With summer coming to a close and ready for pumpkin weather, I started to get a case of the autumn blues. In my melancholy this time of year, I always tend to forget about Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is that Bavarian beer bonanza that normally takes place from the end of September to the beginning of October in Munich, Germany. Many other cities around the world hold the party in a commemorative celebration and Montreal is no different. Among the many events taking place in Montreal, I decided to attend Oktoberfest at the Atwater Market, especially since the advertised three for $1 beers sounded to good to be true. It was. I’m a sucker. Not even the size of a shot-glass, the beer containers were more like cough-syrup cups. Being that as it may, 50 cents of each dollar going to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, it didn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth. And each beer shot bought me a five minute buzz.
As a reporter, It is always a good idea to stay sober with camera balance and unslurred word usage being essential to writing a good story. But, in this case, what’s the use if you can’t report on the actual experience. I decided it was best for this story to get my drink on. A big beer balloon at a tasting table signified that beer coupons could be bought here. I splurged on 15. Armed with tickets in hand, I wandered around the market looking for tables filled with buxom booze. There were over 40 micro-breweries from Quebec here offering beers to be sampled from and to tantalize the palette. Some Pilsners were offering IPAs (India Pale Ales); others stouts and lagers. The colours ranged from white, blonde, red, brown and black to golden. There was even a pink beer that looked more like a margarita. The tastes also varied depending on the type and mix. I tasted a beer with lime, one with espresso and chocolate and even one that tasted like bubblegum.
There was a long line for some micro-breweries, which I didn’t get. They were cordoned off for some reason. Noticing that people were just standing around and not really moving, I decided it wouldn’t be bad etiquette if I snuck under the rope. And, I was rewarded. These were the best tasting beers of the bunch. Also here were two ladies offering beer and chocolates for $5 and not taking the tickets for charity. I politely moved on.
With my 15 shot beer buzz going, I decided to check out and photograph what the Atwater Market normally has on offer – fresh and organic produce and meats. They always have fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of cheese, fresh meats and beautiful flowers to buy. After photographing these tantalizing delights, I got an enormous drunk-food craving. Luckily, just outside the Atwater Marche underneath a large canopy were a plethora of restaurants. I walked around seeing everything from sandwiches on offer to shish kabobs. I finally settled on what can only be categorized as a seafood hotdog. With fresh crab meat (couldn’t tell if it was imitation) and mangoes, I would have rated it very good. However, the $15 price tag (which, I didn’t flinch at first due to my beer buzz), did leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
After finishing the sea-dog and walking around again to see if I could have gotten a better deal, I couldn’t have. While a little less pricey, the menus were generally in the $10 to $15 price range. I’m not sure if the restauranteurs were capitalizing on the fact that many would just want to plop themselves down and eat after an afternoon of shopping or not. Or, could it be that most people who visit the marche are used to paying high prices for fresh and organic? If the price of my sea-dog is any indication, I suspect the price for these items will be high. I will have to make another trip to the market to let you know what the actual prices of the gourmet produce, cheese and meats at the market are and if they are worth the cost. With a good beer buzz going, it’s hard to be an accurate judge.
Oktoberfest at Atwater Market took place this year from October 2nd to October 4th from the morning to late afternoon. I attended the event in the afternoon on the closing day of Sunday, October 4th.