300 Kinds of Whisky (and other spirits), 1 Room: Hopscotch Vancouver returns Nov. 17-23

Photo credit: Ryan Hyde | Flickr

Photo credit: Ryan Hyde | Flickr

Do you enjoy an occasional single malt? Then this is the event for you.

Hopscotch – the festival devoted entirely to whisky, with some beer and other spirits thrown in – returns to Vancouver, Nov. 17-Nov. 23.  Now in its 19th year, the festival has expanded from a simple tasting event to an entire week of whisky-paired dinners, master classes, cigar smokes, music parties and more.

The main event is the aptly named Grand Tasting Hall, Nov. 21-Nov. 22, in the cavernous PNE Forum. Inside, 100 exhibitors will be pouring more than 300 premium whiskies, as well as craft beer, vodka, gin, rum, tequila and more. Admission price ($45-$50) gets you five tasting tokens, and additional tokens can be purchased for $1.10 each.  Several local restaurants will be serving food, while live entertainment from the BC Irish Regiment Pipes and Drums and other bands (with fewer bagpipes) will put drinkers in the mood.

Photo credit: Raj Taneja | Flickr

Photo credit: Raj Taneja | Flickr

Meanwhile nearly a dozen satellite events take place throughout the city during the week, many of which are sold out or nearly sold out already. The popular Whisky 101 (Nov. 18, $59), at Legacy Liquor Store in Olympic Village, offers a 90-minute “non-snooty” introduction to the world of whisky, with samples of rye, bourbon, single malts, blends and other spirits in the whisky family.  Fancy themed dinners – like the Johnnie Walker Dinner at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (Nov. 20, $135) and the Balvenie Dinner at Sutton Place (Nov. 17, $120) – pair some of the world’s most esteemed whiskies with multi-course meals at the city’s top restaurants.  For cigar aficionados, the Great Whisky Smoke (Nov. 22, $135) offers an afternoon of live music, catered food, whisky and Revolucion Cigars.

Photo credit: Mikael Leppä | Flickr

Photo credit: Mikael Leppä | Flickr

Finally, for hardcore whisky nerds, the festival hosts dozens of master classes, where top speakers from select distilleries go in-depth about their products, offering plenty of samples to keep the audience engaged.  Johnnie Walker, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and other top distilleries are all offering classes, which range in price from $20-$59 and are held at Olympic Village’s Legacy Liquor Store.  There’s even a unique class that pairs fine whiskies with fine chocolates ($30, Nov. 23).

The Hopscotch Festival runs Nov. 17-Nov. 23.  Find the full lineup of events on the website.

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