Wine Expo this weekend- are you going?!

We can’t wait to go to the Boston Wine Expo this weekend. We hope our winners enjoy themselves as well 🙂

Want to know more? Click here for our past experiences:

Press release from the Boston Wine Expo:

“The Boston Wine Expo’s “Grand Tasting”
Select wines and exhibitors join the
25th annual celebration of wine, food and culture

BOSTON, MA – Presented by Boston Guild of Oenophilists, the 25th annual Boston Wine Expo at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, hosted over President’s Day weekend (February 13 and 14), is announcing a sneak peek at some of the most popular wineries and restaurants which will be featured at this year’s Grand Tasting event.

The silver anniversary Grand Tasting gives guests a global adventure in a glass. Whether your palate prefers a full-bodied Pinot Noir, buttery Chardonnay, an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon or a dry Pinot Grigio, the 2016 Boston Wine Expo will bring the biggest, boldest and best flavors from the vine to the Seaport District. Oenophiles will travel through the expansive space – sans passport – swirling and sipping their way to “connoisseur” status while sampling bites from some of the city’s most popular restaurants.

There are hundreds of exhibitors and international producers who will be pouring over 2,000 wines throughout the weekend including: 90 + Cellars; Alexander Valley Vineyards; Banfi Vintners; Beaujolais Villages; Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards; Hope Family Wines; Humboldt Imports; Jackson Family Wines; Languedoc Wines; Rutherford Wine Co.; Ste. Michelle Wine Estates; Vinho Verde; and, Wines from Rioja.

Sip something you like? Attendees can make purchases and have them delivered to their doorstep via Drync, the mobile app that allows you to create your own virtual wine cellar on your Smartphone.

In addition to these renowned labels and exhibitors, local restaurants showcasing their delicious bites throughout the weekend include: 7ate9 Bakery; Athan’s European Bakery; Bertucci’s; Cask ‘n Flagon; Catering by North East of the Border; Compliments Food Co.; Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery; KINGS Bowl America; Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery; Montilio’s Baking Company; Noodle Lab Boston Pennypacker’s Food Truck; Smackadoodles; The Chubby Chickpea; and, The Living Room.

Also along the way there will be dueling Celebrity Chef Stages that will showcase the talents of New England’s most renowned chefs including: Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger; Blue Dragon); Barbara Lynch (No. 9 Park; Sportello; Menton); Chris Coombs (Deuxave; dbar); Daniel Bruce (Meritage Restaurant at the Boston Harbor Hotel); Louis DiBicarri (Tavern Road); Dave Becker (Sweet Basil & Juniper); Mitchell Brumels & Nicholas Foley (Ocean Prime); Annie Copps (Itellibelly.com); Nick Deutmeyer (Post 390); Rachel Klein (RFK Kitchen); Michael Lombardi & Kevin O’Donnell (SRV); Karen Mitchell (The Palm Boston); Brendan Pelley (Pelekasis); and, Michael Scelfo (Aldon & Harlow).

There are educational seminars with nearly 40 topics ranging from food and wine pairings, “The One Hour Wine Expert,” and vertical tasting flights of the world’s most sought-after grapes. For those who love to shop, there will be scores of vendor booths with wine accessories, gourmet foods and even jewelry.

Tickets to the Boston Wine Expo’s “Grand Tasting” are available by visiting: http://www.bostonwineexpo.eventbrite.com.

General Admission ticket prices are as follows: Saturday: $99 per person and Sunday: $89 per person. General admission tickets include entry, a Boston Wine Expo souvenir glass to taste wine samples from over 200 wine producers, complimentary food samples from scores of providers and access to live cooking demonstrations.

VIP Experience ticket prices are as follows: Saturday: $149 per person and Sunday: $139 per person. VIP Experience tickets include easy entry through the VIP entrance, a welcome sparkling wine toast, complimentary private coat check, access to the VIP lounge, an upgraded Boston Wine Expo souvenir glass to taste wine samples from over 200 wine producers, complimentary food samples from scores of providers and access to live cooking demonstrations.

Group tickets are also available, as well as dedicated trade industry hours. Seminars are priced per-class and can be purchased online.

The Boston Wine Expo will take place at The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center on February 13 and 14, 2016, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. This event is reserved for ages 21+. The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is located at 200 Seaport Boulevard in Boston, MA. For directions and more information, please visit: http://www.seaportboston.com.

