Posts Tagged ‘events

Dave’s Top 5 winter wine events

- February 6th, 2014

There’s something about a full glass of red wine on a winter’s night that just spells comfort.

Not even whisky warms me up like a glass of wine.

While the whisky and craft beer scenes are still growing in Calgary, the wine appreciation culture still reigns supreme and there are a ton of events devoted to vintages, varietals and vines.

This makes it tough for the likes of me to whittle it down to just five, but here we go:

1. Winefest: This February event features dozens of wineries from nearly 20 countries. There are wines from well-known regions like France, Italy and Chile, and lesser-known wine producers Moldova and Hungary. Mission Hill highlights the Canadian selections. The Friday and Saturday evening sessions are sold out, but there are still tickets available for the Saturday afternoon, 2-5 p.m. at the BMO Centre.

2. Pig and Pinot: Pinot noir is one of my favourite varietals, and, well, who doesn’t love pork? The two make for a great combination. Co-Op Wines Spirits Beer will have the best of both on display at this event, with food courtesy Boreal Cuisine. It goes on Feb. 14 at the Oakridge Tasting Centre, and Feb. 21 at Crowfoot. Tickets are $65.

3. Storm watch: Washington and Oregon have a great selection of wines available. Kensington Wine Market offers a chance to taste the best of both states at this event, inspired by the period in winter when “the rugged shores of Washington and Oregon are … dubbed “storm watch” as winter storms pound their coast lines.” This event will cost you $35, and it goes Feb. 21.

4. Bordeaux Vertical: Willow Park Wines & Spirits celebrates 20 years in business this March, and their birthday week features a host of tremendous events, including a Birthday Brunch, a Beer and Bubbles bash and a festival featuring wines ranked 90+ points by the top critics. But how could you pass up an evening exploring the wines of this iconic region? The night will feature vintages from Willow Park’s own wine library. Tickets for the March 6 event will set you back $120.

5. Phenomenal Poutine Pairings: Of all the events going on, why did I pick poutine? Because it’s poutine. Sure, I could have picked the unpronouncable vintages at Kensington, the Spanish evening at Crowfoot, or any of the other birthday events at Willow Park. But I love poutine, and I love the notion of fancy poutine pairings with fine wines. “The poutine pairings will be mostly wines,” Willow Park’s Peggy Perry told me. “Poutine with lobster, poutine with duck confit — it’s going to be really fun.” Sounds delicious. This event goes March 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Dave’s top 5 beer events in Calgary this winter

- January 31st, 2014

Get your drink on with these five great beer events.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re still stuck in winter, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

But nothing chases those winter blues away like some friends, fun and a few quality craft beers.

There are events out there for dark beer lovers, Belgian beer fans, Irish beer drinkers and more.

But here are my top five picks for a beery night out.

1. Border Beer Wars: It is a widely held myth by many beer drinkers that American beer is no good. True, the beer giants south of the border aren’t held in high regard by many, but U.S. brewers have been a driving force in the craft beer revolution. How do they stack up against Canadian craft beers? Judge for yourself at this Co-Op Wine Spirits Beer event, running Feb. 20 at the Crowfoot Tasting Centre and Feb. 27 at Shawnessy. Both events start at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.50.

2. CPO Craft Beer Night: For the last few years, Willow Park Wines & Spirits has partnered with the CPO to help raise funds for the orchestra. Join them for some great craft beer, plus food from Belgo, The Libertine and more. Tickets are $40 and 100% of the proceeds go to the CPO. The beer night is the second of three events hosted by Willow Park in support of the CPO. The Vintage Wine Tasting goes March 4, and The Art of Whisky is March 28.

3. Seasonal Brews: Some of you out there may drink the same beers all year. Not me. I like darker, heartier beers in the winter, and I look for something lighter in the summer. And I know I’m not alone. Kensington Wine Market offers a chance to sample some “spicy, full-bodied” winter brews on Feb. 20, and get set for the spring drinking season March 27, where you can sample a selection of beers “from  refreshing pilsners to the more nourishing bocks.” The Winter Seasonal event is $30 and the Spring tasting is $35.

4. Grizzly Paw Dinner: This Feb. 25 event pairs Canmore brewery Grizzly Paw — makers of local favourites Rutting Elk Red and Big Head Nut Brown — with the culinary stylings of Craft Beer Market chef Eric Mah. The four-course dinner will set you back $60 (which is a pretty good deal) and goes at 6 p.m.

5. Bottlescrew Bill’s Beerfest: This year marks the 20th edition of the popular  Beerfest at Bottlescrew Bill’s at 1 St. and 10 Ave. S.W. It is a guaranteed sell-out, and it’s not hard to see why. More than 75 beers from more than 25 breweries, all for just $25 (in advance). It’ll be $30 at the door, so why wait? The event runs from 2-5 p.m. on March 1.


All the best boozy events

- February 25th, 2013

Giving something new a try — looking to keep a running calendar of events embedded in all of our posts here on the blog.

If you have an event you think we should know about, email me

Some events to add some spirit (or beer, or wine) to your September

- September 7th, 2012

Summer’s over. The kids are back at school. Post-work rounds of golf are soon to be a memory and the patio isn’t looking that inviting any more.

So what is a proper drinker supposed to do now that fall is pretty well here? Take himself (or herself, equal opportunity boozing here) back to class. Learn about a some new wines, what to pair whisky with (other than more whisky), or just tuck in for some good food and booze pairings.

Stores across the city offer a wide array of classes, seminars, tastings and fun evenings throughout fall.

