I tried a lot of things in Montreal that I'd never tried before. It was a good trip.
Wednesday I got up and went to the press breakfast, heard the opening statements, then went out in the bright morning light and drank witbiers with Tony Forder, Carolyn Smagalski, and...other people. We also tried beers from À l’Abri de la Tempête, a brewery out on the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Very nice stuff, including a wee heavy/barleywine called Corne de Brume ("Horn of Fog", Tony kept calling it, until I finally realized it was "Foghorn") and Corp Mort ("Dead Body"), a smoked barleywine, both of which were in my top 10 beers of the trip (yeah, I know: not session beers).
I can't recall what I did for lunch -- might have skipped it -- but I went back and judged in the afternoon -- more on that in a separate post. I went back to the room, worked some more, quite a bit, really, then decided I didn't want to go out again...but I was hungry. So I thought, why not walk to Schwartz's? I'd passed it on the way home the night before, and had I not been tired and already full, I'd have stopped; it's an icon. So I hiked out to Ave. St. Laurent and got in line at the door, waiting for a seat.
I'd been waiting about five minutes when a cab pulled up and Josh Rubin hopped out. What a surprise! I know maybe 8 people in Montreal, and one of them shows up on the street where I am! Well, maybe not such a surprise. It was Schwartz's. Josh led me through the whole thing ("Don't get the lean, get medium fat"), pointed out that Montreal's famed "smoked meat" was not, in fact, smoked at all, but more like pastrami...only not. It was delish, medium fat and mustard, like pastrami only differently spiced, and the counter service was quick and just friendly enough. But...Josh wanted to get a beer, and I wanted more sleep. Back to the hotel.
The next day I met Warren "Beer Sensei" Monteiro, a column colleague from Ale Street News. Warren was a trip, a constant patter of interesting stuff, and I tagged along with him to a dim sum place he knew...because I'd never had dim sum. True. I got a good intro. Shark fin dumplings, pork paste and tofu, scallop dumplings, shrimp dumplings (Warren likes fish), a great variety, and very filling. Nothing was overly spicy, nothing was bland, everything was fresh and quick. Gotta get more of this stuff.
Hmmm...Got things to do. I'll cut this short for now. More beers and food to come.