ABOUT THE BOSTON WINE EXPO:
Founded in 1991 by the Boston Guild of Oenophilists, the Boston Wine Expo has grown into one of the most well-known and respected wine events in the country. Over $1,400,000 has been donated to local charities by the Guild including Tufts Medical Center’s Summer Camp Program for Children with Disabilities – the major beneficiary. Over 27 local charities have benefited from the Expo over the event’s history. Other organizations that have received considerable funding include the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Pan Mass Challenge and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. For more information, please visit: http://www.wine-expos.com.

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Boston Wine Expo

It’s that time of year again- time for the Boston Wine Expo!
bwebannerWe are very excited to have been invited back as bloggers this year, and can’t wait to see you there! This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Boston Wine Expo, so it is sure to be even bigger and better than ever. To go with the Silver Anniversary theme, they will be showcasing what has happened with wine over the past 25 years, and the
way food and wine are looking to be trending for the next 25.

Over 1,800 wines will be poured from over 200 wineries from around the world. Food samples will be available from Boston area restaurants.

Interested in taking part in a seminar? There are so many to chose from, featuring wine from all over the world; cheese; cider and chocolate. You can learn to taste like a pro, enjoy Buffalo Trace Bourbon, or learn more about food and wine pairing. Want to register for one? Do so here

Please join us on February 13th and 14th at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center: https://bostonwineexpo.eventbrite.com/?discount=BLOGJAN (For $10 off either day at #BWE2016)

Previous visits to the Boston Wine Expo:

Boston Wine Expo, 2014
Boston Wine Expo,2014, Seminar: Love Brews for Cheeses of the Veneto
Boston Wine Expo preview of 2015
Boston Wine Expo, 2015

Wicked Wine Fest and Boston Craft Beer Fest, Spring 2015

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We were lucky enough to be asked to attend the Boston Event Guide‘s Wicked Wine Fest and Craft Beer Fest for Spring 2015.
On our way to the Wicked Wine Fest we got this cool picture of the Hancock tower in Boston.

 

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When we entered both the Wicked Wine Fest and the Craft Beer Fest, we were given a map and list of all the wines/beers, as well as a small plastic cup for sampling.

 

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La Perlina Mosacato
We both liked this wine, a good sweet Mosacto.

 

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Truvee – Red Blend
This sounded like an interesting blend, and we enjoyed it.

 

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Ripe Life – Clambake
A good white wine, despite not being sweet. Described as ‘light, crisp, citrusy, unoaked Chardonnay.’

 

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ERA Organic Wines
Syrah
We really liked this, despite not being huge red wine fans. The description was right on, saying it has ‘raspberry and mocha flavors are followed by sweet cigar tobacco and a lightly oaky finish.’

Montepulciano
This was good as well, a little more body to it with notes of ‘black cherry, plum fruits, sweet oak and peppery spice.’

 

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Enjoying the tasting!

 

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Spiked Seltzer
We tried this for the first time last fall at the beer fest. Good tasting seltzer with alcohol in it. They have Lemon Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, and Cranberry for flavors. We like this, a good summer drink, goes down like a Seltzer and not overly sweet like some other summer drinks. We have heard that you can purchase it in Market Basket, so we will be on the lookout.

 

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Probably Megan’s favorite ‘tasting’ of the day, Vino Gelato! This gelato is made from wine and was delicious!

 

Other wines we liked:

Chloe-Chardonnay
Chloe-Red 249

Terlato-Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon

Ruffino-Sparkling Rose

Anderra-Carmenere

 

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Both festivals are held in the Cyclorama. It is a cool atmosphere, and a large circular room, so it works well for a tasting.

 

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The real downfall to the wine event were the sample pours were very small. At most tables we got really just one sip, so it is kind of hard to judge the wine on just a sip. Then, because of the small pours, everyone would get right back in line. So there was a lot of waiting in line and not a lot of sampling.

 

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From the Craft Beer Fest, outside of the Cyclorama, waiting in line, moved pretty quickly.

 

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Down the Road Brewery – Pukwudgie Pale Ale
This is a new brewery in Newton, MA. They say that ‘we want our line of beers to recall the rich history of lagers and ales that is sometimes ignored or forgotten but never out of fashion.’

 

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Stella Artois – Cidre
Pretty good, very light and refreshing.

 

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Urban Farm Fermentory
Dry Cidah and Kombucha from Urban Farm. We like there stuff as well, fresh and mostly dryer ciders.

 

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Megan and Mark at the tasting.

 

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Downeast Cider House
This is our favorite cider we have had. It’s like real apple cider, not a sugary light version.

 

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Cape Ann Brewing Company was there as well!

 

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By Sam Adams, The Vixen and 26.2 were both beers we haven’t had before, they were both pretty good.

 

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Curious Traveler is one of Megan’s favorite summer beers, but we hadn’t tried all that the Travleler Beer Company had made. Now was our opportunity! We tried both Illusive (grapefruit) and Forbidden (apple). Megan liked the Illusive!

 

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Foolproof Brewing Company
We learned about Foolproof at the last tasting, we liked all their beers. They are in Rhode Island, so we can’t wait to visit.

 

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Taylor and Megan enjoying the tasting.

 

 

IMG_2782Iron Duke Brewing- also local! Can’t wait to try them out!

These we just some of the beers we tasted. This was a good event, not too crowded, the lines weren’t very long, a good variety of breweries and beers.

 

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Taylor came in second place in the dance contest. We got a free round of pictures in the photo booth.

 

Want to go next Fall or Spring? Check out Boston Event Guide’s site! They always have something fun going on, including tastings, booze cruises, trips and more! Check them out! Hope to see you there next time!

Visit #90! Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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Our third stop on our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was Allagash Brewing. They are right across the street from Bissel Brothers, Foundation, and Austin Street Brewing or should we say they all moved in right across the street from Allagash.

 

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If you want to go for a tour, you need to book it ahead of time. The tours book up quickly, and they try to keep them a fair size- so everyone can see and hear the tour guide. The tour is free, but you have to plan ahead. We booked our tour about two weeks in advance, and booked it for four people- not yet knowing who the other two people would be! We booked for the only time slot that had spots for four people, knowing we would have company. We didn’t want the others to not be able to go. The tour includes a private tasting as well.

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Cool bar in the tap room

 

If you find that you aren’t able to book a tour, you can go to their tasting room and try some there! We were unaware that they had a tap room prior to our visit, but now know we can go anytime we are in the area!

 

Our tour guide was Thadius, a local college student, which he reminded us of several times. His fun loving personality made the tour entertaining but he was also quite knowledgeable about the brewery and was able to answer questions people had.

 

We learned a lot about Allagash while on the tour. They told us what makes them special and different, not just the typical story on how beer is made, so we liked that. We learned that 80% of what they produce is Allagash White. They are the 32nd largest brewery in the US, and still a craft brewery. Their biggest markets are LA, then Chicago and Boston.

 

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They operate a 70 barrel system right now. They expanded 2 years ago, and now they are planning to add more fermenters.

This is inside of the newest part of the brewery. This was the old exterior wall, and they left the old Allagash Brewing Company sign up.

They have a custom BrauKon system for producing as much White and Saison as they can.

 

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This newer system is more computerized, but you still need the brewer to check on things and know how to work the system. They brew 5 days a week, 24 hours a day. They have 15 brewers and over 80 employees.
How are they working to be even more eco-friendly?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
*Their spent grain goes to a local farmer, Norm, to feed to his cows.
*They also use steam energy.
*Just last year, they added a beehive on premise to use the honey in the beer. They are using the most local honey they can, and are helping the honey bee population! Another cool fact about the honey- their Accountant is the bee keeper!
*They have the least water usage of breweries, and use local water coming from Sebago Lake (just over 10miles away)

 

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Old system with Thadius

 

They still use an old 15 barrel system that Rob Tod started with back in 1995. They use this older system for their more experimental brews.

 

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They use Microstar kegs, a co-op program so when they ship full kegs to somewhere like LA, a local brewery reuses instead of shipping empty kegs back to Maine, which not only makes it easier for them, but also is more eco-friendly.

Fun fact- about 60% of their production is put into kegs. This is a lot for a brewery of this size.

 

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barrels in their barrel room. Each has the beer’s name or a code name on it.

 

An interesting sounding beer we heard about in the barrel room was the Koelschip series. The Koelschip series are sour and/or funky beers. They use wild yeast to get the sour flavor, and it takes 3-4 years to actively ferment. Megan really likes sour beers, so we will be on the lookout for any Koelschip series releases!

 

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The oldest barrel we saw.

 

These barrels were in a separate temperature controlled building to age.

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large barrels and fermenting beer

 

Allagash has a pilot system in which employees can submit recipes for brewing. Like their Saison? You can thank an employee for that! The Saison is not their first new year round beer in just about twelve years.

