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 ūüôā

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

Press release from the Boston Wine Expo:

“The Boston Wine Expo‚Äôs ‚ÄúGrand Tasting‚ÄĚ
Select wines and exhibitors join the
25th annual celebration of wine, food and culture

BOSTON, MA ‚Äď Presented by Boston Guild of Oenophilists, the 25th annual Boston Wine Expo at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, hosted over President‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď sans passport ‚Äď swirling and sipping their way to ‚Äúconnoisseur‚ÄĚ status while sampling bites from some of the city‚Äôs 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‚Äôs European Bakery; Bertucci‚Äôs; Cask ‚Äėn Flagon; Catering by North East of the Border; Compliments Food Co.; Jennifer Lee‚Äôs Gourmet Bakery; KINGS Bowl America; Mamadou‚Äôs Artisan Bakery; Montilio‚Äôs Baking Company; Noodle Lab Boston Pennypacker‚Äôs 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, ‚ÄúThe One Hour Wine Expert,‚ÄĚ and vertical tasting flights of the world‚Äôs 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‚Äôs ‚ÄúGrand Tasting‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs Summer Camp Program for Children with Disabilities ‚Äď the major beneficiary. Over 27 local charities have benefited from the Expo over the event‚Äôs 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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Giveaway time! Tickets to the Boston Wine Expo!

Are you going to the Boston Wine Expo???

You should! It is a wonderful event, full of delicious wine, great food samples and education.
Read more about it here: https://brewwinefun.com/tag/boston-wine-expo/

Want to go for free? We are giving away one pair of tickets this Monday! http://gvwy.io/o2chj1d

Hope to see you there!

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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Boston Beer Works – Fenway Park Location

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Near the end of the summer we went in to see a Red Sox game and got into Boston a little early. We decided to get some food and a few beers at Boston Beer Works, right across the street from Fenway Park. Of course, on game day they were really busy. They are used to it and they handled the crowd well.

 

View from front door of Fenway

View from Beer Works of Fenway

 

While waiting for a table we ordered beers from the bar. They had a designated spot to step up and order beers, then you have to move. This is something you don’t see at most bars, but we were very happy to see it here. Megan ordered the Watermelon, which she had before and really liked, and Mark ordered an Imperial Wit.

 

Imperial Wit

Megan smelled banana. It was tangy and maybe a little sour. Looks like an unfiltered beer.

 

Beer Menu

Beer Menu

 

 

They said it would be a 30 minute wait, but it was only about 15 minutes so we were happy.

 

We ordered a sample tray so we could tastes beers we have not had before. We had gone to Lowell Beer Works earlier in the summer, read the post here 

Beers on tap

Beers on tap

We wanted to try different beers than we had before, so we picked out some beers we may not have normally tried. They have 7 different Beer Works locations in and around Boston and we’ve been to 2 so far. We hope to try each one at a different time of year, so we can try all of their beers.

 

 

Beer Samples

Beer Samples

 

 

Castle Rock Raspberry

Great raspberry smell. Sweeter taste than we expected. Mark thought it was pretty good, defintily a light tasting summery beer with a raspberry flavor. A little sweet but not overbearing. Megan thought it was close to jolly rancher, a little too sweet for her.

 

Patriot Pilsner

Just ok, neither of us are huge fans of pilsners in general. The blonde beer we ordered wasn’t available so thy replaced it with this one. Not one we would have picked.

 

Imperial Pilsner

Mark liked this a lot better- more to it, more substance I guess. It definitely had more flavor.

 

Houblon Rouge

Belgian red IPA. Dark in color lighter in taste

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Food came out super quick, we just ordered a couple of appetizers since there would be food at the game.

 

 

Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

 

Buffalo had good flavor, it wasn’t just hot. Blue cheese seemed house made, Mark thought it was really good.

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Pretzel Bread Balls

 

Rich cheese sauce

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All the beers they have on tap now are different from the 2 visits we had during the summer. Summer beers are gone and pumpkin and fall beers are here.

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Opposite Fenway Park since 1992
61 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
617-536-BEER

Open Daily from 11:00AM – 1AM

SATURDAY & SUNDAY BRUNCH 11 AM – 2 PM
KITCHEN OPEN UNTIL CLOSE EVERY NIGHT
*FENWAY LOCATION ‚Äď Opens early for Red Sox Opening Day, Marathon Monday and other early Sox/Event Days.

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batting practice before the game!

 

Oh, did we mention we had tickets in a suite, for free?

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View of the field

View of the field

 

Us at the game

Us at the game

Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, Massachusetts

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We have been to Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham several times, and picked up their beer in Massachusetts’s packies even more. We went back recently to visit their brand new facility at 100 Clinton Street in Framingham, MA with Mark’s brother Jason and sister Michelle.

 

Jack’s Abby¬†opened in 2011. They are an all lager brewery, which is very unique, and means they use only lager yeast. This is a slow fermentation process, much longer than making ales, and they ferment cold. It is a longer process but you have more control over flavoring. Sugars and yeast cell counts are measured throughout the fermentation process. There is a 4 to 5 week turnaround for 1 beer, where ale‚Äôs typically take 2 to 3 weeks.

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On the first tour we went on we learned a lot about the brewery:

  • the three Hendler brothers own the brewery- Jack, Eric and Sam
  • the brewery¬†is named after one of the owners, Jack, and his wife Abby, as a nod to Abby and to the traditions of European monks who created their beers in their abbeys
  • Jack¬†studied brewing in Chicago as well as in Munich, Germany

 

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They purchased a new bottling machine in the Fall 2013. They bottle approximately half and keg about half of the beer they make. 75% of what they make is consumed within the greater metro west area of Boston. They just started canning at the new brewery as well, in 12oz cans as well as 16oz cans for 4 packs.

 

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Mass Rising – DIPL – 8%
Mark and Jason both buy this beer semi regularly. It is a double india pale lager, or DIPL. It is pretty hoppy, somewhat bitter but a well balanced and smooth ipl.

 

Baby Hammer – black lager with lactose – 6%
A brewery only release, very tasty, a really smooth beer, probably a combo of the lager base and the addition of the lactose.

 

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Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10%
A good, smooth baltic porter for 10%. Still a strong, dark beer, but well balanced and flavorful.

 

Sour Time – wheat lager soured in wine barrels – 4.8%
You get sour and wheat flavors from this, just ok but not a stellar sour, according to Mark.

 

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Hibiscus Blood Orange Leisure Time – wheat lager 4.8%
A brewery only release, Megan described it as joy and sunshine, not very descriptive, we know. Mark was hoping it would be a little bit better, not enough blood orange fruit flavor.

 

Calyptra – session IPL – 4.9%
Pretty good overall IPL, not lacking in flavor for a session lager. They are releasing 12 oz cans of this soon.

 

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Excess – DIPL – 7.2%
Really good, smooth for a double. Really good hop flavor and overall balance.

 

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Lashes – red ipl – 6.8%
Michelle got a pint of this beer, which she enjoyed.

 

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One of the reasons we wanted to visit the new facility is that they have a new beer hall and they serve food.

 

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We got 2 pretzels for apps that were very tasty (that’s just one in the picture).

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Potato and Bacon pizza, pretty good.

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BBQ Pork Pizza, this was very good as well, interesting combo with the
pineapple and serrano chili, and BBQ pork.

When we visited it was only around 4:00, so we weren’t quite ready for dinner, we just got a few pizza’s. They were good. Their menu is not that big, and they don’t have everyday bar food, no burgers or sandwiches on the regular menu.

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They have plenty of room for all their new, and old, barrel aged beers. See those really
big barrels in the bottom picture? Must be something tasty in their!

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They have a much, much larger tasting area, or beer hall, now. It seems like it might not be quite large enough for the popularity they have achieved. We tried to visit a month ago, at around 7:00 on a Saturday. Couldn’t find parking or even get in the building it was so crowded.

