Posts Tagged ‘Calgary

Warm up your winter with the MS Whisky Fest

- January 8th, 2015

Fill your glass with some fine whisky.

It’s been a chilly start to the new year in Alberta.

Cold. Snow. Wind. Even freezing rain.

You think you’ve had enough of winter, and then you realize it’s just January. Time for a drink, right?

Nothing like a wee dram for a winter warm-up, right?

How about a room full of whisky? Even better.

You’re in luck then, because there are still tickets available for the MS Whisky Festivals in Edmonton and Calgary, Jan 14 and 15, respectively.

This is your chance to sample more than 100 whiskies from around the world, and not just single-malt scotch, either.

From single-malt to rye to bourbon, the best of the brown spirits will be available for sampling at the Delta Edmonton South next Wednesday and at the Jack Singer Concert Hall Thursday.

Stephen Richmond with Vines Wine Merchants in Edmonton, one of the partners in the Jan. 14 event, said tickets are selling well for this year’s event.

“Ticket sales are awesome — for the last two years, we’ve kind of sold out,” he said, adding he expects a turnout of about 550 people.

The events will highlight all variety of whisky, including single malt whiskies from Japan and Taiwan.

The events are unique in Alberta as they are one of the few occasions when you will see so many principals from distilleries around the world.

“Because of the timing of the big whisky fest in Victorial, a lot of principals will cover over for the Victoria festival and they’ll stop over here,” Richmond said, meaning attendees will get a chance to meet and chat up the people who know the most about their favourite whiskies.

On top of that, there are special master classes at both festivals, special tasting sessions with brand ambassadors.

In Edmonton, tickets are still available for the master classes with Compass Box, Kavalan and a special Canadian whisky class with Dan Tullio.

In Calgary, there are still spots listed for the Laphroaig class, as well as one with Michael Urquhart, who is a whisky industry veteran.

Whisky is a growing segment in Alberta, and there are always new whiskies to try, which makes a festival like this a great chance to learn, Richmond said.

“It’s becoming an educational thing. For $85 (for the Edmonton festival), you can try as many as you like,” he said.

Key with events like this, because there are more than 100 whiskies on hand, is to plan your evening, as there’s no way you could even approach trying them all.

You could plan by region, or plan to try only whiskies you never have. Either way, it’s a chance to expand your whisky knowledge.

Better yet, the proceeds from the event go to the MS Society.

“Over the five years, we’ve raised in excess of $140,000 and it’s grown every year,” Richmond said.

Tickets for the Edmonton event are $85 and can be found here; Tickets for Calgary’s fest are $99 and are available here.

Unique Pinot pairings at select restaurants highlight Sokol Blosser

- December 11th, 2014

Pinot Noir can be  a very versatile wine. I’ve had it paired with everything from pork to duck to beef, and it’s also very good with simple dishes like bruschetta or pasta or game hens.

One ingredient I also think it does quite well with is salmon, especially vintages with more fruit on the palate — they can cut through the fattiness of the fish.

That pairing is on display for a few days at select Edmonton and Calgary restaurants, which are featuring signature salmon dishes with the Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, in support of the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society.

Sokol Blosser is one of the oldest Oregon wineries, and has been producing great quality Pinot Noir for some time.

The Dundee Hills offers notes of black cherry and raspberry, but with earthy undertones, which makes for great pairings with salmon.

The signature dishes have been created by the chefs at Bothy Wine & Whisky Bar in Edmonton (both locations), as well as Q Haute Cuisine and La Chaumiere in Calgary. Proceeds from the sale of Dundee Hills Pinot Noir will go to CPAWS.

“We are thrilled to be introducing this exciting new campaign to consumers across Western Canada,” said Adam Evans, National Sr. Brand Manager, Wine Division, PMA Canada Ltd.

“We are always in search of ways to enhance the wine drinking experience for our consumers across the country. The Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is truly best–in-class. Enjoying it on its own is definitely a treat for any wine connoisseur, and we look forward to having consumers experience its flavours as they are enhanced alongside the various wild salmon appetizers, each prepared by some of the best chefs in the country.”

Alison Sokol Blosser, Co-President, CEO and Second Generation Winegrower, Sokol Blosser Winery adds:. “It’s exciting to work with these chefs to bring the flavours of Pinot Noir and salmon to life to consumers across the country.”

The best of the pairings from the restaurants — which also includes notable Vancouver eatery Vij’s, plus three others in B.C. — will be announced in January.

New entry into Alberta beer market is set in Stone

- October 15th, 2014

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Despite the long-held misconception by many people more accustomed to Budweiser being representative of American beer, the craft beer scene south of the border is really far ahead of what’s going on in Canada.

We’re catching up, but there is lots to be envious about.

In a lot of ways, though, we don’t know what we’re missing, because there is so much that isn’t available here.

Case in point is San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. This award-winning brewery, the largest craft operation in southern California, is just now being released in Alberta and B.C.

Wholesaler Horizon Beers, which recently brought Colorado-brewed New Belgium beers to Alberta, has partnered with Stone Brewing to bring six year-round brews, plus seasonal releases to stores, bars and restaurants starting Monday, Oct, 20.

“It’s awesome to be able to bring Stone beer to many of our long-awaiting Canadian fans,” said Stone Vice President of Sales Todd Karnig.

