Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cool video footage of Dogfish Head’s crazy expansion!



Dogfish sends your homey Ale proof they're getting their swagger on!

Hey Brew Crew!

As well all know, eccentric Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Founder and President Sam Calagione, and his dedicated team have made major moves in the past few years garnering even more love to their craft suds and the microbrewing industry in general. From using exotic ingredients and formulas dating back thousands of years to their own television show, this Delaware-based brewery is kickin’ major tail throughout the U.S.
Well, to further prove how much they have grown, I’m one of the first to happily post this sweet, time-lapsed footage of them pimping out their brewing headquarters; ten new 600-barrel fermenters to be exact! According to my homey Justin who reps Dogfish, he says they are planning on brewing 500,000 barrels within a decade from now. With gangster tanks like these, plans are surely going according to schedule!
"In 2012 and beyond, we will continue to prioritize strong growth over fast growth," Sam said. "We believe staying off-centered is more important than getting as big as possible as fast as possible."
No doubt! I ain’t mad atcha, Sam!
Speaking of Dogfish, wait until you see what I have coming up next with these homies!
Until then, deuces! (Or to others, peeeeeeeace!)

Cheers!
Ale

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The First Virginia Craft Beer Month this August!


Virginia is for BEER lovers!

What’s up, Brew Heads!

The movement for appreciating the greatest beverage in the world, beer, is gaining some serious momentum! Cheers to the state of Virginia for hosting their first Craft Beer Month! The Virginia Tourism Corporation adopted the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan, but I had to put “Beer” in there after checking out what the state is planning in August when it comes to the suds. Below is the official press release including awesome dinners, hotel packages, and events to embrace the best ales and lagers the state has to offer!
See you there!
Ale



RICHMOND, Va. –Virginia’s reputation as a destination full of local flavor has a new experience to tout with the first-ever August Virginia Craft Beer Month. The month’s theme, Love on Tap, is a nod to the state’s famous Virginia is for Lovers slogan and local craft beer on tap at more than 40 breweries and hundreds of restaurants across Virginia. The month-long celebration culminates with the first-ever Virginia Craft Brew Festival August 25 at Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County.
The Virginia tourism office has created a new, interactive map on www.Virginia.org/craftbeer to help visitors find craft breweries open for tastings and tours and plan a visit. The site also features special events and Virginia craft beer travel packages throughout August. 
“Virginia is for Lovers is about love – pure and simple,” said Rita McClenny, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Our craft breweries are found throughout the state and are ideal places for people who love local beers, outdoor adventure and exploring small towns and cool cities. The Virginia craft beer scene, combined with our 220 wineries, makes Virginia a top destination for culinary travelers looking for true local flavor.”
"August Craft Beer Month is a huge opportunity for us to show what Virginia craft beer is all about,” said Michael Killelea, Chairman of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and brewer at
Legend Brewing Company. “We're really excited about the future. And with help from the state tourism office, I think we can continue to grow and encourage those of age to tap into what's being brewed here in the Commonwealth."
Below is a sample of special events and travel packages which beer lovers can experience in Virginia, with many more listed on www.Virginia.org/CraftBeer.

Virginia Craft Beer Month Sunday Brunch at Blue Mountain Brewery
Celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month with a delicious brunch menu featuring local sausage gravy over toasted buttermilk biscuits, veggie and sausage breakfast burritos, quiche of the day, waffles and more. Live music at 2:30 p.m. Enjoy the brewery’s craft beers and stunning views of Blue Ridge Mountain views from an indoor seating area or the outside terrace. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. August 5, 12, 19, 26, 2012.

Virginia Craft Brewers Fest at
Taste Virginia’s award-winning craft beers in an amazing outdoor setting with music, food and more at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, located in Roseland at the base of Wintergreen Mountain. Craft brewers from around the state will be on hand to pour local beer and compete in the Virginia Beer Cup competition. August 25, 2012. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Craft Beer Dinner at Wild Wolf Brewing Company
Celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month with the chef’s presentation of fresh seasonal dishes paired with Wild Wolf craft beers. August 28, 2012. 6:00 p.m.

