My second night in town, my uncle and I went to a whiskey tasting event, which included Scotch, bourbon, rye and even Japanese whisky, which I had never had before. Ten dollars got you a tasting glass (which you were welcome to keep), samples of about fifteen whiskys, and paella, plus ten percent off any of the bottles being sampled. The paella was good but not great, featuring a variety of meats, which I enjoyed, though my uncle was thus forced to pick through it. The liquors varied from terrible to amazing, but the real treat of the night was meeting a couple of the people who work for the distributors.
|(L-R) Basil Hayden's, Knob Creek, Jim Beam Honey, Laphroaig 10yr|
The folks from Beam Inc., best known in this country as the producers of Jim Beam, were the first I sampled from. They brought Laphroaig 10 year, a Scotch that my mother loves and that I cannot stand. They also brought Jim Beam Honey, Knob Creek 9 year (a very good bourbon, but one I have had enough times not to need to try it that night), and Basil Hayden's, which I had never had before and was very pleased to see, having heard very good things about it. It was not quite as good as I was expecting, but that is simply an issue of expectations being raised unrealistically high; in fact, it was a very solid whiskey, and I really enjoyed it.
|Heaven Hill Distilleries|
Following a little paella, I moved on to Bowmore 10 year. It sucked. Avoid at all costs. Enough said.
|Dewars' Aberfeldy 12yr|
The final company represented was Anchor Distilling Company, and they were by far my favorite of the night. Bringing some that I had already had and loved, including Eagle Rare and Buffalo Trace bourbons, each of which I brought to a couple weddings over the last few months and
|(L-R) Hirsch Bourbon, Nikka 12 yr "Pure Malt," Nikka 15 yr single malt|
|(L-R) Templeton Rye, Macallan 12 yr, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace|
|(L-R) Buffalo Trace, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, Four Roses Bourbon, Four Roses Single Barrel|
Saturday evening was spent with my cousin and her friends at Grovetoberfest, an annual beer festival in Coconut Grove, Miami's oldest neighborhood. Far more of a festival than a beer tasting event, this was a lot of fun, but definitely targeted a different audience than the American Craft Beer Fest, where almost no one is trying to get drunk; at Grovetoberfest, that seems to be the predominant intent among attendees. There were some very good beers there, including some local options that I had never had, but the best were from Founders Brewing Company, which was no surprise whatsoever. All in all, it was a fun event, and I really enjoyed myself, but I prefer the ACBF.
Following the festival, which concluded at about 7:00pm, our group headed to Sandbar Grill, a ridiculously loud and over-crowded tourist bar that nonetheless was a pretty fun place to hang out, as it was loaded with televisions tuned to various sports; plus, they had Yuengling on tap, and that's...well...awesome. (Yuengling is coming back to Massachusetts!!!) An old friend of mine from college who lives in the area joined us there as well, along with his best friend from childhood, and after a while of shouting at each other to be heard, the three of us, plus a friend of my cousin's friend adjourned to Vinos in the Grove, where we had a glass of wine each. Their wine list is pretty impressive, including some really good by the glass options, and they also serve a few cheese platters that sounded pretty damn good. Next time I am in Miami, I will definitely head back there, and it seems like a great place to take a date if you do live in the area.
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