…And the fun in between- Barre & Soul, Portsmouth NH

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Barre & Soul Photo courtesy of Barre Soul

As a part of Blog & Tweet NH, I was invited to a VIP session at Barre & Soul, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire before they opened. Barre & Soul is a mind and body barre studio, with now three locations: Portsmouth (opened August 16, 2014), Melrose, MA and an affiliate in Lexington, MA (first classes began 2013).

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looks fairly easy- but its not! this move is the most difficult part of a sit up- and it works wonders! Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Barre & Soul was started by Andrea Isabelle Lucas. She had taken up barre classes while pregnant with her second child in 2006, and never thought she would have a bikini body again. A year later, she was in the best shape of her life- not just physically, but spirituality and mentally as well. Andrea didn’t begin barre with the thought of how great she would look, and was amazed with the results- one day, while getting in the shower, Andrea’s reflection caught her eye and she immediately had to try on one of her swim suits. In 2007, Andrea began to teach barre.

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Andrea Isabelle Lucas, photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Andrea’s background:
*Bachelor of Arts in Women Studies, Lesley University
*200 hour yoga teacher training completed at Prana Vayu Yoga with the founder David Magone
*studied the use of yoga in healing trauma in Haiti
*studied aerial yoga, performed in a circus and burlesque troupe
*former Mind Body Manager for exhale spa, where she led their 275 hour barre teacher training
*barre fitness resource for the lululemon athletica blog

*she has been through Hell and back again (read her story here)
What is barre?
Barre method class combines ballet conditioning, interval cardio, Pilates, yoga and meditation with the benefit of a strengthened core, lengthened muscles, total body toning flexibility and a better mind frame. Barre method is inspired by the Lotte Berk Method. Lotte Berk was a professional ballerina, who, after having a serious injury combined the orthopedic exercises with her dance training. This result is a safe, yet challenging workout. Barre can be made more challenging, and can also be modified around injury.
My visit:
I met Andrea, Lindsey (Portsmouth’s studio manager), Kristin, Liz and Crissy when I took my class. They are all instructors there, and carry other hats there and in life.

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Lindsey, Andrea, Michelle (Miss Portsmouth Area 2015), Kristin, Liz, Crissy

Andrea led my class, with the assistance of Kristin. Kristin assisted us with our form. Andrea mentioned at the beginning of the class that you may dislike her and the other instructors mid class, but would still be friends when all is done. Each instructor is hard on you during the class, so you work hard.

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window box!

The set up of the room was beautifully done- many windows to allow for natural light, plant boxes in the windows- full of succulents, and barres lining four walls. The desk where you check in fits in perfectly as well.

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sign at the desk

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inspirational message at the desk

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beautiful desk that greets you as you enter

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shoe holder

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shoe and bag holder don’t mind our stuff!)

Under the barres were mats- one for each class member with two set of hand weights, two blocks, a ball and a strap. All would be used during the workout.

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set up for two

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set up for two, head on

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The workout is relaxing, fun and challenging, It is designed for all levels and they take note of any old injuries people have at the beginning so they don’t push you too hard or adjust you.

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one of the rare photos from my class

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work it!

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can you bring both feet over at once? use your abs!

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the view from barre assisted abs

I don’t have too many photos from my workout, so you will have to take a class to experience it yourself!

My hour long class was one of the quickest hours ever. I was surprised when we were done. The workout was fast paced, so you don’t get bored, stop paying attention and also so your muscles don’t catch on!
I stayed and chatted with some of the other students and instructors for a bit after, and was able to see what a fun group they are.

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

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Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

Will I see you next time?

Class Schedule

interested in a two week trial? $25 unlimited for two weeks! Click here for that and their other programs!

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myself and fellow Blog & Tweet NH-er: Devan from The Daily Dev!

 

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Night Shift Brewing, Everett MA

IMG_1400Night Shift Brewing is located in Everett, MA. They have been an official brewery for 2.5 years, and they were obviously home brewing before that. This is a new location for them, they have only been there a few months. The previous space was the size of their new tasting room.

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one side of their barrel room

They do a lot of barrel aging with different barrels for the different styles of beer. Aging in the barrels gives the beer a different flavor. They reuse all of their yeast, recycling and remixing it so it is all the same. They still use the original recipe for one of their first beers, Trifecta. Their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, that’s what they use the brite tank for. They did 750 barrels last year, and they will significantly increase this year in the new space.

