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

Advertisements

Westfield River Brewing Company, Southwick, MA

IMG_4068

 

A few weeks ago we went to Six Flags and were looking to visit a brewery, of course. Westfield River Brewing is nearby in Southwick, MA. They say on their website they are the “primary location for those who are seeking both drinkability in their beer and adventure in their glass”.

 

IMG_4064

 

They are located on a 100 year old dairy farm. The building had been converted into a steak house for many years, but that closed. The brewery moved into this location a year ago from an industrial park. They have a farmers license so they can sell anything they make on the property as retail. They have 3 years of commercial brewing, the owner has been home brewing for 15 years.

 

IMG_4071

 

 

IMG_4110

History of the property

 

IMG_4086

 

We ordered two sampler trays for each couple, four 6oz pours for $10. They had nine beers on tap, so they gave us the extra beer sample for free.

 

IMG_4082

 

Louie and Pepe’s – Mexican lager
4.7%    10 IBU
Really light beer, it was served with a lime in it, you can taste the lime. Megan, Sammie, and Dustin all liked it, a good summer beer.

 

IMG_4083

 

Strawberry Shandy – 1/2 strawberry blonde 1/2 lemonade
5.3%    6 IBU
A strawberry taste upfront, lemonade as the second taste. Pretty good balance, another good summer beer. We all went home with a few cans!

 

 

IMG_4089

 

Red, White and Raz – raspberry wheat ale
4.9%    11 IBU
Great raspberry taste, not super sweet but tastes like raspberries. Good taste. We all went home with a few cans!

 

IMG_4093

Sam and Dustin enjoying their samples

 

Oatmeal Stout – ‘hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla’
5.9%    14 IBU
Smells like coffee, toasted taste up front, a bit of a sweet 2nd taste. Sammie agree’s with us, Dustin thought it had a hint of a sour taste.

 

IMG_4087

 

Copper Roaster – copper ale
6.1%    19 IBU
Brewed with brown sugar as an english style ale. Pretty good for this style of beer, everyone liked it. Darker in color but light in body with a hint of sweetness. ‘Not offensive to the mouth’ according to Megan (she was super surprised that she liked it).  Dustin thought it was smooth.

 

IMG_4086

 

Big Red Barn – malty imperial red
9.5%    12 IBU
A heavy taste but light in body for this style and percent of alcohol. A little strange, sweet, maybe tangy, a strong flavor. Megan and Sam thought it tastes like dates, almost like one of their mom’s Christmas cookies.

 

IMG_4096

 

Farmhouse Honey – saison style ale brewed with honey
5.6%    10 IBU
Light in body, honey flavor, slight tartness or saison flavor, we would have liked to taste a little more tartness, but all in all it was good!

 

IMG_4084

 

Charlie – rye ipa with citrus notes
5.3%    57 IBU
Different than the other beers, it taste bitter. Citrus notes, but even that taste a little bitter, citrus and rye taste a little overpowering. This might be because everything else was so low in IBU’s and this was 57 IBU. Dustin felt that there was a juniper flavor.

 

IMG_4101

 

Session – ‘light in body with tropical fruit hops’
4.5%    42 IBU
Right on in the description, pretty good flavor, session ipa with a light body and flavor with tropical fruity hops.

 

A lot of the beers on tap certainly had a summer theme to them. We liked most, if not all, of the beers. The thing that stood out to Mark was the IBU’s. 7 of the beers on tap were under 20 IBU’s, the the Charlie was 57 IBU’s and the Session was 42 IBU’s. They make their beers to be drinkable.

IMG_4073

 

Unfortunately, when we were there the most popular beer was sold out, the El Dorado IPA at 7.5% with an IBU of 82. Must be good!

We all liked the atmosphere here. This is a place we would all hang out at if it was near where we lived. The building itself is welcoming, never mind the people who work there. We were very impressed with the whole feel of this visit, and really wish we could go back soon!

