Friday, February 29, 2008

John Hansell Interview - The Malt Advocate

Before there is whiskey, there is beer. That's how whiskey is made. Who better to tell you this than the guy who wrote the boo...err magazine on the subject? John Hansell is the creator and publisher of Malt Advocate, a magazine dedicated to whiskey appreciation. John has been writing about about beer, wine, and spirits for years and is a great addition to Philly Beer Week. His blog, What Does John Know, is a one stop source for whiskey enthusiasts.

He took some time out to talk to Grain Bill and made just about the most persuasive selling point of whiskey that i've ever heard. Here's the info for his Beer Week event, click "Read More" below to get to the interview.

Whisky Tasting with John Hansell
Monk’s CafĂ©
264 S. 16th St.
6 p.m. $65

John Hansell, world-renowned whisky expert and publisher of the Malt Advocate, will lead a tutored tasting of very special whiskies. This is a very special evening which features rare whiskies from demolished distilleries. Most of them were shuttered in the early 1980s. Some are "experimental" whiskies from that same era. This may be the only opportunity you will ever have to taste these whiskies, as they will become increasingly rare in the future. Only 24 seats available for this event. John's events sell out quickly, so be sure to call on January 14th to secure a ticket to this event.

John Hansell Interview - 02/28/07

As it stands you have the pleasure and pressure of hosting the only non-beer tasting event on the Philly Beer Week schedule. Aside from whiskey’s similarities to beer pre-distillation, what other familiarities can beer drinkers find waiting for them in a good whiskey?

Diversity, complexity, and individuality come to mind immediately.

Do you see much crossover between those who prefer craft beer and those who prefer fine whiskey, or is that just a Lew Bryson thing?

Not just a Lew Bryson thing, but he is helping to champion the cause. I was a full-time beer writer (and Malt Advocate was originally a beer publication) 15 years ago before expanding Malt Advocate to focus on whisky. Malt Advocate is called Malt Advocate because malted barley is the common bond between beer and whisky.

Whisky is a natural extension of beer. It is, after all, distilled beer. Imagine a great beer. And then imagine that great beer’s flavors concentrated by a factor of 10. That, my friend, is whisky!

What can attendees expect from your tasting at Monk’s on March 10th? This is not the kind of tasting that happens every day, that’s for sure.

It’s a tasting of rare whiskies from distilleries that have been demolished and will never produce whisky ever again. Most of the distilleries closed down about 25 years ago, during the early 1980s. Not only are they rare whiskies, but I also selected whiskies that are diverse in flavors, to make the tasting more interesting.

Where does this collection of whiskies come from and how did the decision come about for you to share it in this type of setting?

I believe that special things are meant to be shared, not hoarded. With people who will appreciate them, that is. The whiskies primarily come from my own personal collection. The Monk’s audience is usually very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and appreciative. It’s an intimate setting where we can all learn together and have fun.

What thoughts would you like to share on Philly Beer Week as a whole?

I think it’s a great idea. That’s why I decided to be part of it. Philly is a great beer town. It’s time to let the rest of the world know this.

Do you have your sights set on any of the other events in particular?

They all look great, really.

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