Some highlights on the September calendar (all listings as posted on the retailers’ websites)

Kensington Wine Market:
Aside from being the home of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada, Kensington Wine Market offers some great beer and wine events.
Tight Wad Oenophile I: Penny pinching for wine lovers gets harder and harder, especially in today’s market. We still look for the best so you can pay the least. Join us and we’ll share our secrets. Sept. 17. $25

What’s Next? Beer & Cheese I: Think wine and cheese make the perfect match? Think again! Beer is the true soul mate of cheese. Sept. 27. $30

Willow Park Wines & Spirits:
I live down south, so I do happen to find myself at Willow Park for plenty of events. Of interest this fall is their partnering with some local food trucks to offer some tasty new treats with a selection of beer.

Nathan’s Famous and Labatt’s: Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters & Fries is teaming up with some fine gems out of Labatt’s portfolio for Willow Park Wines & Spirits first of many Food Trucks in the Kitchen. Sept. 11. $45

California Wines and Complementary Cuisine with Christopher Walker, chef and wine consultant: This evening he will focus on the cuisine of California where more research has been done on food and wine pairing than anywhere else in the world. The discussion will center on the wines of the Hope Family and Coppola Estate. Sept. 25. $45

Mixing & Marinating with Jack Daniels: Experience the versatility of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sipping Whiskey from making interesting and tasty cocktails to making marinades, and taste how they are enhanced by the Old Number 7. Sept. 26. $25

Co-op Wines and Spirits:
Co-Op also gets in on the food truck frenzy this fall, but also has a ton of other events lined up.

Micro-Brew Breweries – Big Flavours from Small Producers: Spend some time with us as we explore one of the fastest growing markets in the beer world. During this class we will be tasting beers from around the world and discovering the history and culture behind these delectable crafted beers and their many different styles. Oakridge: Sept 15. $25

Wines Through History: Wines have been made for over 6,000 years. This class will take you back in time as we learn how the
Egyptians, Romans, two World Wars, prohibition and even the development of refrigeration have played a part in creating the wines we enjoy today. Oakridge: Sept. 22. $25

An Evening with Alley Burger: We’re excited to team up with Calgary’s favourite burger food truck, Alley Burger, for an evening
combining their delicious menu with our favourite beverage picks. This is an evening sure to delight
anyone who loves a great burger, bevvies and fun. Book early to avoid disappointment. Beddington: Sept. 22. $50

Crowfoot Wine & Spirits:
I don’t happen to find myself in the far northwest very often, but the Crowfoot flagship store is a great spot for events, to be sure.

Syrah vs. Shiraz: Is it two different grapes? Is there even a difference? If you have wondered these same questions then join us to find the answer. Tonight’s tasting will not only compare the two but we will taste both of them from regions around the world! Sept. 12 $25

Ladies Only Sips ‘n Bites: Leave the men at home tonight ladies, because this night is all for you! A night out with some great wines paired with great food! Bring ou your friends and relax because our chef and Sommelier Sheila Person will spoil you rotten tonight! Make it a great night and buy 3 tickets to get a 4th FREE! Sept. 22. $40

Spring sipping events (Updated!)

- March 28th, 2012

(Watch out — BeerFest is coming! LYLE ASPINALL/CALGARY SUN)

Now that spring is finally here (and we seem to have gotten our one early-spring dump of snow) you’re forgiven for wanting the hell out of the house.

And if your choice when you get out of the house is to explore and discover a new favourite beer, wine, or whatever, I have you covered.

That is, I have a whole list of events. I’m not covering any tabs. I know what you people are like.

All hopped up:

• In springtime in Calgary, suds lovers are bound to be found at the Calgary International BeerFest, May 4 and 5 at the BMO Centre. This is a big event, with more than 200 beers from dozens of breweries on offer. Bound to be fun, but also could easily get a tad, er, fuzzy.

Over at Willow Park Wines & Spirits, be sure to plan out your Canada Day beer menu with Beer Manager Dave Gingrich as he presents Canadian Craft Beer June 22. But be sure to check out a full list in Willow Park’s spring calendar.

The grapevine
Who wouldn’t want to sample fine wine and food in the Mountains? Add a healthy selection of beer and spirits, and you have one hell of a getaway at the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival. This time, in the actual Rockies, at the picturesque Banff Springs Hotel. This one goes May 4 and 5 as well, making for one boozy weekend.

If you want to stay closer to home, Willow Park is offering their California Wine Festival April 19, or as a nice kickoff to Canada Day with the Oh Canada! Wine Festival on June 30.

Meanwhile, Co-Op Wines & Spiritsis offering a chance for people to get up close and personal, kind of, with Rock ‘n’ Roll winemaker Charles Smith. Smith is taking part in a Skype wine tasting at the Crowfoot location.

Getting spirited
While, most unfortunately, the two nights are sold out, Kensington Wine Market is offering up a whisky lover’s dream evening this week, with the Ancient Malts nights March 29 and 30, featuring “not one, not two, not three, but SIX 40 Year Old distillery bottled whiskies” according to the store’s website. Fear not, though, they are also the home of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada.

Whisky lovers can also head to Willow Park Wines & Spirits for Trip around Scotland, or the Mild and Strong Malts of Scotland events. But Willow Park’s most spirited spring event looks to be the Suds & Stills Festival May 18, featuring the best of the new beer and spirits to hit their shelves in 2012.

But let’s not forget Canadian whisky. Crowfoot Wine & Spirits hasn’t, with an event April 3 featuring the best this country has to offer.

If Rum is more your thing, Co-Op is giving people a chance to get to know it a little better April 14 at the Oakridge tasting centre. And who wouldn’t want to get to know rum a little better in time for warmer weather?

I apparently went looking at Kensington Wine Market’s events calendar a few days early.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the update, as they have a fairly full slate, including some specialized whisky tastings. Check it out here.

Calgary is blessed to have a whole host of events, and there are tons more at links listed above, so go. Find one of your own. And if they don’t have one, many outfits in town will set up a private tasting for you and your friends.