 

IMG_4111

Before leaving, we tasted an cask Honey Nut Brown beer they made in collaboration with the home brew shop that is attached to the brewery. This was tasty, and was Sam’s first experience with a cask beer.

 

IMG_4075

They have a decent size restaurant area inside. The place has a cool vibe to it, all old beams and rustic decor. We didn’t get any food, we were actually there on July 4th so the kitchen wasn’t open. They did however have AMAZING pretzels available… more on that below…

 

IMG_4080

The brewery out back, you can see from the restaurant. And lots of cans.

IMG_4078

 

IMG_4079

 

 

IMG_4104

 

They have a single canning machine behind the bar. You can get any beer you want that is on tap. You can also get any combination of beers, a 6 pack of them same, 3 and 3, or 6 different beers. We thought this was awesome.

 

IMG_4105

Sam and Dustin got 3 of the Shandy and 3 of the Red, White and Raz. The filled them right in front of us.

IMG_4108

 

We got a 6 pack of each of the Shandy and the Red, White and Raz.

 

IMG_4106

 

IMG_4109

 

They also make giant pretzels to go from spent grain and home made spicy honey mustard. The flavor and texture were to die for, and the size- whaat. Well worth it.

 

IMG_4074

 Want to visit?
Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

IMG_4112

6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont

100_0734Last weekend, Mark and I went to Vermont for the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, located at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont.

We played tourists for the weekend, visited a couple of breweries and a winery, saw the beginning of fall foliage and went camping. 100_0741
100_0605  100_0607

We started our weekend early, heading over Friday morning. We arrived around 1pm, and started our weekend off with a quick chat and tasting at Northshire Brewing. Look here next week for a review and photos! We followed the beer with more beer (and lunch) at Madison Brewing Company, a brewpub. Look here next week for a review and photos!

We then checked into the campground, and went out on the pond for a little bit. 100_0653  100_0646 We followed paddle-boating with a dinner cooked over the fire and watched the fire glow… 100_0654  100_0672 100_0684  100_0683  100_0682

The next morning, Saturday, was the day of the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival. After making a quick breakfast of bagels toasted over the fire, we set off for a fun and alcohol filled day.

When we arrived at Mount Snow, we (at first) went the wrong way. Although our GPS was giving us the correct directions, even once we were on the Mount Snow property, we tried to follow the signs to determine where to park. Unfortunately, it was a breezy day, and some of the signs had turned around, misdirecting us. Luckily, the hotel valet directed us the correct way (as our GPS had been telling us to do haha). 100_0717After we found parking, we checked in and proceeded to have our IDs checked. After receiving our “over 21” bracelets and a stamp stating we had paid, we proceeded to get our wine glasses, grab bags and 3 tasting tickets a piece.100_0718  100_0729

We decided to walk around the two large tents before really stopping to taste anything. There were wineries, cider, cheese farms, and distilleries, places sampling jam, pickles and candy…

Oh, a note on the tastes. Each taste cost 1 ticket. A size of a taste varied table to table, some saying it was 1 ticket per pour, others 1 for all they were offering, and others, 2 tickets for all that they were offering. We were not able to try all of the wineries, but were able to try most and didn’t spend too too much on extra tickets (about $13).

Many of our stops at the festival:

Grafton Village Cheese:

We tried:

  • 3 year cheddar (bought)
  • 5 year cheddar
  • Maple Smoked Cheddar (very dry, but good!)
  • Leyden- English style cheese. Really good!

All of their cheese was very delicious! Would have loved to go home with more- will look into buying at least another block next time we are in Vermont. One of the really great things about the Grafton Village Cheese table, besides all of the delicious cheese, is that although this was one of the first tables we went to, they remembered us at the end of our day, when we went back to make a purchase. Something as small as that gesture of remembering really helps make a difference.

