Hello, beers and booze! Luke and I attended the Hopscotch Festival for the first time this past November. Other than a guaranteed hangover, we didn’t know what to expect from this event, as the craft beer/whiskey/spirits hybrid was new for us. Regardless, we were stoked to receive media passes for the Friday night of the sold-out Grand Tasting Hall event, held at the PNE Forum.
One thing that intrigued us about Hopscotch was diving headfirst into the world of craft cocktails and spirits, and sampling both local and foreign offerings. Craft beer is our forte, but it’s nice to branch out once in a while!
The event was already quite busy at 7 p.m. when we arrived, so we collected our tokens and grabbed our first drink of the night.
I was eager to try some locally distilled gin, so what better of a way to start the night than with Odd Society Spirits. The Powell Street based distillery has recently collaborated with some local breweries – Doan’s Brewing and Powell Brewing to name a few. I went with their Wallflower Gin, and not surprisingly, it tasted fantastic. It was nice and bright with some subtle floral notes. This confirmed that I need to visit their tasting room sooner rather than later!
Continuing on the gin train, we strolled over to The Botonist, which was easily the most intriguing vendor setup at Hopscotch. The entire booth was made to look like a forest floor. They had gone as far as to fly in fresh winter chanterelle mushrooms via helicopter that morning, which they delicately placed among their table scenery. In terms of their gin, it was phenomenal. We sampled The Botonist 22, which features twenty-two locally foraged botonicals from the Islay Island in Scotland. I finally understand what Taylor Swift meant in her lyrics, “I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22″…
Oh, and did I mention? TEQUILA! Courtesy of Casamigos Tequila.
After a healthy diet of gin and tequila, we made our way to the craft beer area of Hopscotch. It was great to see some familiar faces pouring at a bunch of the booths. Our friends at Mariner Brewing were pouring their NE IPA, which I’m a big fan of. They also had their Berliner Weisse; a delicious gateway beer for people looking to get into the sour beer realm, or just want something refreshing.
Our friends from Beerthirst had a massive presence at the 2017 Hopscotch Festival. We sampled some delicious beers from their clients AleSmith Brewing (launched late August 2017 in Canada), Kona Brewing, Maui Brewing, Modern Times Brewing, and more. I still can’t get over how damn amazingly balanced the AleSmith IPA is. Without a doubt, one of my all-time favourites for the style.
Before we knew it, the event was starting to wrap up. Luke and I still had a handful of tokens to spend, so we decided to sample The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whiskey. I’m no connoisseur when it comes to whiskey, but what I can tell you is that the Dalmore 12 was delicious and complex. It’s definitely worth adding to your whiskey shelf.
A big thanks to the people at Hopscotch for providing Luke and I with media passes for what turned out to be an awesome evening of tasting some amazing craft beer, whiskey and spirits. If you weren’t able to make it to Hopscotch 2017, make sure to mark it on your calendar for 2018!
Here’s a few more of Luke’s photos from the evening:
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