Boston Wine Expo 2015

If you follow Megan on instagram, you know we had a good time at this year’s Boston Wine Expo. Were you able to attend?

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We went to the expo for the Saturday Grand Tasting, and were able to spend time with some of our contest winners as well!

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Some photos from the day:

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Each ticket includes a collectible glass

We tried so many amazing wines. One of the great things about this event is that you can try such a great variety. Wines from all over the world are present, as well as all varieties. We were able to talk to those representing the vineyards more this year, and learned quite a bit about each wine.

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Chatom Vineyards, California. The owner of the vineyard was serving the wine, which was terrific. The knowledge she had was spectacular, and a good way to start our day.

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Anne Amie table- this Cuvee wine was delicious! This was a fun, and enjoyable summer wine.

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more from Anne Amie: Vin Doux & Vin Glace Dessert set. Comes as a pair. Vin Doux was like candy. It was pretty amazing. The Vin Glace was good as well, fortified with pinot noir brandy (almost made by them).

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we spent a fair amount of time at this table: Marisco Vineyards. The winery is located in Marlborough, New Zealand. The two guys at the table were fun and knowledgeable and walked us through the wines. They also knew were their wine was available locally, which is a plus if you are local.

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Thirsty Owl Wine Company, located in the Finger Lakes of New York. They offer a Pinot Noir Red, Diamond, Vidal Blanc, Dry Riesling and Snow Owl. Delicious!

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Standing Stone Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York

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Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York. Red Cat Wine is part of them, being “unpretentious and delicious.” We had a “cocktail” while at the table “Red Cat on the Beach.” This was Red Cat poured over ice, with a squeeze of fresh lime. We also enjoyed a piece of dark chocolate with the wine.

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Hazlitt is also home to hard cider!

 

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don’t you want one?

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barefoot

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meatballs!

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Mark and I with Kristen and David, two of our contest winners!

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chicken pot pie!

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Cucina Aurora Risotto! From Salem, New Hampshire and delicious!

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Yancey’s Fancy Cheese

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Milly’s Organic Salad Dressing- very good! Will be looking for it!

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MainleyHRT’s bottle tote. Great for traveling!

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More wine!IMG_1854 IMG_1855 IMG_1857 IMG_1859 IMG_1856 IMG_1858 IMG_1863 IMG_1867 IMG_1865 IMG_1866 IMG_1871 IMG_1876

 

Newport Storm Brewery and Thomas Tew Rum

Rhode Island has been added to the list of states we are visiting now. We recently went to a few places with Megan’s sister Samantha and her boyfriend Dustin. Our first visit was to the Son’s of Liberty Spirits Company. After we finished there, we went to our second stop- Newport Storm Brewery in Newport, RI. They are also the producer of Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum, which is available for tasting as well.

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When you enter, you decide which tasting you would like to do, and after paying, can hop over to the bar for a tasting. If you are lucky enough, there may be a tour starting (3pm, but see website and facebook for additional times). The tour is free. If you aren’t there during a tour time, and want to learn a bit about how the brewery started, you can go on a self-guided tour. Grab one of your tastes and head up the staircase!

Who is Newport Storm?
Four friends decided in college that they wanted to start a brewery, so they spent their college years studying science and ‘sampling’ plenty of the future competitions product. They opened their brewery in 1999 in a 2500 square foot facility in Middletown, RI. They released their first beer, Hurricane Amber Ale in July of 1999. In 2002 they expanded their space by an additional 1000 square feet. In 2006 they started Newport Distilling Company to create Thomas Tew Rum. In 2010 they built their brand new facility, where they currently operate out of, and increased their space to 8000 square feet. They have released over 30 different beers and continue to create new an innovative beers, and the same four friends continue to run the brewery.

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Megan, Mark, Dustin, and Sam at the brewery.

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what’s on draft?

For our tasting, we each were able to try four beers.
Our tasting:

Hurricane Amber Ale – 5.2%
Good amber, tasty, drinkable. Fairly typical for an amber. This was the original Newport Storm.

 

Winter Porter – 6.1%
Flavorful but very drinkable. It is described as a ‘rich, dark Porter style ale’ which is what we were thinking. Everyone liked this beer.

 

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Tasting Card

 

 

India Point Ale – 6.5%
Smells super hoppy, tastes pretty hoppy but well balanced. Megan said ‘not bad’.