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Even at 4:00 or 5:00 on a Saturday this is how crowded it was. Luckily we got a seat at one of the longer picnic tables. Unfortunately, they operate the beer hall as seat yourself, which probably adds to the crazyness on busy nights. It looks like they need more room already.

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Cool, reclaimed wood they use as ceiling panels with up lighting. They look
cooler in person, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We were glad to see they do have a separate bar area, when you first enter, for beers to go, bottles, cans, growlers and swag.

The first time we visited Jack’s Abby Brewing¬†was¬†with Mark’s brother Jason as well. The guys had decided it was time to do a mini brewery and bar crawl through Framingham… Our visits included: Jack’s Abby, Angry Ham’s (featured on Bar Rescue), and John Harvard’s Brewhouse- Framingham.

 

Old sign, and their old logo.

 

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Old logo at the old brewery, hand painted by Jack’s wife, Abby

 

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They also cask condition a lot of beers in Bourbon barrels as well as red and white wine barrels.

 

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samplers before the tour- fun holder too!

 

Cocoa-Nut Barrel Aged Framinghammer ‚Äď baltic porter –¬†10% – IBU 55
Coconut smell, heavy coconut flavor with the bourbon flavor, not as much cocoa as expected. Mark thought the bourbon really played up the coconut, Megan wished there was a bit more cocoa

Jabby Brau – Session lager –¬†4.5% – IBU 20
No longer available?
Everyone liked it, Mark thought it had a touch of fruit.

Hoponius Union ‚Äď Wicked Hoppy Lager –¬†6.7% – IBU 65
Year Round
Really good mix of hops and lager. One of their flagship beers, one of Jason and Mark‚Äôs favorite.¬†We buy this often, and didn’t bother tasting it in the most recent visit because we knew we were both buying some.

 

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Jason’s sampler, after the tour

 

Leisure ‚Äď Wheat Lager –¬†4.8% – IBU 15
available Year Round
Mark and Jason both thought it was a good summer beer. It’s what Megan likes, light and drinkable, citrusy.

 

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Berliner ‚Äď Megan’s favorite

 

Berliner¬†– Sour Wheat Lager –¬†3.5%
What Megan expected from a wheat sour, very good with a nice pucker.

Barrel Aged Cherry Berliner ‚Äď Dark Sour Lager –¬†5.5%
Although it was barrel aged, the bourbon taste surprised Megan. It did have a god balance of sour and cherries. Mark liked this better than the regular Berliner.

 

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Mark’s sampler, after the tour

 

Framingham Lager –¬†4.5%
Light, easy drinking, nothing too special, Jason agrees.

Barrel Aged Framinghammer ‚Äď baltic porter –¬†10% – IBU 55
Very strong taste, maybe a hint of brown sugar. Strong bourbon taste as well.

PB&J Framinghammer ‚Äď baltic porter –¬†10% – IBU 55
Not as strong as the BA Framinghammer. Nutty with a little sweetness at the end. Made Mark smile when he had it, could get the PB & J taste, Jason thought it was more chocolate almond.

 

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Megan’s sampler, after the tour

 

Hopstitution ‚Äď Extra Pale Lager
Good taste, hops up front, smooth lager base. Mark and Jason both liked it.

Session Rye IPL –¬†3.8% – IBU 40
Jason liked it, so he shared it, everyone liked it. Definitely had a lighter, rye taste to it.

 

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the offerings during our first visit…

  

 

 

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Yay lagers!

 

We had fun here, and we all found beer we liked, at the old brewery and the new one.

 

 

They also now distribute all over Mass, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Eastern Pennsylvania and into New York as well. Not in New Hampshire or Maine, too bad for us.

Want to visit?

New Beer Hall Hours
Tuesday – Thursday:¬†11:30 am ‚Äď 9 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sunday 1:30 am – 9 pm

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love this sign!

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 Gr√ľner 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
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

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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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