Newhall Maple Syrup:

Woodfired, grade A maple syrup

Really good, nice, sweet and thick

Newhall also made a cider, and had it paired with two other small orchards for a tasting:

we tried them in the following order, from lowest to highest in both alcohol and acidity

  • Windfall Orchards Ice Cider- 30 different varieties of apples go into the making of. 9% ABV. Great with dessert or cheese
  • Eden Heirloom Blend-10 different varieties of apples, 10% ABV. Goes well with dried meats
  • Newhall Ice Cider-Won a double gold metal. 12% ABV.

We both liked all three, for different reasons. Each one was unique.

Caledonia Spirits and Winery

All products are made from honey

I was very excited about this brand, due in part to the “Barr” name of two of their products.

Our tasting:

  • Barr Hill Vodka- not harsh, slight honey flavor
  • Barr Hill Gin- honey more powerful here. A sipping gin. Although I am not a gin drinker, i enjoyed this.
  • Elderberry Cordial- really good! Would be great as an after dinner drink or mixed with Prosecco 100_0722  100_0719  100_0721  100_0720

Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey

100 proof. Highest rated whiskey, 96 points. Good taste, but pricey. I found out after the festival that Whistlepig is not made in Vemont as we were made to think (all the others were Vermont made). I was disappointed in this. I did, however, find out that the distiller who makes this used to work for Maker’s Mark, which could be why I enjoyed it.

Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company

Tried:

  • Lille- thicker than Brie. Really good! Great flavor
  • Governor’s Cheddar- good, dry cheddar

Mad River Distillers

  • Maple Finish Rum- tastes like whiskey to me (which in later discussions with a distiller I know, I found was actually the oak barrel taste that I associate with whiskey). The maple syrup is aged in bourbon barrels.Good flavor
  • First Run Rum- good mixer
  • Chocolate Rye- nice, spiced, smooth100_0723

Vermont Distillers

  • Metcalf’s Raspberry Liqueur- good, tastes like raspberry jam. Would be great added to other drinks, or even a splash in sprite
  • Metcalf’s Vermont Maple Liqueur- Really good. Mark said it could be his new skiing coffee mixer.

 

100_0724 100_0761 We stopped by their tasting room at Hogback Mountain Scenic Overlook on the ride home, but they were not present. We assumed their staff was at the festival.

Vermont Spirits

  • Vermont Gold Vodka- not too much of a burn. Distilled from maple syrup.
  • No 14 Bourbon Whiskey- Mark really liked; they suggested adding water to a glass of whiskey to make the flavors open up

Mother Myrik’s Confectionary

Had their Buttercrunch to sample. Really delicious! It is handmade and made with Cabot Creamery butter.

 

Saxtons River Distillery

  • Vermont Maple Liqueur- good, although somewhat harsh going down
  • Vermont Maple Bourbon Whiskey- Mark tried, he said it was good, but “weird” because the maple flavor is different
  • Perc Coffee Liqueur- tastes just like coffee

Comment made by Mark:

“There’s a lot of maple and cider stuff in Vermont.”

Everywhere we looked, there was maple flavored stuff or cider!

Shelburne Vineyard

Tasting:

  • Louise Swenson- driest of the whites. Not too dry, it had a nice pucker to it
  • Riesling- Mark “that’s good.” Me- dry Riesling, not typical for me.
  • Lakeview White- semidry blend
  • Marquette- dry red. Hybrid grape with pinot noir. I actually liked this one, which surprised me. Mark also enjoyed.
  • Harvest Widows Revenge- semisweet red. Best served chilled. Mark and I really enjoyed.

100_0727  100_0726  100_0725

North Branch Vineyard

Tasting:

  • Frontenac Gris- dry white. Nice flavor to it, white peach and citrus. Liked it!
  • Miss Maeve- red raspberries. Not strong raspberry flavor, dry rose. Not sweet like you would expect.
  • Traminette- semidry. Similar to a dry Riesling. Rose petal and grapefruit. Mark liked.
  • Lacrescent- semisweet. Intense sweet apricot. Liked it, it is a different flavor
  • Marquette- oaked. Dry, black pepper and cherries. Like it, sweet, although it doesn’t intend to be.
  • Marechal Foch- dry blackberries. We both actually enjoyed this wine, although we tend to not like dry wines (guess our tastes are changing!)

