Mondial de la Bière, June 8-12, 2011. Bouchard and Co. are smart to produce this in the summer. Going on its 18th year, the largest international beer festival in North America keeps outgrowing its staging grounds and next year will take place at the Bonaventure Palace and Hilton Bonaventure. The festival features over 500 beers from across Canada and the world as well as other exhibits that should become staples at every beer fest such as the Cheese Dome, Belgian Bistro-Terrace and something called Biertrotters’ Beach.
High Lights Festival, February 17-27, 2011. This interactive arts festival is intentionally set in the dead of winter, with many of the events outdoors just to fend off cabin fever. Featuring culinary delights, cultural celebrations, and music and comedy concerts geared toward family crowds, the events range from ticketed to free, ephemeral to all-nighters, and are a great way for Montrealers and visitors to shake off the winter doldrums.
Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. For two weeks in July, comedy events are staged across the city, spotlighting well-known stand-ups and local comedy troupes. After beer, humor is the best medicine.
Brian Yaeger is the author of Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey. He homebrews in San Francisco and if you have an intact bottle of Ring of Fire, beer mail him at byaeger on the communal sites or at email@example.com.