Celebrate August Virginia Craft Beer Month at Richmond’s historic Linden Row Inn where guests will enjoy a one night getaway coupled with a selection of Virginia's authentic craft beers. This package includes accommodations in one of the Linden Row Inn’s Main House rooms, a “mix pack” consisting of Legend Brown Ale (brewed in Richmond) and Star Hill JOMO Lager (brewed in Crozet), a souvenir Virginia is for Lovers bottle opener and free overnight valet parking as well as continental breakfast, in-town shuttle and more. Rates start at $159, based upon double occupancy, exclusive of taxes and subject to availability. Must be at least 21 years of age to purchase this package. Available August 1-31, 2012. Reservations are available by visiting www.reservations.lindenrowinn.com or calling 800-348-7424.

Beer and shoe lovers unite with Craddock Terry Hotel’s Brews and Shoes package. The package includes a night in the historic boutique hotel, a renovated shoe factory, as well as a five flight sampler on-site at the Jefferson Street Brewery where guests leave with a 64 oz. growler filled to the brim of their favorite beer. To top it off, the package includes a $50 gift certificate redeemable at either one of the hotel’s on-site award-winning restaurants where a selection of local beers is just waiting to be tasted. Prices start at $209 for deluxe accommodations. Available August 1-31, 2012. Guests must be 21 or older to book this package. To book, visit www.craddockterryhotel.com or call 434-55-1500.

Hampton Inn & Suites Virginia Craft Beer Month Package – Richmond
Travelers who book this package will have no problem filling up with food while enjoying the best of August Virginia Craft Beer Month. Package includes one night accommodations for two in a studio suite, one $25 gift card to Quaker Steak and Lube, in room “bar snacks” amenity featuring pretzels popcorn and peanuts as well as a hot breakfast buffet. Take in visits to local breweries including Legend and Hardywood in Richmond. Rates start at $149 exclusive of tax and based upon availability. Available August 1-31, 2012. For reservations, visit http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/virginia/hampton-inn-and-suites-richmond-glenside-RICGLHX/index.html or call 804-576-1777.
Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit www.Virginia.org to start planning a trip or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide. Stay connected on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter @VisitVirginia.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kicking it with Atlanta Beer Tours



Having a brew with ABT co-founder Aaron Rolka

Yep! Beer tours are starting to become the new phenomenon in the world of ales and lagers, and Aaron Rolka, co-founder of Atlanta BeerTours, made sure his van’s wheels were turning from the very beginning. Ever since selling out tickets for their first tour taking wide-eyed beer aficionados and sipping novices to brew destinations throughout Georgia’s capital, Rolka and his biz partner Dan Fontaine are dedicating their Saturdays to promoting its burgeoning beer scene.
ATB co-founder Dan the Man
ready to roll.
And while this city is popularly known as the brew hub of the Southeast, I had the pleasure of joining ABT on a beautiful Saturday for their “Southern Swing” tour which is designed to promote awesome beer destinations in Griffin and Hampton, Georgia­­— the English cask ale-slingin’ Eagle & Lion Brew Pub and super hip Jailhouse Brewery respectively. The tour ended with a flight of stellar brewer Crawford Moran’s craft concoctions at 5 Seasons Westside Brewery, some vittles and a gift bag to send us on our way. Between Rolka’s humorous, yet informative tutorial; Fontaine’s funny commentary while driving safe and sober; and a livelytour group loving every sip of the fine ales and lagers poured from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. that afternoon, I had a ball! In fact, there might be some tickets left for this Saturday which happens to feature Southern Swing once again! Here is the link to book some stubs.
Going straight to the source, I had a pint with my man Rolka and discussed how Atlanta Beer Tours came about, the various beer destinations, and what to look for in the upcoming months. Let’s roll! 

Ale: First off, who the hell are you and Dan?   
Eagle & Lion owner and my bro,
Mark Broe
Aaron Rolka: (Laughing) I'm originally from the Pittsburgh area and moved to ATL in 2002 straight out of college. ATL got me into craft beer when I first had a Sweetwater 420 at the now closed down Bridgetown in Buckhead on New Year's Eve of 2001 of my first trip down to ATL. Dan Fontaine is originally from Alabama but spent several years here and then in NYC where he was a standup comedian before returning to ATL in late 2010. We bonded over beer talk.  Up until Dan moved to West Midtown back in March, he lived up the street from me here in Norcross and the Iron Horse was in walking distance.  Currently, I’m a Sales Solutions Manager for CareerBuilder.com and Dan is a Video Production Manager for Fran Tarkenton's company.  