“We chose Horizon Beers because they believe in providing craft beer fans with quality beers at the peak of freshness—something that is extremely important to Stone.

“Canadians are ready for Stone, and we feel privileged to contribute to the country’s prospering craft beer scene.”

In honour of the occasion, Stone, Horizon and Craft Beer Market in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver have teamed up for special launch parties next week, featuring up to 15 Stone beers on tap. They have been giving away tickets through their Twitter pages. Keep checking for your chance to win.

In addition, there will be events at other top beer spots in all three cities, including National in Calgary, MKT in Edmonton and Biercraft Bistro in Vancouver, plus several others.

For a full listing of events surrounding the Stone launch in Alberta and B.C., check the Stone Brewing Co. website.

Strap on your lederhosen – it’s Oktoberfest season

- September 24th, 2014
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Visitors celebrate with first beer mugs the opening of the traditional Bavarian Oktoberfest festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich, southern Germany, on September 20, 2014. Germany’s world-famous Oktoberfest kicks off with millions of revellers set to soak up the frothy atmosphere in a 16-day extravaganza of lederhosen, oompah music and, of course, beer. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE

It’s that time of year: The leaves are changing colour, the weather is cooling, and people are ready to break out their dirndl and party it up at Oktoberfest celebrations.

The concept of a German-themed, beer-fuelled oompah fest is nothing new, but the folks behind Alberta Beer Festivals (Calgary International Beerfest and the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival) are bringing a craft beer focus to Oktoberfest efforts, which kick off this weekend in Cowtown before debuting Oct. 3 in the Chuck.

While people may normally associate massive steins and Bavarian barmaids with Oktoberfest, the two events are sampling events, with a bit of a German twist, giving patrons a chance to try a variety of local and German beers from nearly 30 breweries.

“That’s the benefit of a sampling event,” Alberta Beer Festival’s Trevor Bacon says.

“We want to expand our presence in Edmonton,” Bacon added.

“We feel we need to introduce more beers to Edmonton audiences.”

Both Calgary’s and Edmonton’s festival will feature European brews from the likes of Peroni, Pilsner Urqell, Fruh, and Maisel, but there’s also a heavy focus on Canadian craft beer.

Alley Kat, Big Rock, Wild Rose, Olds College, Grizzly Paw, Tool Shed, the list goes on.

Adding to the craft beer goodies is a cask stage, with special beers unique to each festival.

Calgary’s features Olds College, Wild Rose and Brewsters on Friday, while Saturday features a collaboration brew, Village Brewery and Something Brewing.

Edmonton’s cask stage features Olds College, Hog’s Head and Brewsters on Oct. 3, followed by Wood Buffalo, Alley Kat and Ribstone Creek on Saturday.

Both events will feature local food as well as oompah music and other live entertainment.

Tickets to get into the event are $19 in advance or $25 at the door, with tokens available on site for beer and food samples.

For more info on both festivals, visit the Alberta Beer Festivals website.

Prost!

Glenfiddich partners with Calgary charity to support veterans and their families

- May 21st, 2014

Steve Critchley, Co-Founder of Can Praxis (left), Elizabeth Havers, Brand Ambassador, PMA Canada(centre), and Phil Ralph, Program Director, Wounded Warriors Canada (right), at the BMO Centre in Calgary
to nationally announce Glenfiddich’s newest partnership with Can Praxis. Handout photo

The next time you pour a dram of Glenfiddich, you’ll be toasting a Calgary charity in their work with veterans and their families.

The iconic distillery has partnered with Wounded Warriors Canada and Calgary-based Can Praxis to support its equine therapy work with veterans to help soldiers recover from the effects of war and rebuild family connections.

“Glenfiddich’s direct support of Wounded Warriors Canada and Can Praxis allows us to provide programs for veterans and their families at no cost to participants,” Can Praxis co-founder Steve Critchley said.

“This support is significant and ensures we (Can Praxis) are able to conduct innovative programs and provide proven help for those in need.”

The announcement was made Wednesday at Stampede park in Calgary.

For its 2014 campaign, Glenfiddich is donating $2 from the sale of every bottle of Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera sold in Canada to the program.

Glenfiddich has partnered with Wounded Warriors Canada since 2012, starting with the donation of proceeds from a record-breaking scotch auction in Toronto. To date, more than $180,000 has been raised to support Wounded Warriors.

“When it comes to our ongoing partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada, we have and always will be guided by the philosophy of families helping families,” says Beth-Anne Thomas, National Brand Manager for Glenfiddich.

“As a family-run distillery, we are thankful that our fundraising efforts in 2014 will directly support veterans and their families using pioneering equine-assisted learning methods.

“We couldn’t be more proud to welcome them into our family at Glenfiddich.”

The proceeds will be presented to Wounded Warriors and Can Praxis at a ceremony leading up to Remembrance Day this fall.

The Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera, according to the distillery’s website,  is an award-winning whisky, aged in three different kinds of oak before being mellowed in a Solera vat and married in Portugese oak tuns. It features aromas of honey, fudge and dark fruits, with notes of oak, cinnamon and ginger on the palate with a sweet, lingering finish.

It’s a good buy at less than $70 most places.