that was before ingesting twenty-plus samples within a few hours. Don’t worry, I still remember all the fantastic beers I tried. I just don’t remember many of the conversations I had while drinking them. #Priorities.
I arrived with my father-in-law, who agreed to be my partner-in-crime for the day. He pretty much only drinks IPAs, but mentioned to me that he wanted to expand his horizons. That being said, after trying to force feed him sour after sour, I realized it was a wasted effort considering the number of solid hop-forward offerings available this year, especially one in particular, which I’ll come back to.
When attending Mondial in the past, I would print out the list, look the beers up online, highlight everything, and come prepared to run around, attempting to sample an expansive list of beers. This doesn’t interest me anymore. It’s just too structured; that’s the last thing I want given that I don’t get out anymore. Instead we wandered around drunkenly, chatting people up, finally getting to meet those I knew only from geeky online beer circles. I was an eager Brony, and Mondial was my My Little Pony convention.
I had many great beers from many different breweries, which I would like to tell you about (once again keeping in mind I wasn’t attempting to declare some kind of winner). I began by running into Francis Richer (an old online friend), who now brews for Harricana. He had me sample several of their offerings, which I thought were rather excellent. They seem to be pushing boundaries with unorthodox experimentation, but without creating Franken-beers that are ultimately a mess. Two that stood out were a Tequila barrel-aged sour Porter and a Gose made with kaffir lime leaves and Lemondrop hops. Both were complex and delicious, subtle without being boring.
The Brasserie Dunham boys were there as well, pouring bottles from their lastest release. It was great chatting with them and being able to taste bottles I hadn’t yet tried, like No Tohoma and Saison Rustique “Drei.” Both were great, just like all their other bottles. Another notable was King Cogne “Brassinge Speciale,” which is a New Zealand hopped variant of Mircobrasserie Krunhen‘s RyePA, brewed in collaboration with The Atman Brothers (Décapsule). Delicious!
We continued wandering around, trying different things and talking with our fellow beer-lovers. However, among all the various beers we tried, one certainly stood out the most to me, and that was Les Trois Mousquetaire’s brand new IPA.
Les Trois Mousquetaires — IPA
LTM announced the release of this epic new beer at the Mondial. I say epic not because it’s some new-fangled, barrel-aged and wild yeast fermented superbeer. Rather, because brewing an amazing IPA that will (more or less) be available year-round is something that is in short supply in this province. We currently have Dieu du Ciel!’s Moralité and Le Castor’s Yakima, but few other options. Alex (brewmaster) and the whole team at LTM have been working on this beer for a long time. I know he’s excited about it, as I was to try it.
LTM’s IPA pours out a foggy, light-orange colour, with a nice little head that sticks around. The nose is a wonderfully zesty explosion of citrus fruit, as if lemon peels were being zested in front of your face. Oranges and grapefruits come through as well, with remnants of passion fruit and lime. It’s only a tad earthy and green, providing hints of grassiness that add extra layers to this hop explosion.
The flavours match the nose, and are on-point. There is lots of citrus — tangerine and clementine in particular — mixed with tangy and bitter grapefruit rinds. Hints of vanilla and light malt starts to come out as the beer warms and my palate adjusts. It has just the right amount of grassy funk, which is subtle but still adds a certain freshness that’s hard to put into words.
Fruity esters mix perfectly with the zesty and aggressively fruit-forward hop profile, to the point where it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. That, to me, is what makes this style of IPA so ingenious. It marries two components in order to achieve the same thing; fruit-bomb deliciousness.
The beer is perfectly dry, and doesn’t rely on an over-the-top hop bitterness to achieve that. In fact, the bitterness here is subtle and just helps finish it off clean. It leaves you with a big lingering citrus presence, resting on your palate, awaiting your next sip. The sensation is similar to that much-needed thirst-quenching glass of orange juice in the morning after a late night spent, perhaps, drinking too many IPAs…
I’d say Mondial 2016 was successful at what Mondial does, and I certainly had fun. I didn’t try everything, but judging by my blotched memory and slight stumbling, I certainly tried enough. The LTM IPA is here, and here to stay. It’s one of the best IPAs ever bottled in this province, complete with that ever so sought after northeast-style profile. So you’ll probably want to get some. #teamLTM
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest