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WhiskyWeek is Upon Us

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Apr 14, 2011 6:00PM

Dozens of whiskey makers are to town now for WhiskyFest. Templeton Rye even brought its own mobile speakeasy.
Bad news first: tickets to the Chicago edition of Malt Advocate magazine's annual WhiskyFest, which takes place tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency, are sold out. Now to the good news: whisk(e)y lovers of all stripes, including those who didn't get around to buying their WhiskyFest tickets, have numerous opportunities over the coming days to get in on the interesting tastings, pairing dinners, product launches and previews, and general brown-booze-colored revelry that make up the ancillary festivities known as WhiskyWeek.

Chicago's temples to whiskey in all its forms - including Delilah's, Longman & Eagle, the Gage, Branch 27, the Twisted Spoke and others - have been playing host to visiting distillers and offering rare tipples all week. Among the upcoming events: starting at 8 p.m. tonight, Delilah's will be pouring a vertical tasting of Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbons from 1996 through 2001; and at 7 p.m., Branch 27 will host a five-course "educational dinner," pairing dishes with whiskeys from High West, a producer out of Park City, Utah ($50; call for seat availability).

On Friday, following the roster of WhiskyFest tastings and seminars at the Hyatt, industry folks will reconvene at after parties around town. For instance, representatives from New Holland Artisan Spirits will be heading to the Exchange Bar to show off their Zepplin Bend Malt Whiskey and to preview the yet-to-be-released Walleye Rye (starts at 10:30 p.m.). WhiskyWeek continues through Saturday, including a tour of Chicago's own Koval distillery and a launch party back at Delilah's for its latest whiskey releases (2 and 7 p.m., respectively). See the full lineup of WhiskyWeek events here.