One of our favourite annual excuses to drink is now fully underway this week (and running until Sunday)… We’re talking about Hopscotch.
Spanning over the course of a week, the festival (going into its 19th year) celebrates all things scotch, spirit, and microbrew-related. This is definitely not to be missed, with a variety of ways that you can get out and whet your palate exploring the scene.
On our radar of must-try events: satellite-tasting experiences being hosted at various Vancouver restaurants featuring custom-menu pairings guaranteed to impress.
We recommend scoring a seat at tonight’s Jack Daniel’s dinner at Gastown’s historic Blarney Stone. You’ll be treated to a tasting of the entire line-up of Jack Daniel’s whiskey (with special products brought in straight from Lynchburg, TN) as you nosh on food pairings created to compliment. Whiskey Ambassador Ryan Cheverie will guide you through your dinner, offer up tasting notes, a bit of JD history – and this will all be brought to life with live Dixie music courtesy of The RazzMaJazz Dixieland Jazz Band.
Not up for JD? No problem. How about checking out Thursday night’s Premium Import Beer Tasting Dinner hosted by Toronto’s own Beer Knight Guy McClelland. You’ll enjoy a 4-course meal fully-loaded with European specialties and brew (think Erdinger, Stiegl, Affligem, Delirium Tremens, Mort Subite Lambic) as well as beer-style cocktails too. Tickets are available for $68.00 and dinner starts at 7pm. A definite do-not-miss event that you simply must pen into your agenda as part of Hopscotch is the Grand Tasting Hall. Last year, they saw more than 7500 people partake in their massive tasting at a new (and larger) location: the PNE Forum.
Score a ticket, grab your tasting tokens, and gain access to more than 300 products courtesy of 100 different exhibitors under one roof. They’ll feature tastings of pretty much everything including whiskey (scotch, bourbon, and more), beer, tequila, vodka, and gin. They’ll have plenty of live music to keep the party going and several local restaurants on site to feed you, so you don’t tip over.
Finally, for those of you interested, Hopscotch Festival also features a series of Master Classes. Basically, they’re a great way to get the inside scoop on topics related to beer, whiskey, and premium spirits. World-class speakers from well-known producers such as Johnnie Walker, Glenlivet, and Woodford Reserve will lead intimate groups of tasters through stories and facts surrounding their products and companies. Tickets generally start at $20, so it won’t break the bank.
Given that Hopscotch was rated one of the 10 best drinking festivals in the world by MSN Travel UK, we’re sure that means you’re guaranteed a good time.
What spirits are you most drawn to? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.