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a little view into how large they actually are…

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empty barrels, ready to be filled

 

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the private tasting area in the barrel room

 

Our tasting:

White – 5.2%
The first Allagash beer. We have all had this before and we have liked it. Maureen thought it was light, Megan and Mark order it out at the bar sometimes.

 

Saison – 6.1%
Recommended to have with spicy food. Light and citrusy with orange and coriander taste. Maureen said it was a titch spicy on the back of the tongue. We all liked this as well.

 

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the Saison mmmmmm

 

 

Four – Quad – 10%
Takes four months to make, uses 4 yeast and is complicated to make. Smooth and very flavorful, we all liked it. Jason liked it so much he bought a bottle there, and has bought 2 more since then.

 

Tripel – 9%
Aged in Jim Beam barrels. Light for being aged in Jim barrels. Maureen said she tasted fruit right on the tongue. Good balance of beer, flavor and fruit. Mark bought a bottle of this.

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Cooler full of brewery only beers as well as beers you will find elsewhere!

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Special Release! Midnight Brett Ale

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Midnight Brett Ale:
Megan opted to purchase this one, despite having not tried it. She understood that Brett Ales can be on the tart side, and loves trying beers like that. It had the flavor and aroma of berries and sour cherries. She was very happy to have bought two bottles. Mark had hoped for a bit more tartness.

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the tap room bar, inside the retail store

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t-shirts galore!

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have a kegerator at home?

 

We enjoyed our visit to Allagash, and liked how the tour was- it wasn’t just the “here’s how we make beer,” but what actually makes them who they are. We will certainly be back, especially to see what special releases they have!

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Want to visit?
HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 10am-5pm.
Last tour at 4pm, taps close at 4:45pm

Check their website or their facebook for any changes.

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In the area? Besides going across the street to Bissel Brothers,
Foundation and Austin Street, take the drive to:
Urban Farm Fermentory
Shipyard Brewing Co.

Downeast Cider House

This past fall, we took a trek into Boston with Mark’s sister Michelle, Megan’s sisters Heather, Jessica and Samantha, Samantha’s boyfriend Dustin, and friends Bre and Lizzie. We took a walk from the nearest train station to Downeast Cider House. On a warm day, this walk would be nothing. On a windy day (like the one we had), the walk was a little harsh. In good weather, walk. In cold weather, take a cab or drive.

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When they say they are located down under the Tobin Bridge, they are serious. Right under the bridge.

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A little farther in…

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Around the corner…

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And you are there!

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They give you these sampling glasses at the start of the tour. They come around and give you samples of what they have on tap during the tour. We all liked this, you get to drink while on the tour.

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We have had Downeast Cider plenty of times before, and we have had a lot of people try it as well, including everyone who came with us on this visit. They press from fresh apples year round, and it tastes like it.

Original Blend – 5.1%
It tastes like a regular jug of cider you would get from the produce department. It is a blend of freshly pressed blend of Red Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland and Gala apples.

Cranberry Blend – 5%
Good blend of cranberry flavor and cider, not too tart but just enough cranberry flavor. Several of us actually got growlers of this.

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Kegs, growlers, and cans, lots of cans.

Hard Honey – 5.1%
This was a spring release this year. A sweeter, definitely honey flavored cider. Good but sweet. When we had tried this, they had said it was the lemonade at first… So, many of us weren’t fans. After finding out that it was the Hard Honey, we wished for another taste.

Lemonade – 5.1%
This was a summer release, light and easy drinking.

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They have a Winter Blend out now that we did not get to try. It is 6.5% and aged on oak chips, cinnamon bark, and nutmeg, sounds like a good winter cider. Next fall they may be making a pumpkin cider, and possibly a hard iced tea for the spring, though that is just a rumor.

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Back row: Lizzie, Dustin, Mark Middle row: Michelle, Megan, Heather, Jessica, Samantha Front: Bre

We had quite a group of people visiting with us.

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It was a little hard to hear on the tour, it is an operating brewery, so equipment and coolers were running. We were on the largest tour of the day on a Sunday afternoon, too, so we couldn’t get too close to the tour guide. The tasting during the tour is a good touch. We recommend Downeast to everyone we think might like it. That includes you!

Want to visit?

Tastings, Tours & Growler

SATURDAYS 12-8pm, every half-hour, Last tour at 7pm
SUNDAYS 1-6pm, every half-hour, Last tour at 5pm

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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