 

R.I.P.umpkin – 6.7%
Good pumpkin beer, better than most. Good balance of pumpkin, beer, and spices. They used locally grow pumpkins and have about 3 pounds of pumpkin in each keg.

 

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Cyclone Yoko
Really good flavor, a dark ale with roasted coconut undertones. Good balance and flavor, we bought a few of these.

 

infRIngement
Strong, barrel aged flavor, heavy and dark. This was the product of years of test brewing, barrel aging a Russian Imperial Stout in the Thomas Tew rum barrels for 5 months.

 

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Personalized beer for Mark! Also, one of their past seasonal beers

 

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Growlers to fill.

 

 

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The only sell one type of rum, Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum. In order to make it into a real tasting ($9), they have you try the rum in 3 different stages.

 

Thomas Tew white raw rum is the unadulterated spirit right off the still and proofed to a typical bottle strength. This is not barrel aged, tastes a little harsh with not much flavor.

 

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Thomas Tew Cask Strength Rum is the unproofed rum from right out of the barrel. It is aged for 2 years and is a strong or harsh tasting coming in  at 108 proof.

 

Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum is the distillery’s signature spirit. This has a much better, full flavored rum that is smooth to sip. This comes in at 84 proof.

 

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Plenty of shirts for sale

 

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Some look like this.

 

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Fun soap, made from their beer!

 

Want to visit?

Tours and Tastings…
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday: open 12-5pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: open 12-6pm

Want to try their beer… for free? Look on their Facebook page for Fridays@Six!

Boston Wine Expo, February 14-15 2015!

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We recently went to a “sneak peek” of the 2015 Boston Wine Expo.
Delicious and worth the trip to Boston.

***

With the upcoming event, we wanted to share some of the awesome vendors and wineries that will be at the Boston Wine Expo 2015 AND…

OFFER YOU a PAIR of TICKETS to this years event! More on that later…

***

The Boston Wine Expo will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center, on Valentine’s weekend (February 14 & 15, 2015). Last year’s event was fantastic- we tried wine we wouldn’t of otherwise, and learned about wine as well as cheese and Italian beer. This year, w expect nothing short of excellent.

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view of the Seaport World Trade Center

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what was available for our preview event

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what was available for our preview event

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delectable food- I wonder what there will be at this year’s event!

Some of the many featured wines

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the lady bug is a natural predator that feeds on insects harmful to plants.
the wine has flavors of black cherries and raspberries, with aromas of spice and espresso

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90+ Cellars, a favorite from last year

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90+ cellars

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We hardly ever say this, but we liked all three of these red wines. They all had a different place for enjoyment

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Megan’s favorite of the three

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Our tips from last year:

IF you go…
Go with a goal… maybe to try a particular country. At previous wine events, I have focused on a particular type of wine, however trying by country is easier with the layout here.
Try a wine you’ve never heard of
Don’t say that you don’t like a particular type of wine- you might just not like the way that winery makes it. Try it somewhere else.
Stay hydrated”

Are you going? Have you gone before? What are you looking forward to? Comment to let us know!

But wait! We have two pairs of tickets to giveaway!! Enter here!


Please note, you must be available the weekend of February 14/15 2015. Winners will be notified Jan. 23. Winner must respond within 24 hours, or another name will be pulled.
For Facebook and Twitter entries, you must like, tweet, follow, etc as it states, or your entry will not be qualified.

Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide, Boston MA

We were lucky to go to Boston Event Guide’s Fall Beer Fest in November. They had three sessions; we went to the 12:00-2:30pm session.
We also had two pairs of tickets to give out to our readers- thank you to everyone that entered!
We hope that those of you that went had a great time!

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The Boston Event Guide prides themselves for being the leading resource for the best events in Boston. It was started in 1995 by Jeff Popkin to connect young professionals with events occuring across the city. He had been hearing about events AFTER they happened, instead of knowing first hand that they were happening. The Boston Event Guide also sends out a weekly newsletter to it’s members (membership is FREE) about what’s going on, what social events and netowkring events are approaching, and any great deals.

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The Fall Beer Fest was held at Cyclorama. The building was easy to find, however parking was not. Next time, we will definitely take the T in (the Boston area train).

