An article by Noah Forrest
This past weekend was Foudre Unis. We survived.
If you are not aware, Foudre Unis 2018 was the first in a hopefully long series of beer festivals hosted by Brasserie Dunham (held about a ten minute drive from their brewery in a small eastern townships town called Frelighsburg).
The festival was a celebration that included breweries from all around the world, who were invited to come and pour their deliciousness. To attend, there was a 120$ (plus tax) flat fee that included unlimited pours within a 3.5 hour timeframe. There were two sessions, each selling out at 650 tickets per session. Again, we survived.
Many (if not most) of the breweries that attended were some of the most respected on the planet, including such names as Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Other Half, Jester King, and so on. There was also the cream of the crop from Quebec and several heavy hitters from the rest of Canada. What’s even more amazing is that many of these highly sought-after breweries didn’t just bring shelfies, and instead brought rare one-off creations, or harder to procure bottles.
The idea was epic, but the question still remained of whether the whole thing would be an amazing ground-breaking success, or simply become a giant shit-show? Would people become belligerent from the unlimited alcohol? Would all the rare lambic and hyped American haze sell out in seconds? Would it be too crowded? Would we be standing in line constantly, never being able to actually relax?With all these possible problems, and at 120$ per person, would it be worth it?
Well, in my opinion (and for every single person I talked to) it was most certainly worth it. From the moment we arrived, it was pretty clear that things would work out. The setup was essentially two giant tents in a picturesque open field, overlooking beautiful hills and valleys in the distance. One tent was dedicated to the brewers pouring their offerings, while the other had picnic tables where people could hang out to avoid the sun (and rain if the weather wasn’t agreeable).
I was at the front of the line – largely because my friends are bigger nerds than me. That said, it meant we were able to rush the Cantillon booth, guaranteeing a taste of some sweet sweet lambic. However, what’s amazing is that it didn’t matter. Yes, the Cantillon line had a good number of people in it at all times, but because of the fact that there was no money or tokens being exchanged, the wait times were almost non-existent. So, I was able to do Cantillon, Tilquin, Drie Fonteinen – and all the lambics – to my hearts desire.
After victimizing my stomach into a state of acid reflux, I decided to move on, trying hoppy heavy hitters like Other half and Foam, then onto other great Québec breweries like Dieu du Ciel! and Auval – and of course Bellwoods out of Toronto.
One of the most amazing experiences of the day was being able to taste the beer I helped create from Sutton Brouerie, “Brett Never Sleeps,” a 100% brett Brut IPA. It will be hitting stores in the next few weeks. Keep a look out!
Three and a half hours isn’t necessarily a huge amount of time, but it’s probably just long enough before things can get messy. I wasn’t smashed and it didn’t seem like too many people were over the top drunk, either. The general vibe was relaxed and people just seemed excited to be there, and genuinely happy to be part of this amazing thing that was happening in front of us. The lines were quick, the pours were plentiful, and even Cantillon lasted over an hour before the kegs kicked. This was a momentous festival that I couldn’t recommend more. Congratulations Brasserie Dunham! And thank you!
If you are curious about the full list of offerings at the event, you can check out the list right here.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest