Festibière promotes collaboration between local craft brewers
From Aug. 17-20, the Quais de l’Espace 400e were crowded with enthusiastic beer fans during the 12th edition of Festibière Québec. More than 70 breweries and craft-drink producers from all over the province participated. Festibière’s own onsite pub, Le Bucké, offered products from 22 additional microbreweries that could not be present during the event.
The four-day event had a busy schedule, with several activities planned throughout the afternoons, from limited- edition cask openings and tastings to quizzes, drag, karaoke and music shows.
Several new activities were added this year, including the Oshlag sitting pool and an area where participants could enjoy a beer while playing board games. Following last year’s success, a singing bingo was held every night, and Displace mobile tattoo studio was present throughout the festival for those wanting to create permanent memories of the good times spent there.
The organization takes care to entertain guests and ensure good attendance for particpating brewers, according to Michel Godin, in charge of business development at Microbrasserie Shawbridge in Prévost in the Laurentians. All the activities allow people to take their time to drink the eight-ounce beers sold at the booths and come back for more. Godin called Festibière one of the best beer festivals in the province, singling out the Quebec City edition.
Despite all the activities available, most festivaliers could be found leaning on the centre rail of one of the two main tents, chatting and pondering where to spend their precious tokens next. Laurence Vandal was participating for the third time, and she brought friends along to discover the festival. Among her party, the verdict was unanimous: the variety and quality of the products presented was sure to please everyone. For their first tasting, the group opted for a cherry beer from Shawinigan’s Trou du Diable microbrewery, a sure bet.
Although advertised as a beer festival, Festibière has always opened its doors to other craft beverages. “It helps bring more guests in, because not everyone loves beer, but they can enjoy the festival too, thanks to these offers,” explained Marie-Christine Bouchard from the Domaine Steinbach cider mill on the Île d’Orléans. She said events like these allow craft beverage producers to meet and discuss new ideas and techniques and find new ways to incorporate their products into the local landscape. At Shawbridge, for example, grain byproducts from the distilling process are donated to local cattle farms. In return, Shawbridge serves salami made from their locally produced beef at its onsite restaurant. At Domaine Steinbach, collaboration is more spontaneous. For this edition of Festibière, they partnered with the neighbouring booth, Shawinigan-based Broadway Microbrasserie, to offer guests two unique cocktails combining cider and beer. “That way, those who dislike beer will find it milder, and those who don’t like cider can still give our products a try!” Bouchard said with a grin.