Beer is NOT the New Wine!

My late friend and colleague, Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter and Whisky Chaser, once stated, “People ask me if I also drink wine, as if beer is a prison rather than a playground.”

With that statement, Michael deftly summarized the problem with headlines like this one, which imply that people might or even should drink one thing over another to the point of exclusivity. Like Michael, I am fond of a glass of wine or whisky, or a pint of dry cider or a well-made cocktail. And even though I’ve written or co-written eight books on beer, I would balk at ever suggesting that ale or lager is categorically better than wine or spirits.

The point being that a multitude of different flavours exists in all three broad categories of alcoholic beverages – beer, wine and spirits, plus cider and saké – and still more flavours might be obtained when any of the above are mixed together into a cocktail. Each of these deserve exploration by curious imbibers, and if one or another proves not to be to your taste, then so be it.

Just don’t suggest to me that because of the size of shape of the bottle, or the trendiness of the advertising and marketing, than any one beverage is the “new” version of another, entirely different beverage. Beer is beer, wine is wine, and spirits are spirits. Period.

Toronto Gets Its Own Saké Festival!

This is something of which all southern Ontario beer aficionados should take note. The Kampai Toronto Festival of Saké will take place in the Fermentation Cellar at Toronto’s Distillery District on Thursday, May 31, beginning at 6:30.

If you’re a fan of fermented grain beverage and don’t like saké, it may be because you have never tried good saké! At Kanpai, there will be over one hundred of them, all available for sampling alongside a selection of suitable appetizers, for only $65 (in advance) or $75 (after May 24). This is an event the likes of which Toronto has never before seen and is in my opinion an opportunity that should not be missed!

Check out all the details and buy your tickets at