“He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.”
– George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”
Among the many things I cannot do are: wrestle a bear and win, hurl 1000 lb boulders from a high peak down upon unsuspecting villagers, knit a sweater, get any satisfaction, understand any math past high school geometry, power away from Cancellara on the Carrefour de L’arbre, back hand-springs, fashion a cozy shelter out of a Swiss Army Knife, a can of beans and a few pine saplings, and get within 500′ of Joe Piscopo (a legal thing, long time ago, don’t ask…never mind).
I can’t “do” whisky, either, but thanks to 18 Reasons, I’ll be teaching a series of “classes” this year on the stuff. 18 Reasons is a fantastic community space that’s part of the wonderful Bi-Rite Market empire here in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood. For those outside the Bay Area, Bi-Rite is a unique market committed to local products, produce and meats, Slow Food, and community. 18 Reasons is an intimate space nearby where they’re able to foster this community with dinners, classes, art shows, and speakers. I’m lucky enough to live nearby both, and was really excited when they were really excited to have me host a series of whisky-related evenings this year.
The first class, a whisky “primer” was on January 11…I’m a little late, I know. I would’ve mentioned it earlier, but it sold out faster than I could post anything about it. We covered a bit of whisky and distilling history, went over the basic Scotch making process, talked about all the different kinds of whisky, and just when I thought they were going die of thirst and/or beat me to death with their empty glasses, we tasted some whisky. For this intro round I picked five affordable bottles that I thought represented the main styles well: Eagle Rare 10yo for Bourbon, Sazerac 6yo for Rye, Powers 12yo for Irish, Balvenie Doublewood and Laphroaig 10yo for Scotch. To my surprise and delight more than half the class of 20 eager neophytes loved the Laphroaig which bodes well for the next classes.
On February 22, I’ll be leading a Scotch-focused class, hopefully tasting through the six regions and talking a bit about the history of each, and on March 22, I’ll lead a class on bourbon and rye. If all goes well, we’ll continue this series throughout the year with later classes focusing on Irish, specific Scotch regions, and possibly Japanese. If you’re in the Bay Area, keep your eyes on 18 Reasons’ calendar for more info, I’ll be posting it here as well.