So how did Atlanta Beer Tours get started?
We started beer tours because we both noticed that Atlanta did not have this type of thing and it was a prime market for it.  I went on the Asheville Brews Cruise about two years ago and instantly thought, Why is this not in Atlanta?  With such an emerging craft beer scene, it was a natural fit. Dan was the one that got the whole thing rolling after he went on a wine tasting trip during his honeymoon in Spain. That inspired him to get the initial business plan rolling when he returned home stateside; he also created the website and logo. Today, we co-manage all aspects of the business with each of us handling a little bit of everything but playing to our strengths as much as possible. 

My dude John pouring his Prison Camp Pils
at Jailhouse Brewery in Hampton.

How did you select the tour routs?
Dan laid out the initial tour route stops and made contact with reps at each place to set things up.  The actual breweries (Sweetwater, Red Brick, Red Hare, Burnt Hickory, Jailhouse) were a natural fit, but we quickly brainstormed and decided to go after brewpubs and beer-forward bars as well.  It wasn't long before we had great arrangements setup with Five Seasons and The Eagle & Lion brewpubs as well. More are on the way soon!

Okay, there are a gang of tours popping up now. What makes Atlanta Beer Tours different?
Our tours are different than others for multiple reasons. Firstly, we offer so many stops, and mix and match our route stops with each tour. Been to Sweetwater already?  No problem, pick another route.  Been wanting to go an hour south to Eagle & Lion and Jailhouse?  We got you! Buy a ticket on our Southern Swing tour. We also allow groups of certain sizes to contact us and customize their own private tours. Give us a week and half's notice and we'll put together a tour and you pick the stops!  We can do this for groups of 5-6 or 10-13.  

Very slick! I like that! Plus you guys are no joke when it comes to knowing about beer, right?
Yep! Dan and I are truly plugged into the beer scene, and truly understand the brewing process as we're both award-winning homebrewers. We even took a gold medal home at the homebrew competition held at the Suwannee Beer Fest in April. And with my vast beer knowledge and Dan's sharp wit that he honed as a standup, we bring great energy and entertainment to the tour van.  

Yep, 5 Seasons' brew is that good!!!
And the grub?
Definitely. In addition to tasting 14-18 different beers and getting private tours, everyone gets bottled water, snacks on the van, and tons of great food from Five Seasons' eclectic menu. We typically have at least 5 different dishes including their fantastic spent grain bread, alligator eggrolls, onion rings, pimento cheese, and calamari.  This provides a great end to our tours and leaves customers full from more than just the beer.

I don’t think any tour has gator waiting for their group to devour. Nice! That’s perfect for Georgia Bulldog fans! So what’s next for ABT?
Lots of things are in the works. Dan and I will be plugging our wares at the Great Atlanta Beer Festival at Turner Field in September and at the Oktoberfest on The Green celebration in Duluth in October.  Come join us and throw some bags on our custom ABT cornhole boards and maybe even win a prize.  
Eyes fixed on the 5 Seasons
grub coming their way!
We're also continuing to add new tour stops and routes to our repertoire. Look for a Brewpub Brunch tour coming soon with beers and bites at 3 different stops and also a Decatur route which would include the soon to open Wild Heaven brewery, Twain's, and a Belgian beer-themed stop at the Brick Store.

Well I wish y’all continued success. Keep putting Georgia’s beer scene on the map. This is state is starting to really kick some ass when it comes to cold ones!
You got it!

Here are the upcoming Atlanta Beer Tours. Get on the bus and get your sip on by going to this link! 
Saturday 7/28 (Eagle & Lion, Jailhouse, Five Seasons)
Saturday 8/4 (Red Hare, Burnt Hickory, 5 Seasons)
Saturday 8/18 (Eagle & Lion, Jailhouse, 5 Seasons)
Saturday 8/25 (in conjunction with The Best of Brews in Duluth, a growler store, leaves out of Duluth on a 50-seater)
Sunday 9/9 (Brewpub Brunch tour)
Saturday 9/22 (Eagle & Lion, Jailhouse, 5 Seasons)

 Cheers!!!!

