Barrel Night was Intoxicatingly Educational

Dickel Single Barrel

Barrel Night puts a boatload of booze under one roof

Boozist was invited to attend the Inaugural Chicago Magazine Barrel Night a few weeks back. It looked to be an amazing event, but I was scheduled to be in Kentucky covering the Bourbon Classic for the week (more on that later). Not wanting the event to go uncovered, I turned to my good friend Dan. He’s an excellent story teller, and the man knows a whole lot about whiskey. Pacing himself, as you’ll come to learn, is a definitely concept that eludes him though.

All in all it sounds like Barrel Night was a great event that was well run and successfully caters to novices, aficionados, and everything in between. I’m looking forward to checking it out myself when the 2nd Annual Barrel Night rolls around.

From the desk of Dan, with minor edits for readability.

Let me preface this by saying that I probably should have eaten something before Barrel Night.

I have been boozing with Boozist-Actual for the last 13 years (and the First Lady of Boozist for the last couple). We have pregamed, postgamed, tailgated, BeerBQ’ed, partied in the name of Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Presidents Day, St Patrick’s day, Cinco De Mayo, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day (Hoo rah), and Flag Day.

We have snuck booze into sorority parties, charity events, movies, 5K’s, marathons, weddings, funerals, and final exams. I have competed in enough drinking-olympics to know that anyone who keeps track of the score is missing the point completely.

I like craft beer, macro beer, vodka martinis, bourbon rocks, single-malt scotch neat, tequila (no training wheels), red wine with steak, white wine with fish, rosé with white girls, and champagne whenever one of my squad’s albums drop.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not just some happy hour warrior who drinks 1.5x a week and switches in a glass of water every other round. I enjoy drinking.

This is all to say that I was surprised when, 15 minutes into Chicago Magazine’s awesome Barrel Night 2016, the drop-dead gorgeous and supremely knowledgeable Jack Daniels Spokeswoman finished explaining the process behind the creation of their new Rye by tilting her head, looking at me like a puppy with a broken paw, and adding “…if you remember this tomorrow morning.” Condescending? Maybe a touch. Accurate assessment of my condition? Without a doubt.

Everyone I met and talked with at Barrel Night could not have been cooler, more patient, or more helpful. From the bad-ass bartender at CH who literally drew me out a map of who’s who on the scene and introduced me to Black Pepper Vodka to the women from 90+ Cellars who let me sober up with wine before diving back in.

There are plenty of other highlights to mention. Colombian Rum from Parce is worth fighting a drug war for. Bruichladdich’s Heavily-Peated immediately became one of my go-to scotches for toasting a successful fiscal quarter. And then there’s Jack Daniels Single Barrel Rye and Woodford Rye, both of which I’m certain will become a staple of Old-Fashioneds throughout the city.

Shout outs to the awesome couple I just met (pictured below) who joined me on my tasting odyssey, the cigar roller who had the most adoring fans of anyone that night, the girl who smelled my scotch and immediately fired off “that smells like my dad!,” and everyone who put up with short-stocky guy with the camera who couldn’t pronounce consonants by the end of the night.

Get up. And get after it!

Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Chicago Magazine Barrel Night
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo
Photo: Dan Dicamilo

Colin Joliat
About Colin Joliat 317 Articles
Colin Joliat is the brains behind this rinky-dink operation. He covers the alcohol industry with two parts information, one part comedy, and one part WTF is wrong with this guy. He's written for Brobible, Guyism, Thrillist, CoolMaterial, Craft, and more.