Comment by Mark:

“I think we’re spoiled by Lukes.”

Lukes Liquors, located on the South Shore of Massachusetts in Rockland, hosting a wine tasting twice a year. The cost is $5, and for that price you get a wine glass, booklet, pen, small bites, and the opportunity to taste more than 100 different wineries.

Fresh Tracks Farm

We had to pick 3 each to try

  • American White- Mark tried, it was alright
  • Vermont Rose- I tried, it was ok
  • Vermont Apple Wine- semidry, juicy apple juice front. Refreshing finish. Good apple wine- you don’t see many apple wines that aren’t ice wines, so it makes it to be a more affordable way to enjoy
  • 2011 La Crescent- Mark enjoyed, and later went back for a larger sample (1 ticket for a larger pour)
  • 2011 Frontenac Gris- I tried and really enjoyed. Good amount of sweetness. I went back for a larger sample later.

Crowley Cheese

Had to try this cheese due to it being a family name.

  • Unusually Sharp- soooo good!
  • Chive- really good!

Yum! Understood the high prices, but would have purchased if it were less expensive for what they had left when we got there100_0638 100_0730

Whetstone Ciderworks

Told us their ciders were as “dry as any other cider on the market” and “a food friendly product.”

Our tasting:

  • Orchard Queen- dry, crisp, refreshing
  • Barnyard Blend- more rustic, English Farmhouse style. I enjoyed this one more than the Orchard Queen
  • Orchard King- most carbonated of all. Mark enjoyed
  • Whetstone Reserve- a different flavor. Mark enjoyed

Grandview Winery

Our tasting:

  • Pear Wine- Eastern States Wine Convention “double gold” and “best in show.” We both thought it was really good
  • Cranberry Wine- Ok, have had other cranberry wines that I have enjoyed more (such as those from Plymouth MA!)
  • Mac Jack Hard Cider- fresh grown Vermont apples, carbonated
  • Strawberry Rhubarb- nose picks up strawberry, then mouth picks up rhubarb
  • Raspberry Apple Wine- great nose. Nice and refreshing. Great combination. This is the bottle we left with, which was enjoyed with our Grafton Village 3 year Cheddar Cheese by the campfire.

On Sunday, we packed up and set off towards home mid-morning, making a stop on the way at Honora Winery. Look for that post soon!

Want to go to the 7th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival? Look here for more information as the time gets closer.

Due to the nature of our visit (it being a festival), there is not a huge amount of detail for many of the wineries. Since it was a festival, they are all still on our list to visit.

 

100_0732  100_0731

 

 

And the fun in between… Stonyfield Yogurt!

I recently went to Stonyfield Farm (located in Londonderry, New Hampshire) with BlogTweetNH. This was my first event with BlogTweetNH, but it defiantly won’t be my last. Upon arriving, we were met by Kristina and Chandra, who both work in the marketing department. Kristina and Chandra showed us a video-tour. Stonyfield no longer offers a typical tour, but the video-tour covered a lot, while still allowing us to stay cool. The video-tour covered how Stonyfield makes their yogurt (Stoneyfield Yogurt has 6 live cultures in it, while most other yogurt has only 2), organic dairy farming, how they use energy and produce energy (the sun plays a HUGE part) and other important topics.

Stonyfield began as a farming school, in Wilton NH in 1983. Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg opened the school together, and started to make yogurt for their own consumption. After determining that the yogurt was good enough to sell, they began to sell the yogurt to help raise funds for the school. After a few years, they determined that a successful yogurt company would make a bigger impact in the community than the school, and decided to run with it. Stonyfield moved to their current location, in Londonderry, NH in 1988. You can now find them everywhere- from grocery stores to colleges.