When we arrived, we had our IDs checked outside, and then proceeded in.
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After checking in, we each took a cup to use for the day, and were given a map of where we could find the beer.

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map for the afternoon

 

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Cyclorama’s fun ceiling

Some of the many breweries present, and the beer we enjoyed…

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Foolproof Brewing Company
Foolproof Brewing Company opened 2 years ago in Pawtucket, RhodeIsland.
Farmhouse Ale Saison was very good
Backyahd IPA was pretty standard but tasty
Raincloud was a robust porter, good, chocolate and coffee notes
We recently added Rhode Island to our travels, so we will be visiting Foolproof sometime in the future
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Finch’s Beer Company
Finch’s is located in Chicago, Illinois. They are beginning to expand into the Massachusetts and New England market.
We had the Hardcore Chimera (double IPA) and Cut Throat (Pale Ale). Both these beers were really good.
Keep your eye out for these beers, and others by Finch’s Beer Company.

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Strange Brew
Strange Brew is currently a beer and wine home brew supply store, that also offers classes. Rumor has it, they should be opening as a brewery sometime soon…
They had a lot of interesting beer flavors:
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Granny Strange was a sour and/or tart cider. Good but very different flavor.

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Sour Power, as they label it, is an extremely sour ale. A very interesting, very sour and tasty ale.

 

Downeast Cider
Very good traditional cider taste- as Megan says “it’s like getting a jug of cider, but it is alcoholic.”
We have had many family mebers and friends try this cider- and no one has disliked it. In fact, it it now the favorite of many!
We just visited here, look for our post coming soon.

 

 

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Spiked Seltzer
This was a different take on beer. They brew it like a lager, but it drinks like flavored seltzer, despite being 6% alcohol! Spiked Seltzer is all natural and has low sugar, low carbs and is gluten free. They had lime, orange, and grapefruit flavors available to try.

All the flavors were pretty good, grapefruit was subtle and the orange tasted like orange soda. Megan can’t wait until they are all over New England, so she can pick up a six pack! Want to see if they are available near you? Check here

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Redhook and Kona
They were both there. We tried the Winter Hook because we’ve had their other beers plenty of times. The Winter Hook is a super hoppy ale with dark malts.

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Goose Island
We tried their IPA and Festivity Ale.
There’s no doubt they are a craft beer maker, but now they are owned by Inbev, owner of Anheuser-Busch. They like it, they can get what they need when they need it, they have the support of a company that has some pull.

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Blue Point Brewing Company
Our options were their toasted lager (which is their flagship beer), and a pumpkin ale, which was good- not overly spiced so you could taste the pumpkin

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Off Shore Ale Company
One of the many breweries in Massachusetts that we haven’t been able to visit yet- this one is on Martha’s Vineyard.
They had their Beach Road Nut Brown Ale and Hop Goddess.

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Uinta

All of the beers we tried here were good. They had their Black Lager, Yard Sale, Double IPA, and Session IPA. Our only fault with them? We would have to go to Salt Lake City to visit!
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Cape Ann Brewing Company
They brought a fair selection. We both liked the Fisherman’s Brew, but the Pilsner we did not like that much.
If you are interested in visiting Cape Ann Brewery in Gloucester, check out our post about our visit there.

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Ballantine
They just relaunched the brewery after being closed for 10 years. They have been around for a long time, in the 40’s and 50’s the were sponsoring the Yankee’s, they were the 4th largest brewery back then. Now the only beer they make is the Ballantine IPA which was a pretty good, fairly standard IPA.

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They were giving out free waters, which was great- always a good idea to hydrate during and after drinking! This water has a pH level of 9.5, to help keep you hydrated

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We thought the beer fest was good, and different in a good way. The event space fit it well- and allowed for you to walk around without bumping into others. We also liked that we had the opportunity to speak with the brewery representatives at many of the tables. Many tastings/festivals you want to ask questions, but really aren’t allowed to because the focus is to push everyone through the line. Here, the focus was fun and education when wanted.

Interested in going to one of these events, or something else by the Boston Event Guide? Be sure to sign up for their newsletter list to stay updated!

Ready to go drinking? Their Spring Craft Beer Fest 2015 is right around the corner- April 12th.
Tickets are $69. but you can buy them for $19 through December 31st! It looks like an event you can’t miss!

