Sunday, November 7, 2010

Longs Peak Highlands Festival & Scotch Tasting

Recently, I've been getting in touch with my roots. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Nonna's Bistro which checks off the Italian food portion of my gastronomic family tree. And you won't hear me complaining any day soon that I had to grow up on the stuff, because the Italians arguably boast some of the best food in the world.  However, when I start to get in touch with my Scottish side, the food tells a different story.  Yikes. But on the flip-side, one of the finest contributions my fine countrymen bring to the table is, of course, Scotch.

When an old high school friend emailed me with an invitation to the annual Estes Park Highlands Festival and also put a few tickets to the scotch tasting on the table, I found it hard to decline. After all, it's in my blood. I'm just going to lay that excuse out there as I continue to divulge here...

Now when I think about why I started this website some time ago, it was solely to share with my friends, family, and Denver locals the best places to eat in Denver. In turn, I realized that culinary adventures can not only be found within the restaurants of Denver and abroad, but also that there are a handful of great events that celebrate food and culture in unique ways. This being one of them.

After taking one of my favorite drives into Estes Park on a Friday afternoon, I was both famished and parched. But that's no feat for a Highlands festival if I've ever known one. However, the catch 22 here: my buddy Matt and I were already running late for the Scotch Seminar so we b-lined straight there on empty stomachs.  And now, a photo montage of a Scottish/Irish culinary adventure:

The menu that we had to pass up for now. Carnival food is awesome.

Robert Sickler- Master of Whiskey. I'm pretty sure this guy drank scotch from his baby bottle.
The menu we didn't pass up

The tasting consisted of 7 drams. Just to clarify: that's a heap of scotch. 
I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly....
Thought I had too much at this point, but thankfully the leprechauns ended up being real. Never thought I'd say that...

Proof that there is an ever-flowing reserve of scotch for the Master of Whiskey...  the rest of us got cut off. 

Everything tastes better with scotch.
Ribeye steak sandwich with caramelized onions- this one's actually very good, drunk or not.  

Closest thing we could find to haggis- the "Haggis Pup". Sadly, it was just a sausage.  

Gobble gobble.

Actually some creative presentation here, believe it or not.

And of course, I had to verify that I'm actually Scottish. Affirmative!  
Conclusions from the day:
- Tasting 7 whiskeys in one sitting truly highlights the unique forms and techniques of each batch
- When referring to scotch, it's spelled whisky. If Irish or otherwise, it's whiskey. Don't ask me why.
- The more you drink the smarter you get
- Being a Master of Whiskey definitely would not suck
- If it's not Scottish, it's crap!


  1. Well done! But, there's a reason that you don't find Scottish food at Scottish festivals: nobody would come. They make good whisky though, and they invented golf, so the Scots are all right with me.

  2. Very true- and very sad at the same time.
    But as for golf and scotch, do you think they also invented the drink cart?

  3. About time you spend some time boozing in this blog. And I hope you checked out one of the best - The Wheel Bar - when you were knoodling around Estes.