GVO-Ed-Hopscotch-4.jpg
Credit: Stacey McLachlan

The Whiskey Diaries: Hopscotch Festival Hits Vancouver

Hopscotch claims to be the biggest combined whiskey and beer festival in Canada, but I have a sneaking suspicion it may be the only combined whiskey and beer festival in Canada. I’m not one to quibble, though, when someone is doling out adorable tiny cups of scotch.

The Rocky Mountaineer Station is packed wall to wall with vendors, handing out tipples of whiskey (rye and bourbon) and brews. I’m ready to learn. And, if the opportunity arises, I suppose I may indulge in a drink or two. Here's a running diary of my time at Hopscotch.

Let the Whiskey Flow: 6:00 p.m.

My date Maia and I have each received a bag of tokens to purchase samples with, but we’re finding out that our feminine wiles are worth their weight in imitation-gold at an event jammed with mustachioed men-folk.

Just tried our first whiskey (the only cost was a smile!): Revel Stoke. It’s made with vanilla and spices—delicious! My drinking companion is engaged in rapid-fire industry conversation with the friendly man in the booth; I’m going to use this time to calculate the ratio of mustaches per square foot.

This lovely lady from White Owl White Whiskey concocts some Caesars for our tasting pleasure. (Image: Stacey McLachlan)

6:15 p.m.

Bellies warmed, we’ve now filled our cups with whiskey Caesars from White Owl White Whiskey. This totally clear whiskey is matured in an oak barrel (no owls were harmed in the process), so it’s super mellow, although the cocktail doesn’t have as much bite as I'd like. But I'm a simple girl with simple needs: if there's a pickled bean in it, I'm on board.

6:30 p.m.

It’s turning out I don't like whiskey very much (at all), even with a swill of ginger ale. Luckily, there are beer booths everywhere (that's the "Hops" part of the Hopscotch festival, for those of you following along at home).

Vancouver Island Brewery is serving us up some toasty Hermann’s Dark Lager and then their crisp Double Decker IPA. And now some more Hermann’s for good measure. Perhaps it's time to cleanse our palettes. With more beer!? Don't mind if I do!

Whiskey and beer flowed freely at the 15th annual Hopscotch Festival. (Image: Stacey McLachlan)

7:00 p.m.

New friends at the Steamwhistle Beer table! They are singing "She's a Lady” to us. This feels like the most natural thing in the world.

7:15 p.m.

We've rudely been ignoring the Hypnotique table. Rappers sing (is that the right verb? Must check later!) about it, so it must be good. And there are cranberries in here? I love you guys so much, and this giant martini glass is soooo beautiful.

7:30 p.m.

Found samosas in the food tent and I have paid many tokens for the privilege of eating them. I was feeling a little woozy for a bit, but getting some food in me is nice. Why is the Red Truck Beer guy wearing my glasses?

Drinking Companion Maia and me: cheers to Hopscotch! (Image: Stacey McLachlan)

7:45 p.m.

Maia has convinced me to try some more whiskey. I’m pouring most of my Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon into her cup when she isn't looking. I’m going to try the McLoughlin & Steele Whiskey instead.

7:50 p.m.

Got into a fight with the vendor about the spelling of McLoughlin.

McLoughlin & Steele Whiskey was one of the many vendors in attendance at Hopscotch. (Image: Stacey McLachlan)

8:00 p.m.

Howe Sound Beer has a Christmas blend that tastes like vanilla! Everyone already knows it's the most delicious season!

8:15 p.m.

I may be a little tipsy. Sing-along on the complimentary shuttle downtown seems like a good idea. Wish the rest of the passengers would join in.

Hopscotch Festival took place November 14 to 20, and returns next year for it’s 16th annual event. Bring cash for a cab.