While at the beer fest, we ran into a few co-workers of Megan. They had taken a bus to the event, which was such a great idea!
Group photo, post beer fest!

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…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!

 

Boston Wine Expo: the Expo

IMG_2698After we attended the Love Brews for Cheeses of the Veneto session on Saturday, we went to the main part of the Expo. We went both days, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, we drove back to my parent’s house in a snowstorm (it might have been a blizzard), whereas Sunday was beautiful, but cold. Sunday we were joined by Bre and Deryl.
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We had our passes, and were ready to try some wine!

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Wines that Stood Out..

Fizz 56:  a Terlato wine. A sparkling red wine. Fruity, fizzy with a really great sweet flavor

**Just about all of the wines from the Finger Lakes region!** including:
Dr. Frank Riesling, Semi Dry 2012: Nose of orange blossom and pear. Flavors of mandarin oranges, apples and peach.
Dr. Frank Grüner Veltliner, 2011:  Floral and melon flavors
Wagner Vineyards:  all of their Rieslings were fantastic, BUT, their ice wine was amazing!

IMG_0433Roscato: When I saw this wine, I knew I had to try it- my cousin Steve had told me about it Christmas Eve 2012. This was a sweet, red wine with a fizz. It is made from Croatina, Teroldego and Lagrein grapes.  It was really good, and a great recommendation from him!

IMG_0470 100_1387Caress: By Moonlight Meadery- the only New England winery there! Honey and raspberries- mmmm!

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Pacific Rim: specializes only in Rieslings. Their Riesling and their Sweet Riesling were really good, and were also our friend Bre’s first wine that she liked there.

IMG_1934 IMG_8815Mark, Megan, Bre and Deryl at the Troublemaker RV
IMG_0461Troublemaker: A Hope Family Wine. Red blend, created in a multi-vintage approach.
They keg their wine- find that it is better for longevity, especially in bars and restaurants. They covered a fairly large section of the expo floor, as they had a full RV!

IMG_0441All of these wines from 90+ Cellars. Chardonnay, Riesling, Moscato and Prosecco. Not only were the wines great but my Dad and Ocean Works created their amazing tables! IMG_8162 IMG_7619

IMG_2655 this wine is not yet available in the US- but when it is, try it! Really great Moscato
IMG_8952A sweet red wine
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Dylan’s Ghost– tried “Hell Hollow” and “The Beast,” both excellent reds. This was one of the wineries we had heard about from others on twitter!

Other thoughts:

Pasta chips are amazing! They are made with semolina flour and Italian herbs, and are almost a cross between a cracker and a chip.IMG_0465
Celebrity Cruise Lines: had an inventive way of getting people over to their table: make your own spice tins! 100_1413
We bounced around at times throughout the weekend, going to tables that were less crowded. On Sunday, we went with people that didn’t know too much about wine, and being at the less crowded tables helped so we could ask more questions. It is always interesting to try wine with people who are new to wine or expanding their pallets.

What truly stood out, were the wineries that tell you about their wine and what makes it special. The wineries from the Finger Lakes were the best about this. The amount of information varied, depending quite often on the role that person played to the winery. Some could answer questions that you had about the wine, while others couldn’t. Those that couldn’t  often worked for the distributors. We appreciated those that were upfront with us; one told us that he was new to it, and was looking to learn all that he could. Those we didn’t appreciate were the ones that just picked up another bottle to pour when they were asked a question. This was at no fault to the organizers of the Wine Expo, but not a good face for the particular wineries. We also appreciated the tables that were area wine commissions- one person who represented 3-4 different wineries but understood each one.

One of the best things was looking at the twitter feed about the Boston Wine Expo after (#bwe2014). We tweeted with others, and asked what their highlights were on Saturday, so we could look for those the following day. It was great to learn about different wines and products through social media.

We’ve gone to other wine tastings that have you tag wines as you try them for immediate purchase… We would love to see states from places that do that to see how it impacts wine sales. Some of the wines we tried are harder to find, and it would be great to have them easily accessible! Luckily, most are available at our liquor and wine stores.

On day two, we visited more of the vendor tables (not wine). We saw wine accessories, wine racks… We felt that if those tables were giving out something, like the Hold A Plate table, who demonstrated their innovative cocktail plate by serving meatballs (that were delicious!) that people would be more apt to stop by and learn about your products.


