The “straight” goods: Toronto Distillery Co.’s First Barrels Whisky

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The first new distillery in Toronto since 1933 has just launched the city’s first 100% organic whisky, and in addition to bringing about “the rebirth of whisky distilling in one of the historically great whisky cities of the world,” its makers are hoping the bottle and its contents might start a conversation about whisky standards in Canada.

Launched in 2013 by Charles Benoit and Jess Razaqpur, the Toronto Distillery Co. was borne of two high school buddies’ shared passion for whisky. Given the requirement for whisky to age, the start-up company located in the Junction (directly next door to Junction Craft Brewing) has, like most new distillers, largely been selling organic gin and “new make” grain spirits, an unaged whisky that you might know by the less refined moniker “moonshine.”

Until now. Continue reading “The “straight” goods: Toronto Distillery Co.’s First Barrels Whisky”

Come enjoy beer, bourbon, and smoked meat (with me!)

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A few months ago, I had an opportunity to host an event organized by the folks at Orchestra Marketing that combines the typically forced act of “networking” with the slightly more enjoyable act of drinking beer.

Dubbed “beerworking” the event was an exercise in learning a little about beer while meeting new people and has since blossomed into a popular ongoing series of get-togethers hosted by knowledgeable fellow beer scribe, Crystal Luxmore, for whom I was substituting when I last hosted.

Thankfully for me, Ms. Luxmore again finds herself otherwise engaged for an upcoming event and I’ve been asked to fill in.

Also thankfully for me, this event, taking place on Thursday March 12, from 6:30pm – 9:30pm  has evolved to include not just craft beer, but also bourbon and smoked meat. No really. It’s like they’ve taken a page from my dream journal. All that’s missing is 90s era Tiffany Amber Thiessen.

The event will feature beer from Sudbury craft brewery Stack Brewing who, rumour has it, are gearing up for broader distribution of their heretofore relatively unknown beers, so you’ll have a chance to try a few beers you probably haven’t had before.

We’ll also be enjoying a selection of bourbons from the portfolio of Kirkwood Diamond Canada, including Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare and I’ll make some effort to explain why beer and bourbon go well together (aside from the answer my grandpappy always gave that “you got two hands for a reason!”).

Lastly, because all this good drinkin’ will surely work up a hunger, we’ll be enjoying a selection of cured meats from none other that Toronto’s Caplansky’s.

I know, I know. At this point you’re probably already saying “Just shut up and take my money,” so here’s the link to get tickets

It’s just $50 a person which, considering you’re getting three beers, three bourbons, and three different sandwiches, is a hell of a deal (even if the experience will be marred slightly by having to listen to me pretend I know what I’m talking about).

If you bring a friend you can get a pair of tickets for $90, but considering the event is designed to meet new people, rolling solo is obviously cool, too.

See you there! I’ll be the guy covered in mustard.

You Should Already Be Drinking: Forty Creek Whisky

*I received financial compensation for this post. 

I‘ve never been all that interested in Canadian Whisky.

It’s sort of a shameful secret of mine given that I’m clearly an enthusiast of alcohol and also fiercely (some might say stupidly) local when it comes to my beer consumption. But the Canadian stuff has never really done much for me. Perhaps it goes back to my days of drinking excessive quantities of Canadian Club before high school dances, but I’ve always found rye, and by association, Canadian whiskies just too sweet and more often than not, I’ve opted for Canadian whisky’s decidedly more established cousin from Scotland.

Thankfully though, I was recently invited to attend a whisky tasting led by Forty Creek’s own master distiller John Hall, and I got a bit of an eye opener: Canadian whisky can taste pretty good. Continue reading “You Should Already Be Drinking: Forty Creek Whisky”