Ale

Monday, July 23, 2012

Terrapin Beer and Spice Dinner

Terrapin's Easy Rider will be in the house on Thursday, at 7 p.m., ya heard?
Terrapin and Loews' eleven feature grub and suds!

Whaddup Brew Heads!
You know I looooove me some beer dinners because chefs go all out to pair their awesome fare with the latest brews based on everything from spices, to the hops, malt and even mouthfeel! This is the new culinary rave and I have featured quite a few on this site. 
Well the next hot one is this Thursday, starting at 7 p.m. in Midtown Atlanta featuring Athens, Georgia's Terrapin Brewery and Loews Hotel’s restaurant, eleven. Make sure you book a seat with this all-star collaboration before it's sold out! 
The suds include Terrapin's Rye Pale AleEasy RiderHopsecutioner IPASamurai Krunkles and Monks Revenge. And the grub? Embracing the flavors of the summer, check out what Executive Chef Olivier Gaupin and Chef de Cuisine Shayne Vaughan have on deck for their slammin' five-course prix-fixe menu:

·         Local figs with fennel, Rye Ale jelly and Marcona almond pesto
·         “Easy Rider” steamed surf clams or mussels with coriander, shallots, local butter and beer chips
·         Cider-braised, curried lamb belly with grilled peaches and English pea puree 
·         Ginger and lemongrass rubbed grilled Angus flat iron steak with beer-braised cippolini onions and heirloom tomato confit 
·         Peach dumplings with Reunion Ale gelato and chili caramel sauce

Each course, of course, will be paired with some refreshing and well-crafted Terrapin brews. 
It's $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Call 404.745.5745 or click here for reservations. Eleven at the Loews Atlanta Hotel is located at 1065 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Ga., 30309. 

See you there!

Ale


Friday, July 13, 2012

An Epic Time at Epic Brewing!


Kicking it with Utah homies Epic Brewmaster Kevin Crompton,
media guru Steve Koonce and Co-Founder David Cole.

Tossing back a few with
 Epic Brewing Co-Founder David Cole

Lose your mind! (Epicbrewing.com)
When I visited the wondrous Thirsty Monk beer bar in brewery paradise Asheville, N.C. a week ago, I saw Epic Brewing Company's Brainless On Cherries listed on their extensive menu—a strong, ruby-hued Belgian-style masterpiece brewed with cherry puree and aged in French wine casks. A consistent award winner that’s absolutely delicious with a 10.1 percent kick in the pants, I was clicking my heels because this Salt Lake City, Utah-based brewery has yet to get past the Georgia border and it’s killing me. Yes, Epic is that good.  
Thanks to a Utah law passing in 2008 that allowed breweries to directly sell product that exceeded the low gravity suds the Beehive State is known for, Epic founders Peter Erickson and David Cole could now fund their start-up instead of filling gas tanks to drive to their state of origin, California, and stock up on strong beers. Now in only their second year of operation, 13-year veteran Brewmaster Kevin Crompton and the Epic squad have consistently reaped awards worldwide for their Classic, Elevated, and Exponential lines of muscle-flexing craft beers. (Check out their resume here.)
Where the magic happens.
My last taste of Epic prior to the Thirsty Monk was in their home town for a beer tour a few months ago (I love Utah!). When I was there, I made it mandatory to swing by Epic and see how they got down when it came to crafting their liquid awesomeness. Luckily, they were just two blocks away from the extra posh Grand America Hotel I was staying in (that place was amazing), so the beer gods were working in my favor once again.
For the numerous varieties they served, Epic’s workplace was surprisingly small in size, further validating the ol’ “good things come in small packages” cliché. Planted between a car rental agency and a used auto sales lot on the fairly busy South State Street, you could easily pass it if you weren’t a local; I loved its unpretentiousness.
Entering from the side, a cooler boasting a legion of 22-ounce bottles from all three of their series and customary chalkboard listing new releases welcomed me, followed by a tour given by my homey and Epic media man, Steve Koonce. The noticeable standouts included the brewery’s six-seat eatery called the “Tap-less Tap Room” serving light fare including soups, paninis, and sandwiches (you gotta serve grub if you're going to drink alcohol on site in Utah); the back area boasting towering stacks of wooden casks aging some serious concoctions; and an informal tasting circle including David, Kevin, Cellarman Aaron Selye, and Retail Manager Phil Handke, which I was blessed to interrupt. They all paused, put down their note pads, showed me some love once Steve told them who I was, and poured me a cup of their latest Smoked & Oaked cask brew. After assuring them that the pleasure was all mine, they handed me a taste that truly hit the spot, and then I told David an interview would be an awesome feature on this website. Putting a stamp of approval on the idea, he said “Hell yeah!” Well, the time has come. Ladies and gents, here's David, the man partly responsible for some the best beer on the planet—especially the ridiculously gangster, whisky barrel-aged Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout made with cocoa nibs and coffee. Look for my “Epic-to-Georgia” campaign coming soon!