Stonyfield Yogurt started as two guys who did everything- milked the cows, made the yogurt, made sales calls and even deliveries. Now, they have grown to producing 1.5 MILLION SERVINGS PER DAY!!

After the video-tour was complete, Kristina and Chandra had us all introduce ourselves (and our blogs!) and answered any questions we had… Then came the tasty part!We all went into the yogurt room, and were told to grab a Greek yogurt and Blend yogurt from the fridge. I chose Greek Chocolate on the Bottom, and the Blackberry blend. 

IMG_3019[1]

So delicious! To be honest, I had been afraid to try Greek yogurt- afraid that I wouldn’t like it. It was soo good! The Blackberry Blend was also delicious, and another type of yogurt I probably would not have chosen previously at the supermarket. In the past, I have not been too fond of yogurt that has fruit in it, but the Blend is perfect- you still know that there is fruit in it, it is just finely chopped.

While we were enjoying our Greek yogurt and Blend yogurt, we were told about a fairly new part of Stonyfield, Brown Cow. Brown Cow started in the 1970’s in New York and later moved to California. In 2003, Brown Cow was purchased by Stonyfield and became part of the Stonyfield family. Brown Cow recently introduced Cream Top Greek Desserts. We had the opportunity to try both varieties- Creamy Yogurt with Caramel on the Bottom and Chocolate Yogurt with Cherries on the Bottom. I am usually more of a chocolate person, but since I had just had the Greek Chocolate on the Bottom, I decided to try the Caramel. OMG. Amazing. The yogurt had more of a custard consistency, and when you dipped your spoon just to the bottom and grabbed some caramel- YUM! I was also able to try the Chocolate/Cherry, which was also good, but caramel would be my 1st choice.

IMG_3020[1]They are currently available at Sam’s Club exclusively.

Next up- Frozen Yogurt! The first two varieties we tried were the Greek OIKOS variety, Super Fruits and Honey. The Super Fruits was really good. Great combination of Pomegranate, Raspberry and Acai berry; very smooth. The Honey I wasn’t as fond of, but I think it was more so that the flavor was unexpected. Next was Blueberry, which was very true to flavor. IMG_3021[1] IMG_3022[1]

After trying three of their frozen yogurts, we were told to look in the fridges and see what else we wanted to try. Check out their fully stocked fridges!

IMG_2999[1]

IMG_3001[1]

We decided to try three more frozen yogurts, this time we tried the regular yogurts (not Greek). We tried Minty Chocolate Chip, which had a great and strong mint chocolate flavor. We also tried the Vanilla Fudge Swirl.

IMG_3026[1]

My favorite frozen yogurt was the Gotta Have Java- it is like eating a cold cup of the best cup of coffee you have ever had- SO GOOD!

IMG_3024[1]

IMG_3025[1]

Stonyfield also had really cool spoons- they were strong and durable, but surprisingly were made from recycled yogurt cups!

IMG_3027[1]

After we were done filling our faces, we each were given a goody bag. The bag itself is really cool- it is a ChicoBag, made from 7 recycled water bottles, and stuffs into itself so you can throw it in your bag. Also included was a Stonyfield pencil, Stonyfield Carabiner, Stonyfield lip balm, coupons and the Stonyfield Yogurt Cookbook. I can’t wait to try out a recipe from the cookbook! We were also each sent home with a 12 pack of the Brown Cow Cream Top Greek Desserts. IMG_3016[1]

Before leaving, we stopped for a group photo (or 2…)

993615_10100723313430991_760928450_n  IMG_3007[1]  IMG_3028[1]

Want to visit? Stonyfield visiting hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday from 8 am to 5 pm

Thursday 8 am to 6 pm

Saturdays from 9:30 am to 5 pm
Closed Sundays, holidays and holiday weekends*.

Other Blogs From the fellow members of BlogTweetNH (featured are those who also attended the visit to Stonyfield!):

Allie Janine Amy  Sarah  Sarah Jane Emily