IMG_6450  IMG_8369   IMG_4195  IMG_1547  IMG_2102  IMG_0439 100_1390 100_1399IF you go next year…

Go with a goal… maybe to try a particular country. At previous wine events, I have focused on a particular type of wine, however trying by country is easier with the layout here.
Try a wine you’ve never heard of
Don’t say that you don’t like a particular type of wine- you might just not like the way that winery makes it. Try it somewhere else.
Stay hydrated100_1368
Eat! There are many food samples throughout- bread (as pictured above), Pasta Chips, Brownie Brittle, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo to name a few… but don’t wait until the end of the day- some food tables stopped serving around 4pm on Sunday (event ended at 5). 100_1366100_1365Estelle’s Traditional Andoullie Sausage & Smoked Chicken Gumbo

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It is VERY easy to stay for the whole time- so much to see, so much to do! Even after two days!

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And the Fun In Between… Aerial Yoga at Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take an Aerial Yoga class with Blog & Tweet NH. Our Aerial Yoga class was at Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition, located in Sandown, NH. Our trainer was Karlene Murphy. Karlene has a vast expertise- she is certified as a Fitness Trainer, Yoga Instructor, Pilates Instructor, Nutrition Specialist and Wellness Coach. She also has her black belt in Martial Arts. She started by showing us a bit of what can be done…

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Kickstart Fitness and Nutrition currently has two yoga swings, so we went two at a time. With me was Kristen, of Good ‘N Good For Ya. Karlene started by asking us what types of workouts we did, so she would understand us better while we were learning Aerial Yoga. Now, this is the first time I’ve done yoga in an organized fashion (aka not on my Wii Fit), so I can’t recall what we did by name- but we have plenty of pictures to share (special thanks to Marlana, Candra and Amber for helping with that!).

1617176_197233723819219_572802105_o 1658357_197233783819213_623094873_o 1921246_197233637152561_1871612195_o  1962127_197233853819206_606684102_o 1973546_197233937152531_141961427_o“jump into the swing, just like you are a kid again”

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 to end our session, we were encouraged to swing 🙂

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After our session, Karlene shared her Yogurt Protein Energy Balls with us- so good- you almost didn’t know they were good for you!

This class was a lot of fun, and something different. Different parts of my muscles ached the next two days- in that good, I worked hard way. Any stretch you can do, any yoga position, you can do better and deeper.

Prior to taking this class, I had heard about Aerial Yoga being great for people with back issues, and let me tell you, it certainly stretched me out well! If you take a class with Karlene, tell her about your life- she showed me stretches to do based on the fact that I sit in a cube for 40 hours a week.

I enjoyed it so much, I bought a yoga swing and have a time set up to learn more!

Interested in setting up a time with Karlene?
Shop-workshops-classes-coaching sessions- Ebooks
Visit her Blog
Like her on Facebook

Boston Wine Expo: LOVE BREWS FOR CHEESES OF THE VENETO

100_1432A few days before the Boston Wine Expo, we received an email that we could enter to win two tickets for one of the sessions at the Boston Wine Expo. The sessions that were part of this were:

LOVE BREWS FOR CHEESES OF THE VENETO

and

TUSCAN TABLE

We responded that we were interested, and were the bloggers chosen to attend LOVE BREWS FOR CHEESES OF THE VENETO, which we would actually attend before the wine expo.

LOVE BREWS FOR CHEESES OF THE VENETO was held on Saturday, February 15th at 12:00pm. Tickets were $25pp. The event’s description:

“Join epicurean and beloved Italian Cheese Guru Lou Di Palo for a whirlwind tour of the Veneto’s fabulous DOP cheeses and fall in Love Italian Style – this Valentine’s Day Weekend!

Sample Piave, Asiago and Grana Padano cheeses paired with a premium selection of Italian Artisanal Beers from Tenute Collesi. Taste along while Lou explains how to effortlessly pair Italian Cheese and Artisanal Cheese.

And to complete this simply divine experience, special guest chef Stefano Palermo of Risotteria Melotti will stir up a traditional Risotto dish from the region!

Leave with hands on cheese tasting, artisanal beer pairing experience, a go- to risotto recipe and a treasure trove of helpful hints that will make entertaining friends and family a breeze in both formal and informal settings.”