Ale: How did Epic get started?
David Cole: Peter Erickson, Epic’s other co-founder, and I had been looking to start a brewery for twenty years. We moved here from California in the early 90’s, where we had been drinking great craft beer, full of flavor and made correctly to style in terms of alcohol content. There weren’t any local breweries making beers over 3.2 percent, and that beer just wasn’t cutting it. Additionally, Utah is a “Control State” for beer above 3.2 percent, which means that state stores decided what was sold; back in the 1990’s in Utah, those stores had selections about as bad as Russian supermarkets of the same time period. Lame!  Utah finally changed some of the beer laws and we decided the time was right to start a craft brewery focused on making full flavor, full strength beers in Salt Lake City. We found a head brewer, Kevin Crompton, who wanted to do a lot of unique, flavorful beers with no house flavor and, most importantly, no 3.2!

What made you decide to do high gravity beers instead of session beers for the local taps?
We just wanted to make beers true to style and not mess around with the crowded grocery stores, convenience stores, and 3.2 percent draft market.  We wanted to make beers we would like to drink and bring us back to those early Cali days. Beers like those are being done in a big way around the nation more recently. There is a marketplace in Utah for stronger beer, and we are finding it a lot larger than I think anyone expected. We also are the first and only brewery since Prohibition to exclusively brew strong beer in Utah. 

Stick it to the man!
Right on! What is the most fun thing about running Epic?
Our fans are the best. My favorite part about owning a brewery, besides the beer, is speaking with people about our beer. It’s fun when people love what we do and appreciate how we’re doing it differently. I love going to beer dinners where some of the country’s best chefs have put together fabulous meals using our beer as one of the central points of inspiration. I’m always pleasantly surprised with what they come up with.

What is the biggest pain in the ass?
The laws in Utah, even after being changed, are still hard to work with. Our laws in Utah need change and we send a lot of effort trying to improve them for improved tolerance, economic benefit and get rid of the impression of Utah being a dry state.

So let’s make you the political game changer for sec. What laws of Utah would you love to change?
So many! The fact that Utah considers any beer over 3.2 percent to be liquor means we can’t sell our beer on tap.  That really sucks! I mean we actually have to go to one of our out-of-state markets to drink our beer off a draft handle! It also means we can’t sell in grocery stores or gas stations. The beer laws in Utah don’t just affect us, the consumer suffers most of all.  I would love to see the state of Utah allow the kind of beer we and the majority of American Craft Brewers make be sold on draft in our home market. 

Fight the power, brotha! I’d vote for you. So what is your biggest market outside of Utah and where are you coming next?
Virginia has been a huge market for us. We see a lot of new fans popping up in the DC region. We just went into Southern California, which is a big deal for me because that’s where I’m from, and we’re doing really well in Los Angeles and Orange County. Actually, the way things are going in LA, that market may overtake Virginia. We have a few different places that we are considering for additional distribution but we are struggling like most craft brewers to make enough beer for our current markets, so it will be a few more months before we can consider a new market.

Well you already know how I feel about Georgia! I noticed the barrels in the back and wanted to know what your future plans are for those releases?  
Our barrel age program really makes Epic special. We have three hundred-something barrels with half a dozen different beers inside them that all age at different times. One of our barrel-aged beers, Brainless on Peaches, won a silver medal in the fruit beer category of last year’s GABF. Our Smoked & Oaked and Big Bad Baptist are two of the best rated beers out there. The future of the barrels is our sour beer program. We teamed up with the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project to make our first Brett-soured beer, Elder Brett, and there’s more on the way. We really love what’s coming out of that wood.

