Ottawa: Gatineau Beerfest kicks-off

Festibiere (Gatineau Beerfest) is scheduled for May 25, 26 & 27 at Lake Leamy Park. This annual festival features the best of the brew coming out of Quebec’s ever growing brewery industry, featuring both established brewers like Boreal or the artisan beer producers springing up almost everywhere around the province.  Apartment 613 was invited to a lunch and presentation hosted by organizer and beer aficionado Mario D’Eer to get the scoop on what Ottawa can expect at this year’s festival. Being a BIG fan of good beer and having written about beer on my own Travel Blog, I thought I might be able to handle the event. Lunch, beer and a chat about mixing food and beer; not only did I feel qualified, I was looking forward to it.

The lunch was held in the Hilton Casino in Gatinea with was a small group of about six guests and four event folk. This made it a nice intimate group, and we chose to sit around one table where it turned into a very pleasant chat about the festival and pairing beer and food. It really did feel more like a group of people sitting around talking about beer and food than a “Presentation”.

While we waited for others to arrive, Mario D’Eer demonstrated his love of beer by chatting about the drink, the festival and even gave us a brief discussion of the history of beer. I was impressed; this man truly has a passion for the brew.

The hotel staff served some delicious beer based tapas style food, and Mario guided us through a pairing experience where we tasted three beer that will be represented a the festival and discussed their pairing with the food. The three beers were Boreale Blonde, Boreale Rousse, and La Stout caco.

As we nibbled on the tapas, Mario discussed how this food enhanced certain beer or how a certain food changed the way a beer tasted. I love a good beer and am always looking for new and interesting brews to sample, but I was a bit skeptical about the subtleties of tastes he described. However I changed my mind as Mario had us taste a cacao stout with a gingery meatball; the chocolate taste that was so evident on first try was now overshadowed by a coffee flavour, and I found myself nodding in agreement with Mario.

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