We’re pretty lucky here in Sydney when it comes to whisky tastings. It’s seems like every other week there’s a tasting happening somewhere catering to all tastes and all levels of whisky appreciation, from beginners to diehard fans. That’s great for the consumer, but it also means that the ‘market’ can feel a little saturated at times and some of the different offerings seem to meld into one. There are a few that continually stand out though and one of those are the events hosted by Dramnation.
Mainly based in Sydney’s Hills District (but also holding events closer to the CBD), Dramnation have carved a nice little niche for themselves by really focussing on the enjoyment of whisky, especially when it comes to enjoying it alongside food and other beverages.
Dramnation’s Southern BBQ Boilermakers
Ive been to a couple of their events now and was recently invited along as a guest to their Southern BBQ Boilermarkers session. The premise here was simple; three bourbon or rye whiskies matched with three craft beers and three bourbon inspired bites. For this particular event, the whiskey came courtesy of Brown Forman stable and the beers were all from Mountain Goat, so we knew we were in for some quality drinks.
As we entered the old pub section of The Fiddler we were treated to the Dramnation take on a Kentucky Mule, a refreshing and ridiculously drinkable cocktail made with bourbon, ginger beer fresh lime and mint.
A brief introduction followed before we jumped right in to the first pairing (is it still a pairing when there’s three items?). Old Forester’s original 86 proof bourbon was lined up with Mountain Goat’s Pale Ale and a fresh batch of Southern BBQ Beans. These were no ordinary beans though, jam-packed with flavour, a healthy dash of Old Forester bourbon and further cooked in the smoker for an hour with the lid off. Delicious!
Brown Forman’s Stuart Reeves led us into the second tasting, talking us through the classic Woodford Reserve Bourbon before Dramnation’s Matt Wooler explained the flavour matching with Mountain Goat’s Summer Ale and his bourbon-injected, rubbed, smoked chicken wings.
Rounding out the afternoon was my favourite of the trio, Woodford Reserve Rye paired with Mountain Goat’s Fancy Pants (a fantastically malty English style amber/ red ale) and Matt’s very own bangers and mash. Not just any old bangers and mash though! I’m talking sour cream whipped mash with a hot-smoked pork sausage, bourbon onion gravy and a sprig of rosemary. Seriously one of the most comforting things I’ve eaten in a long time!
I had to take off not long after, but the afternoon finished off with a lucky-door draw for a portable charcoal BBQ and I’m told many stayed put for a couple more rounds and some good banter.
I really like classroom or educational-style tastings, they definitely have their place and they’re great when you really want to sit down and study a dram. But let’s face it, the vast majority of the time when you pour a whisky at home that’s not the kind of environment you’re in. You’re more likely to be in an environment like this, one with some tasty food around or a cold brew on hand and Dramnation have really nailed it, playing nicely to that relaxed, comfy vibe – all for the very reasonable price of just $55, or even less ($45) if you booked yourself an early-bird ticket.
For good whisky, good food, good venues and good times, jump onto dramnation.com and book yourself and a couple mates into one of their many upcoming events. You won’t regret it.