Montreal was pretty busy last week-end with the wrap-up of Montréal en lumières and the famous Nuit Blanche! A fun event was also happening on the same week-end: La Cuvée de Montréal. I feel like this is their first edition but I did get confused by the 2013 on their logo. La Cuvée de Montréal is the perfect occasion to sample beers from microbrewers available in Quebec. The concept is simple: pay the cover price and receive a tasting glass. Once you get in, buy as many tokens as you wish at the price of $1 each and exchange them for beers, wines and spirits at the price of 3 to 12 tokens.
La Cuvée was happening in the church basement located on St-Dominique and St-Joseph in the Mile-End. If you live in the area, you must have visited this location for either Puces Pop or Expozine. However, I have to say that La Cuvée de Montréal was the first event that succeeded in transforming the venue into something great! I was very impressed as soon as I entered the room by the professional look and the beautiful branding that made it simple and clear what and where things were. I wonder what this event would look like with the budget La Grande Dégustation has!
I decided to go with a budget of $12 which was enough for 2 beers and 1 glass of wine. It might not sound like much but each “sample” was close to a real drink as every booth was more than generous!
I tasted a green tea white beer and a rhum and vanilla black beer. They were both delicious and the staff was very helpful in letting me know where to find them in Montreal. I also got the chance to ask them how a beer should be tasted. I feel like I know what to look for when trying wines and whiskeys but not beers. I was told to keep my mouth open when smelling the beer and to always sample the product cold out of the fridge but also a little warmer later to compare the flavors.
The red wine that I had was organic and served by Les Cons Servent where I also got the chance to buy spicy pickled carrots. All the food vendors were perfect for the event and very different in their selection of products. Over the evening, I had dried tomato cheese curds, a curry meat stick and a beer glazed donut!
A live band was playing for most of the evening with professional dancers heating up the dancefloor. The music was perfect for the event with tons of Johnny Cash covers!
I usually go to tasting events with a work mindset. Drink as many samples as possible while trying not to get too tipsy, ask questions and take notes on where to find the products.. La Cuvée de Montréal was more a party and threw me off my game in a very positive way. If I had known what to expect, I would have went with a big group of friends with no later agenda.
I really recommend checking out their next edition because it can only get better. If this event could replace Le Mondial de la Bière, I would actually go in the summer.