Festibière winter edition: a great showcase of regional beer
Gatineau's beer festival returns for the winter
The 2023 winter edition of Gatineau’s Festibière was held from Thursday to Saturday of last week and from my perspective it appeared a proper success.
Once again it was held on Zibi island, between Ottawa and Hull, on what was once the site of the E.B. Eddy pulp and paper company. The renovated brick buildings still carry their history and their industrial chic makes for an attractive festival setting.
Festibière hall 2. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
Beer is the draw but local distilleries such as Artist in Residence were also on hand, mixing cocktails for those needing a break from the brewed stuff.
Food vendors on site provided Swiss raclette (beer and cheese is an even more ideal match than wine and cheese), poutine as well as smoked meats and mac and cheese. All hearty stick-to-your-ribs beer fare.
Robin brewery sour cherry beer. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
Of course, as with last summer's Festibière, there was a rich assortment of great Quebec beer from breweries such as: Bas du Canada, Gallicus, Brasseurs des Collines, Toltek, Lacroix Cider and a personal favourite Le Prospecteur which I consider one of the greatest breweries in North America.
Another highlight on this visit was the sour cherry beer Juste Piquette from Robin brewery. It gave up an abundance of sour cherry aromas and flavour and was delightfully insistent on the finish. The beers from this brewery all appeared unfiltered and were a little more expensive per pour but worth seeking out.
A reminder that most of these Quebec beers will be available at the very good Rapido depanneur in Aylmer where they carry in excess of 500 brews.
Festibière will return to the Zibi grounds this summer.
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Do you love spice? You have to try this restaurant
Chili Chili Clams with enoki and vermicelli. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
Four years ago I walked by, what seemed to me, a newly opened restaurant on Somerset. It’s located below street level and never appeared to be open. Through the semi-darkened windows it appeared that it hadn’t even opened.
This went on for years until a few weeks ago when I saw two families having lunch. I’d been on my way to another restaurant for this review but when I saw it was open I had to take the opportunity.
I walked in and was greeted by a simple room that might just be called “Cafeteria Chic'' with one wall covered in a mural. The mural showed workers with arms raised in clenched fists and after my meal I gave it the name “Spiceheads Unite.”
(Members Only) Top pizza joint under new ownership
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The demands of running a very successful pizza restaurant finally added up to less family time and so Anna and Joe Crupi sold their business.
They had a number of offers from other business owners but they finally came to a decision with which they were most comfortable. In the end their pizzaiolo Cameron DiPaolo and manager Lisa Warren took the reins of this beloved destination in the city’s south, and I can report that, other than a few new items, nothing has changed. It remains one of Ottawa’s finest Neapolitan pizzas.
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