On the day of the event, we took the T in, which is one of the easiest ways to get into the Seaport World Trade Center, where the Boston Wine Expo was being held. The Trade Center is right on the Silver Line, and easy to get to. 

IMG_0428 Having never attended the Boston Wine Expo, or one of their sessions, we were not quite sure what to expect. We arrived early, checked in for our passes, and then went upstairs to where the sessions were being held. You could purchase tickets before entering the sessions, if there was room remaining, or have your tickets on hand. Our tickets were through EventBrite, so we were able to store them on my phone- which made things easier (less to lose on the way in!). We went to the Session area about 15-20 minutes before it began. 100_1326Some sessions were letting people in as they arrived, ours wasn’t until it was time. When the session was about ready to begin, they let us enter the room. 100_1329There were 5 rows of tables, split into 5 people on each side. Each seat had a setup of: 3 wine glasses, a plate of cheese, mustard and cherries, a booklet and pen as well as a fork, napkin and water glass. IMG_0429 100_1328  100_1327

The session began with an introduction from Antonio Lucarelli, the Deputy Trade Commissioner of the Food and Wine section, from New York. He informed us that the session would be the on the study of the region of Veneto, which is most famous for Prosecco. He then introduced Lou Di Palo, who would be running the show for the remainder of the session. Lou is from an Italian family, and is the fourth generation of his family to run DiPalo Selects in Little Italy, New York.100_1342

Lou told us a bit of history of Italy, of Italy as we know it and Italy before it was Italy. Italy as we know it is very young, formed only in the 1860s. We heard about the Dolomite Mountains in Venice; how the mountains are beautiful and change colors throughout the course of a day. From brown, to white, like snowcaps, to the color of roses. The richness of the fertile grounds in that area, with the combination of the free grazing cows, resulted in great cheese.
We learned the stories of the individual cheeses. In the Poe River Area, the “bread basket of Italy,” land was wasted due to being controlled by Barbarians. About 1,000 years ago, monks reclaimed the land and used cows to revive the land from swamp to usable. This resulted in too much milk, so they made it into cheese. They cut cheese curds into rice grains, packed it down into a form, and added sea salt. Sea salt is the “secret ingredient” many Italian cheese makers use which helps it to stand the test of time.
The stories Lou told us weren’t told in a lecture way, but instead in a way that brought you in. Although Mark and I haven’t ever thought about traveling to Italy, it made us think about it.

Our tasting:100_1335

Artisanal Beers were from Tenute Collesi. The technique of the beer is the ancient way made by monks. The beers are unpasteurized, and naturally fermented.

Chiara: light, bubbily, honey100_1336
paired with

  • Asiago Pressato Dop: fresh, soft, nice buttery milk flavor. Made with only whole milk.
  • Asiago D’Allevo Oro Del Tempo Dop: aged, made with whole and skim milk. Almost had a nuttier flavor. We felt this one paired better with the beer.

Bionda: smells similar to a pale ale, with a coriander type note. Fruity in flavor.

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paired with

  • Plave Stravecchio Oro Del Tempo Dop: nutty, smooth. Aged 12+ months. From the most modern cheese factory in Italy- the cheese maker is a computer! All cheese is made in a small wheel, coming from area farms. There are about 500-600 farmers involved, using brown and grey cows. This was one of Megan’s favorites.

Rossa: nutty. Megan enjoyed this beer with the Black Cherry and Cheese combo best.100_1345

  • Grana Padano Stravecchio Oro Del Tempo Dop: grainy- from the separation of fat and protein. Tried this with a Black Cherry as well, which made it almost dessert like! Wow!100_1350

We also tried a fruit mustard, from Lazzaris. Mark enjoyed it, however, Megan was not a huge fan.

We loved the tasting! The cheese was amazing, and it was great to try Italian beers. The beers reminded us of sparkling wine in some ways. The only thing we would have changed about the tasting, is that sometimes we were uncertain about which cheese was next. We knew the name of it, but not which one it was on our plate. We did our best to guess, and think we did pretty well. We also weren’t sure if we could eat all of each cheese, or if we were going back to any later to try with a different beer. We loved how the session was presented as well.