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signs as you enter the taproom

When we arrived, midday on a Saturday, it was a bit crowded (usually a good sign!), and a little loud, but lots of bartenders were on and we were served quickly. There was plenty of standing room and several different seating areas. It looked like a tour bus had arrived shortly before us. The tasting room reminded us of SoMe Brewing in ME, because it was designed as a place to come and hang out and drink some beers. There was matching décor, a big bar, tables, plenty of room, it was just a cool atmosphere to be in. It was more like a typical bar and not just a tasting room, which is what they were going for.  On the tables were giant bowls off pretzels- yum!

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bowl of pretzels on one of the picnic tables they have inside

 

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the fun lights they have

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wall of beers! aka whats on tap

Beers

They offer a variety of beers to be enjoyed as part of a flight, in a 4oz pour, or a 12oz pour. Some have a limited availability, and are available either only by the bottle or only on tap. Beers you can take home are available in a 32oz or 64oz growler or a 750ml bottle.

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our tasting

 

Whirlpool

Juicy pale ale, citrus flavor but not sour. Mark used the word tangy. Notes of ripe peach as well

 

Mud – Art Series #24

Session rye ipa, not super hoppy, decent flavor, pretty easy drinking.

Night Shift “Art” is a series of experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends that are thoughtful expressions of our current creative process. Some might become larger production batches, some will fade into the night. The goal is unique, artistic beer experimentation.

 

Viva Habanero

Nice after burn, intense at first but tames down quickly. They describe it:

Brewed with rye malts that bring their own natural spice, this invigorating cerveza gets its zesty kick and peppery flavor from habanero peppers that we add after fermentation. Agave nectar, produced in Mexico, helps to sweeten and lighten the body, while our Belgian house yeast strain tempers the beer’s fiery disposition.

 

Grove

Juicy/ fruity, good grapefruit flavor, not overpowering or sour, farmhouse saison

 

Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten8.9% – sparkling golden ale fermented in wine barrels with sauvignon blanc grape must and a blend of wild yeast strains

Our first thought was it was carbonated differently, reminded me of something but couldn’t quite figure out the sauvignon blanc flavor, but knew it was familiar.

 

When we were finishing our tasting,  they came around to all the tables to let us know there was a tour starting. We quickly finished our beers (don’t worry- we went back and had more later) and joined the tour…  

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view of the brewhouse

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tanks in the brewhouse

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empty kegs in the brewhouse, waiting to be filled

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box of Muselets used to help close the bottles

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bottling station

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bottles, bottles and more bottles

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growlers ready to be filled

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more beer being barrel aged

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the current brewery set up- another expansion soon!

 

Here is an excerpt from their website (this and more is gone over during the tour):

While refining our brewing skills, we also organized weekly beer tastings in an attempt to sample every style, brand, and region possible. As time progressed and palates developed, our appreciation for beers, both our own and on the market, began to shift. We realized that while the making of a truly great beer is by no means common or easy, it is possible.

As importantly, however, was our growing opinion that a beer’s greatness was often very closely linked to its memorability. The market seemed flooded with a collection of very similar beers in very typical beer styles.  When something unique AND great came along, we took notice, and we remembered it.

In our test kitchen, we applied these lessons learned. Because no one judged our beers but us, we experimented like mad scientists with unorthodox brewing ingredients, weird recipes and funky yeasts, attempting to create nearly every beer style imaginable. Years of testing and tweaking led to some especially horrible stuff, but also to some memorable, innovative, truly great beers. When everyone started demanding more Night Shift beer, we realized: brewing had become much more than a nighttime hobby.

The beers that we now offer to the Greater Boston community are the very best of all those years of fine-tuning – wholly unique brews with complex, interesting flavors. Everything is brewed, fermented, and bottled in-house at our Everett, MA microbrewery, where we spend most of our night AND day shifts. We continue to learn as we grow and brew more, and are loving the entire journey (even if it means very little sleep).

 

We would have to agree with them. After having visited over 65 breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the interesting beers are the ones that stand out. It’s even better when it is a little bit different, but really well done. Everyone now makes an IPA, and though some are better than others, eventually they all blend together. When you drink a Viva Habanero rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habanero peppers, that tends to stand out. This is a nice place, we would love it if they were closer to us so we could visit more often, and try out whatever new beers were on tap. It’s a cool place to go and hang out and have some good beers with friends, while supporting a local brewery. They also offer BYOF, bring you own food, they have lists of local places you can order from and large picnic tables inside to sit at.

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Mark enjoying a beer after the tour, in the barrel room

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Want to Visit?

The Night Shift Taproom is open 7 days a week (except for certain holidays). Regular open hours are:

  • Monday-Friday, 3-9pm
  • Saturday, 12-8pm
  • Sunday, 12-5pm
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outside! yayyy beer!