Shit, everyone does! What is the Utah beer scene like regarding breweries? Do you ever work together or are you throwing gang signs up?
(Laughing) Epic doesn’t really register in the gang war because we don’t do low ABV draft beer in state. Those guys are slugging it out to be the kings of 3.2. percent, so we are kind of the new guys on the block doing things different and I think that intimidates some people, but we do get along very well with Red Rock Brewing; we help each other out.  Their Brewmaster Kevin Templin has always been super cool to us and is always willing to help out. We do the same.

Last, if a Martian landed in Utah and wanted to know what beer is, what would you give him?
If it were summer time, I would offer him a hoppy, refreshing Hop Syndrome lager. It’s been a long ride and I’m sure he would need something cool. If he came in the winter, I would offer him a Big Bad Baptist stout, but that might encourage an invasion!

Ha! Love it! Keep doing your thing, Dave. You guys are truly gangster. (Visualize an energetic dap exchange here.)
Thanks for the time and we really enjoyed having you out at the brewery. Come back anytime!
Let me know when you go public. I want stock!

(Laughing) You got it!


Special thanks to Steve, Dave, Kevin, and the entire Epic Family.
By the way, the lucky bastards that get Epic brew include Utah, California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Ohio, Virginia & DC, New Jersey, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Michigan.

Cheers!
Ale

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sorry for the wait!


Here's my pic of Sierra Nevada's homegrown Cascade hops I took when I was in their awesome
Beer Camp. Look out for our beer coming this August!!!

It'll be worth it.

What’s up, Brew Heads!

I finally got back to the States and my "To Do" list is looking like a part II for War and Peace. Yeah, I will be up doing some all-nighters to catch up, but my visits to Salt Lake City; Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California; Asheville, N.C.; and Montreal, Quebec for the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal were well worth it!
Anyway, it’s time to get my checklist out and make sure you know about the amazing places, beers, and people I have come across which deserve some serious love on Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’!
I appreciate your inquiries, emails and calls asking me. “What’s up ?!” It means a lot. I trust my upcoming posts will be worth the wait!
First up, an exclusive interview with the multi-award-winning Epic Brewing's co-founder David Cole. After that, the craziness will keep coming with some more exclusives and surprises I guarantee you will not see anywhere else!
Sorry for the wait.
Cheers!

Ale

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Lovin' Montreal!

The Montreal Jazz Fest brings bass for yo' face!

It's no secret that I looooove Montreal!
This is my sixth time back and every time I come to this beautiful city, I always have a blast! On this visit, I am covering one of the greatest music festivals in the world, the 33rd Festival International De Jazz De Montreal which concludes on Saturday, July 7th. Plain and simple, if you have never been to this music extravaganza, book a ticket for next year. It is simply amazing thanks to their eclectic roster of musicians from around the world. Trust me, I have seen everyone from the Wu Tang Clan, Public Enemy, and soul crooner Bilal, to some of the greatest pianists in the world incluing Robert Glasper and the legendary Ahmad Jamal for his 80th birthday. Virtually every performance is unforgettable. The above shot is the bassist for Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born. They rocked it on the 4th of July! Mederic Collignon (left) also did his thing showing incredible energy with his quartet on the 5th, the trio Nobody Beats the Drum proved electronica is here to stay, and then there's the one I can't wait for, Deltron: 3030 tonight!
Of course, between all of the live shows held on intimate stages such as the L'Astral to grandiose concert halls including the Theatre Maisonneuve Place Des Arts, it is imperative to take in all of the local attractions, like the incredible Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition, which was one of the most incredible, interactive exhibits I have ever been a part of...

Gawk at my mandatory stop, the Notre-Dame Basilica...

Get a good dose of the local delicacy, poutine (hand-cut French fries smothered in turkey gravy and cheese curds)...

Kick it with some homies including my man Winston from the hot music website The Couch Sessions and local don, Pablo

And of course, sip some suds! This is a wonderful rendition of a West Coast IPA at 6.5 percent served by one of my favorite brew pubs in Montreal, Benelux...

All in all, I can't wait for tonight to see Del the Funky Homosapien & Co., Cleveland-born MC Stalley, and the Kalmunity ensemble performing numerous compositions by one of the greatest producers of all time, J Dilla! After that, it's back to Atlanta to catch up on everything I have missed. 
Au revoir!
Ale