Irish chili? April 22 concert, whiskey tasting benefits Chilimania

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Greg Little
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

EDGERTON—Jason Stubbs wasn't off the plane for five minutes in Chicago before he was talking about whiskey and chili.

As co-owner of Barr An Uisce Irish whiskey, Stubbs' interest in the spirit is understandable. He flew eight hours for a tasting event Friday in the Windy City.

But by pleasant circumstance he also will be in Edgerton on Saturday for a special Chilimania fundraiser at Lounge 1848, 112 W. Fulton St.

Edgerton is familiar territory for the native Irishman. Stubbs lived in the city for two years, and it was there he met one of his best friends—local dentist and Chilimania founder Tom Reitz.

“I met Tom in 1989,” Stubbs said. “I had a pain in my tooth when I lived there, and he looked at it for me. We've been best friends ever since.”

Stubbs, who also is a talented musician, performed at the first-ever Chilimania in 1989. He has since become a regular and will be back on stage at this year's 28th annual event Sept. 8-9.

This Saturday, Stubbs will perform a two-hour set sandwiched by two whiskey tastings at Lounge 1848. Information on this year's Chilimania also will be presented.

“We'll have a whiskey tasting, I'll do a gig, we'll talk about Chilimania and then we'll have more whiskey,” he said. “We'll do the old Irish thing.”

There will be no cover charge for Saturday's event.

“I'm providing the whiskey for tastings,” Stubbs said. “We'll have free tasters for people and they will be available until the samples run out. After that, people can order their own drinks.

“I understand Lounge 1848 has used our whiskey to come up with some great signature cocktails.”

Barr An Uisce, which translates in English to “above the water,” began shipping to the U.S. just last year and now is in 13 states and 10 countries worldwide, Stubbs said. The brand comes in two varieties, Wicklow Rare and 1803 Single Malt—the latter of which recently was named Best Irish Whiskey by the New York Times.

Stubbs said his company's produce is unique in that it is the only Irish whiskey cut with family well water. The natural minerals in that water, which comes from County Wicklow on Ireland's southeastern coast, account for the brand's unique taste, he said.

Chilimania is held the weekend after Labor Day each September in Edgerton. It is home to the Wisconsin State Championship CASI-sanctioned chili cook-off, a traditional chili cook-off, a salsa contest, public chili tasting, a best Bloody Mary competition, a 5k fun run and walk and live music.

Proceeds from the event help fund annual scholarships to graduating Edgerton High School students and donations to other community organizations and projects.

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