Posts Tagged ‘events

Top 10 items to check out at Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival Edmonton

- October 24th, 2014

We’re mere hours away from the Edmonton edition of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, the two day extravaganza that features not just wine and food, but also the best in beer, whisky and spirits from around the world.

As Liz Horner, senior event co-ordinator, tells me, the sampling smorgasbord is really “a great place to try before you buy.”

“We have 187 booths, 152 wineries from 15 countries, 48 breweries and 28 different restaurants and food vendors,” she said.

Not to mention bourbon, vodka, liquers, scotch, and even moonshine.

New for this year, Horner says, is the “Great Big Taste Awards,” which is tied into the festival App.

“Anyone can take part by downloading the app and starring the products as they sample them,” she said.

At the end of the festival, the ratings will be tallied.

This is arguably the biggest event of its kind in Edmonton, and tickets are still available for all three sessions — Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Tickets get you in the door, while sample tokens — which run 50 cents apiece — will get you food and beverage samples.

But with so much on offer, there’s no way you can sample everything.

My two pieces of advice would be to narrow your focus to one thing, red wine or craft beer for example, or just pledge to try only things you’ve never had before.

Or, you could run down and find my 10 picks for the festival:

1. Field Stone Fruit Wines: This Alberta-based fruit winery has been making delicious wines out of saskatoons, strawberries, cherries and more for years, and doing it really well.

2. Fallentimber Meadery: Another Alberta outfit, this was one of the first in the province to jump on this medieval favourite, and they’re making both dry and sweet offerings.

3. Stone Brewing Co.: This Southern California favourite was just released in Alberta and B.C. to much fanfare in the craft beer scene. Come check out what all the buzz is about.

4. Glenfarclas whisky: There are many great scotch whiskies on offer this year — including Balvenie, Macallan and Springbank to name a few — but Glenfarclas has a delicious, distinctive range of whiskies that are all worth trying.

5. Stoneleigh Vineyards: A great New Zealand winery. If they have any of the Latitudes line on offer, I’d recommend the Pinot Noir.

6. Craft Beer Market: You can’t drink all night without food, right? Craft is known for it’s tasty menu as well as its extensive beer selection.

7. Ribstone Creek Brewery: In addition to the Ribstone Lager, this rural Alberta craft beer maker will be pouring a pair of tasty offerings: The Lone Bison IPA and the Old Man Winter Porter. All three are worth a taste.

8. Woodford Reserve Bourbon: Great in a Manhattan, but equally delicious on its own, this is premium small batch Kentucky Bourbon.

9. Sortilege: According to its website, Sortilege is a blend of Canadian whisky and maple syrup. Need I say more?

10. Mission Hill Family Estates: Yes, they’re one of the biggest names out of the Okanagan, and for good reason. If you haven’t tried what Mission Hill is making in a while, take the opportunity while you can.

Happy sampling!

Alberta Distillers event highlights the top whisky events this spring

- April 22nd, 2014

Fill your glass with some fine whisky.

The Dram Initiative is a relatively new whisky club in Calgary.

Curt Robinson and friends have been hosting events under the Dram initiative banner, complete with cool Lost-inspired logo, for about the past year.

And while there has been a heavy focus on scotch and other single malt whisky from around the world, they’re going local for their next event. And it’s going to be a highlight of the spring.

For those not familiar with Alberta Distillers Ltd., they have been cooking up some fantastic 100% rye whisky for more than 65 years.

The Canadian whisky segment has gone through its own bit of renaissance in recent years, and the makers of Alberta Premium have made a name for themselves with people who are looking for something that stands out.

The Dram Initiative event, happening April 29 at Marda Loop community hall will showcase the best Alberta Distillers has to offer, including Alberta Premium 25 and 30 year expressions, in a tasting led by ADL’s Norm Little.

The event is for club members, but they’re always open to new people joining up. For more information on the club, contact  draminitiative@gmail.com.

Rounding out the Top 5:

2. The Last Samurai, June 26, Kensington Wine MarketKensington Wine Market plays host to plenty of great whisky events this spring, including Ancient Malts, and a Glendronach Batch 9 dinner. But an evening promising ‘some real curiosities from the world of Japanese whisky’ is one we’d find hard to pass up. Tickets are $100.

3. Co-Op Wine Spirits Beer World of Whisky and Cognac: This June event (June 7 in Calgary at the BMO Centre and June 14 in Edmonton at the Northlands Expo Centre) features a wide array of ‘whiskies from around the world, cognacs, and a gourmet dinner. VIP tickets get a guided tasting with experts, exclusive samples and early entry. General admission tickets are $125, VIP entry is $175.

4. The Spirit of Bourbon, June 13, Willow Park Wines & Spirits: Beyond single malt scotch, I love some bourbon, and Willow Park does put on great bourbon events. This June 13 tasting highlights the best in the segment. Tickets are $60.

5. Summer Whiskies, May 14, Willow Park Wines & Spirits: When it’s hot out, we tend to lean toward lighter beers and wines, so why not whiskies? Willow Park’s scotch expert David Michiels will run through a tasting of his favourite warm weather whiskies. Tickets are $25.

 

http://willowpark.net/events/type/week/0

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
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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 dave.breakenridge@sunmedia.ca