The last part of the tasting was an absolute treat! Chef Stefano Palermo of Risotteria Melotti, in New York City, made us a delicious Risotto- which we were given the recipe for. “Amarone Risotto in Grana Padano Cups.” Ours was served with a Padano chip instead of in a cup.
This was delicious and I can’t wait to make it myself! Here is the recipe, courtesy of Agriform, if you are also intrigued…

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Amarone Risotto in Grana Padano Cups, serves 4
1c Amarone della Valpolicella wine
1 ½ c Melott Vialone Nano Veronese Rice
5 c beef stock
2 tbsp butter
3oz Agriform Grana Padano DOP cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for decoration

  • For the Grana Padano: Heat a small, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle 2 tbso of the cheese into a 4in circle in the middle of the skillet. Cook until the circle starts to hold together as you lift it off the pan and the bottom is starting to brown, about 1 minute. Flip, and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Transfer to an upside down cup and press down to give the desired shape. Repeat 4 times.
  • For the Risotto:
    • In two separate pans, bring wine and stock to a simmer, then keep both warm over low heat
    • In a third pot, melt 1 tbsp butter, then add rice and cook, stirring to coat with the butte, about 2 minutes.
    • Add wine and cook, stirring continuously for about 30 seconds until wine is almost completely absorbed. Add a ladleful of stick at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until almost all of the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking and adding stick until rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 25 minutes
    • Remove pot from heat and vigorously stir in remaining butter and Grana Padano DOP cheese.
    • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place cheese cups on four plates. Divide Risotto evenly between the four plates, filling cups and garnishing with parsley.

			

Boston Wine Expo 2014: February 15-16

Boston Wine Expo 2014, February 15-16, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, USA

We will be attending the Boston Wine Expo 2014 as Blog Ambassadors this year. We are very excited for the expo. The expo features wine from around the world. We will have the opportunity to try wines from: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and the US.

The wine expo is a time for tasting and for learning. They are offering many seminars throughout the weekend. Some to highlight:
‘The One Hour Wine Expert’ with Kevin Zraly. 2/15 & 2/16. 11:30a-12:30p. $35.
Kevin approaches teaching wine in a fun and approachable manner, without the “wine-snob” mentality. Kevin explains what terms like tannin and oak mean, and how to pair wine with your food.

Oregon Cool Whites, 2/15, 2:30-3:30. $30
The cool climate, and what makes Oregon wines great will be discussed. Pinot gris, Chardonnanny, Riesling and other white wines will be tasted.

Scotch 101, 2/15, 4:00-5:00p. $35
A tasting and learning course. You will learn what makes Scotch be Scotch. Differences of each region will be explored.

Wine Spectator Presents… World-Wide Wine Adventure, 2/16, 3:30-4:30p, $30
“Stopping” at 5 continents, you will learn about world-famous classics and “local heros.”

Rum 101, 2/16, 4:00-5:00p, $25
Rum dates back to 300 B.C. Different traditions of making rum throughout the world will be broken down through tasting.

We are looking forward to trying some different wines, learning, and enjoying different foods. Any interest in going?  Use code “SOCIAL” (without quotes) to get 10% off tickets for either the Saturday or Sunday Grand Tasting. Buy tickets here!

Prefer to try to win your way in? We will be giving away one pair of tickets to the Sunday tasting. We will announce the winner on February 1st! Your tickets will be available at “Will Call.” Good luck!

Click here to WIN!

Powder Keg Beer and Chili Festival, Exeter NH

100_0876This weekend, Mark and I went to the Powder Keg Beer and Chili Festival, located in Exeter NH. Outside the festival, was a small fall festival with a lot of children’s activities. It was nice to walk through to get to the Powder Keg.  Before entering the Powder Keg, we had our IDs checked, and received an “over 21” wristband. We were also given a map and list of what breweries were there. We then had our tickets ripped and entered. We were told to hang on to our tickets so we could come and go as we pleased. After we walked through the gate, we realized that we hadn’t been given glasses or tickets and realized the table to pick them up was to our right. We both received our glasses from a volunteer and started to walk away. We hadn’t walked too far when I realized my glass didn’t have tickets in it, but Mark’s did. I went back to the table, and at first they were uncertain what to do, but trusted that I was not given tickets and I received them. Thank goodness! We received 8 beer tickets and 5 food/chili tickets to start with; more were available for purchase.

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The beer notes will not be very detailed, as most are places we will go to or have gone to already.

The beers we tried:

Angry Orchard, Boston Beer Company

  • Cinnful- Good flavor, 1st sip reminded me of redhots. Tart apples and cinnamon, good combo

Tuckerman Brewing Company, Conway NH

  • ALTitude- a double bock. Mark thought it was “pretty good.” I agreed

Sixpoint Brewery, New York100_0878 100_0877

  • Sweet Action- A hopy cream ale.  Mark tried and enjoyed!
  • The Crisp- I tried, good!

Great Rhythm Brewing Company, Portsmouth

  • We were in line to try their beer, but noticed that they only had a pale ale (which I am not a huge fan of the style typically)

North Coast Brewing Company, Ft Bragg California

  • Le Merle- a Saison Belgian style Farmhouse Ale. Really good! Would be a drink I could have if I was going to sit back and enjoy one.
  • Pranqster- Belgian style unfiltered golden ale. Mark enjoyed

Prodigal Brewery, Effingham NH

  • Effinghamburgherbrau- a German lager. Mark liked, said it was very smooth. I didn’t like it- 1st sip nope! 2nd sip- not cold enough.

Berkshire Brewing Company,  South Deefield MA

  • Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, a good light (Mark had)
  • Drayman’s Porter, yum good porter! Nice coffee notes.

Woodchuck

  • Woodchuck Pumpkin- not amazing, but definitely drinkable. Started to really enjoy it ½ way through
  • Woodchuck Dry Hop Cellar Series- hops infused cider. Tastes like a beer-cider combo. Not bad.
  • ******Woodchuck’s tasting room is scheduled to open in May!!!!

Earth Eagle Brewings

  • Puca- curry, pumpkin porter. Nice flavor. Curry adds something different to it. Mark said it was a heavier pumpkin than we are used to- really good, a different flavor.
  • We were able to catch up with Butch, one of the brewers while we were there

Lagunitas, California

  • Little sumpin sumpin- Mark had, thought it would be more like a pale ale but it was more like an IPA

603 Brewery, Campton (soon to be Londonderry)

  • 18 Mile Ale- a rye. good balanced beer
  • 19th State- a red IPA.  Mark tried. When I asked him how it was, he said “I don’t know. Gone?!”

Woodstock Inn Brewery, North Woodstock, NH

  • Autumn Ale- Really really good! Different, nice spices. Mark said it reminded him of an Oktoberfest, only because he has nothing else to compare it to.

Uinta Brewing, Utah

  • Pumk’n Harvest- typical pumpkin beer

 

The Chili we tried:

The Meat House, Exeter NH100_0879

  • Good amount of meat, not too spicy but a nice after spice. Mark- not anything crazy, a classic chili. Well balanced

Fast Eddies, Hampton NH

  • Good amount of meat. Good flavor, but either too watery or too oily, hard to tell

Stone Church, Newmarket NH100_0882

  • Good! Best so far! They add chips to the cup. Chili is a regular menu item. Option to add cheese, sour cream and other options. Spicy!

Tuckaway Tavern, Raymond NH100_0886

  • Topped with smoked cheddar. Nice smoked, almost BBQ flavor. It had a wicked spice to it, more of an after burn. After burn was ok because it meant they didn’t just add hot sauce to it, but a little too spicy for me! Needed some chips to eat it with or more cheese. Mark said it seemed almost pureed, it wasn’t chunky like many others. Most flavorful. If it was slightly less spicy it would be the best one yet!

WHYM, Portsmouth, NH 100_0891 100_0890

  • Hatch Green Chili- more of a stew. Made in a traditional New Mexico style, with chili’s directly from New Mexico. Even had potatoes in it! Same type of spices, but different style. Really good!

On the Vine Marketplace, Exeter NH100_0892

  • Mark tried, he enjoyed it. Good consistency. Good be a bit spicier, but it was also at the end of the day

McKinnon’s making their chili (Portsmouth)

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By 3pm, at least two of the vendors were out of chili. At least 2 vendors were out of beer. At 3:20, almost all of the vendors were out of chili. Point? Come early! It is a short day, only from 12-4, but you need to arrive early to enjoy all of the chili.

This is an event to go to. Just plan on eating your chili early!

 

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