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?

IMG_1813

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

IMG_1815 IMG_1816

Some photos from the day:

IMG_1817

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.

IMG_1819

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.

IMG_1820

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

IMG_1823

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).

IMG_1826

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.

IMG_1827

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!

IMG_1829

Standing Stone Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York

IMG_1825 IMG_1828

 

IMG_1832

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.

IMG_1830

Hazlitt is also home to hard cider!

 

IMG_1831

don’t you want one?

IMG_1836

barefoot

IMG_1849

meatballs!

IMG_1862

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

IMG_1847

chicken pot pie!

IMG_1846

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

IMG_1842

Yancey’s Fancy Cheese

IMG_1841

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

IMG_1840

MainleyHRT’s bottle tote. Great for traveling!

IMG_1839 IMG_1838 IMG_1848

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

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_3472

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.

IMG_3448

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

IMG_3397

 

IMG_3399

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.

 

IMG_3405

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.

 

IMG_3408

 

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.

 

IMG_3462
Personalized beer for Mark! Also, one of their past seasonal beers

 

IMG_3458

Growlers to fill.

 

 

IMG_3470

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.

 

IMG_3401

 

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.

 

IMG_3445

Plenty of shirts for sale

 

IMG_3456

Some look like this.

 

IMG_3453

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!

logo_bwe15

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.

IMG_3580

view of the Seaport World Trade Center

IMG_3581

what was available for our preview event

IMG_3582

what was available for our preview event

IMG_3584

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

Some of the many featured wines

IMG_3585

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

IMG_3587

90+ Cellars, a favorite from last year

IMG_3588

90+ cellars

IMG_3591

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

IMG_3592

Megan’s favorite of the three

IMG_3600

IMG_3603

IMG_3605

IMG_3607

IMG_3614

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!

FullSizeRender

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.

 IMG_0247
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.
IMG_0292
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.

IMG_0213

map for the afternoon

 

IMG_0467
Cyclorama’s fun ceiling

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

IMG_0197
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
IMG_0355

 

 

IMG_0475
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.

IMG_0489

 IMG_0260
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:
IMG_0185
Granny Strange was a sour and/or tart cider. Good but very different flavor.

IMG_0151
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.

 

 

IMG_0188
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

IMG_0463
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.

IMG_0407
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.

IMG_0383
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

IMG_0296
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.

IMG_0216
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!
IMG_0328

IMG_0476
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.

IMG_0259
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.

IMG_0313
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

IMG_0173

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!

IMG_0578-0.JPG

Fall Beer Fest, Boston Ma- ticket giveaway!

Hey there! We are lucky enough to be going to the Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide  next Sunday, November 9th.

It looks to be a pretty great event- check out who will be there:

Blue Point Brewing Company

Goose Island

Cape Ann Brewing Co

Red Hook

Omission

Kona Brewing Co

14th Star Brewing Co

Samuel Adams

Angry Orchard

Far From the Tree (hard cider)

Ballantine Pale Ale

Fool Proof Brewing Company

Strange Brew

Downeast CIder

Uinta Brewing

The Boston Event Guide hosts events for young professionals, in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Want to go to the Fall Beer Fest next Sunday? Tickets are limited, but we were able to get you $30 off full price tickets for each session (12-2:30, 3:30-6, 7-10 SIN), using code: FBF14

Want to go to the 12:00p session— for free?! We are giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets! Enter here!

Winners will be emailed Thursday morning.

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

barresoul-362
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).

barresoul-8

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.

barresoul-620-Edit

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.

IMG_2209

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.

IMG_2204

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.

IMG_2208

sign at the desk

IMG_2205

inspirational message at the desk

IMG_2191

beautiful desk that greets you as you enter

IMG_2193

shoe holder

IMG_2192

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.

IMG_2194

set up for two

IMG_2195

set up for two, head on

IMG_2197 IMG_2196
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.

IMG_2198

one of the rare photos from my class

IMG_2199

IMG_2201

work it!

IMG_2202

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

IMG_2203

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.

barresoul-196

Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul 

 

 

barresoul-141

Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

barresoul-124

Photo courtesy of Barre & Soul

 

barresoul-17

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!

IMG_2206

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.
IMG_0447 100_1393
IMG_0451

We had our passes, and were ready to try some wine!

IMG_0432

IMG_0443

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!

100_1407

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
IMG_2465sweet and summer likeIMG_2187

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

IMG_0478

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

IMG_7654  IMG_0193  IMG_4216