Raise a Glass at HopScotch


Forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, a few of my favorite things are bourbon, single malt and beer. And by a stroke of hoppy, malty, genius, all three are on offer at Hopscotch, Vancouver’s beer and whisky* festival. In recent years it has come to include other spirits as well, but the basic rules of the game are this: you purchase a ticket and get a bag full of tokens plus a tasting glass. Beer is generally worth one token and whiskies can be worth between 2 and 4, depending on the calibre. The one with the least tokens or most tasting notes (or something like that) at the end of the night wins.


Despite being a die-hard whisky connoisseur, this was my first year at Hopscotch and I was happy to see that even though I was familiar with most of the products, there were some new and interesting selections on offer.

Here are some that stood out:


  • Red Racer IPA from Central City Brewing is smooth and hoppy and one of the best beers I’ve had in a while. I’ve been hearing some buzz about this brewery and happy to see that they’re living up to the hype. Unsurprising that CAMRA‘s voted it Best Beer in BC 2 years running. The Winter Ale was good but not quite at the same level as the IPA.
  • This fall found me dipping into Steamworks and Granville Island for pumpkin ale a little more frequently than usual, but had I tried Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Ale before November, I would have skipped them both and stayed home with a couple bottles of HS. Outstanding flavour.


  • Nikka Whisky. I sampled some Nikka Whisky From the Barrel at a friend’s house just days before HopScotch, so I had an idea of the quality of the Taketsuru (21 year old) and Miyagikyo (12 year old) but nevertheless, the complexity in both of these blew me away.
  • Bruichladdich I’m not new to Bruichladdich and I’ve tried most of them before, but I think they’re worth mentioning. Peat,  a heavy peaty (surprise!) whisky with a bite is one of my favorites. Waves is matured in madeira casks and is a little gentler with fruit and smoke but no less robust.
  • Amrut is the Indian single malt and I was glad of a chance to sample it, as I’ve not had it before.  The original single malt was the favorite, bringing a honey and caramel luxuriousness to the palate. I also enjoyed the Amrut Fusion, which is redolent of  oak and vanilla.
  • The Dalmore 12 year old was the first Scotch I tried, but it held it’s own for the evening. Subtle orange and cinnamon notes.

I was worried that it would get a bit chaotic on the tasting floor with the mix of beer and whiskey (and now spirits). There’s not a lot of rare whiskies on offer, but it’s big enough that there’s something for everyone and I look forward to checking out next year’s event.

*Spell it ”whiskey’ or ‘whisky’ as you like. Scotland , Canada and Japan spell it ‘whisky’. America and Ireland spell it ‘whiskey’. I usually default to whisky and Hopscotch also refrains from using the ‘e’.  My spell check is not in favour.


Our Sponsors

These are our friends, neighbours and some of the best food resources around. They support us. We support them. You should too.