A little goes a long way

Beer and wine tasting events give Hinsdaleans chance to learn and connect

How about a taste?

That's the invitation extended to a couple of upcoming events in town that tap experts in libations for participants to enjoy an ounce of education and a full helping of fun.

The first is Love is Brewing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St. Participants can sample six beers and two featured cocktails and enjoy appetizers and live music.

Jillian Spizzirri, facility and adult recreation supervisor at The Community House, said the hope is to provide a engaging outing for adults.

"We're trying to get them out for a little happy hour and tastings and gathering with friends and neighbors," she said. "I like it because it's one of the few things that we do for our parents. We do a lot a programs for the kids, but this one is for the parents to get out, relax and have fun."

Parenthood is not a prerequisite by any means.

"We also want to bring in our 30-somethings and our singles and others who just want to meet others in the community," she said.

The appetizers are chosen specifically to pair with the selected beers.

Steve Faget, district manager for beverage wholesaler Schamberger Brothers who's leading the event, said the plan is to give participants some background on the brews but not excessively so.

"I'm not going to dive too deep, just touch on a few basics," he said.

Spizzirri said the event's proximity to Valentine's Day inspired the love theme. Among the beers will be a double chocolate stout and the deep red Lindeman's Framboise. Having a knowledgeable beer ambassador on hand enriches the experience, she suggested.

"You have that person actually walking you through what you should pair it with and where it comes from," Spizzirri said.

Faget encouraged those who don't consider themselves beer fans to attend.

"People who say they don't like beer just haven't tried enough different kinds. This will give them a little more skill and understanding of what their taste buds like when it comes to different beer profiles," he said. "We'll have a little bit of everything."

Spizzirri said all of the beers showcased at the event will be available at the Hinsdale Wine Shop for those who want to add to their personal inventory. Additional drinks will be available for purchase.

She hopes the event also draws new Community House visitors.

"We are really trying to get people to think of us as not just a place to drop their kids. I wants that middle group of adults in the 30s and 40s," she said.

Spizzirri noted that if beer's not one's choice, stay tuned for the tequila and mescal tasting in May.

Registration for Love is Brewing is $28, $25 for Community House members. Visit http://www.thecommunityhouse.org or call (630) 323-7500.

Corks & Forks on the menu

Nine unique wine and six tapas-style courses will delight participants' senses at Corks & Forks from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at The Lodge at KLM Park, 5901 S. County Line Road.

Attendees also will learn the basics of wine and food pairing that apply at home from Hinsdale Wine Academy founder Lorenzo Munoz.

Hilary Poshek, recreation supervisor for the village, said the event has been held over the last few years and is always a festive atmosphere.

"It's a fun time in the community and a chance to get together with our with friends and try new wines and sample some yummy food," she said,

As of Monday, 50 of the 80 spots had been filled, so the time to sign up is now, Poshek urged.

"There will be nine tastings and six courses of food, starting with hors d'oeuvres as well as a teaching course with four small tastings," she explained.

Along with selecting the reds, whites and sparkling wines for the program, Munoz said he also chose the food pairings, which are being prepared by Maison Cuisine.

"I'm hoping that my love for food and wine will be contagious," Munoz said. "Once they understand it, they will appreciate it a little bit better."

He encouraged participants to bring their questions.

"I like when people are inquisitive," Munoz remarked. "It's the perfect set up for people to see how you can enjoy this together.

"I love to just watch people enjoy themselves and see the expressions on their face when things make sense," he added. "Seeing the people that are captivated by the story of wine is rewarding."

Posher has no doubt people will be enriched by the evening.

"They love Lorenzo, and he makes it fun," she said.

The registration deadline is Feb. 17, and people can register as a group (tables seat up to eight), a couple or individually.

Tickets are $125 per person, $935 for a table of 8. Visit http://www.villageofhinsdale.org/corks or call (630) 789-7090.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean