They Say It’s My Birthday…

18 Mar

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday, and as I emerge from the beer and champagne-induced haze from the weekend’s celebrations, I can’t help but think about getting older (seriously, I feel like just yesterday I was buying Clearasil at CVS and now I’m spending $40 on anti-aging serums, what?!) and all of the things that I would like to accomplish in the coming years, however trivial they seem. So, because I love a good list, below are my goals for my 33rd year…

  • Be able to pull off red lipstick
  • Travel abroad alone
  • Run a 5K
  • Upgrade my organizational skills to the point where my bedroom isn’t reminiscent of an episode of Hoarders
  • Take a photography class
  • Be able to cook at least one dish without referring to the recipe
  • Read Anna Karenina
  • Finish On the Road
  • Attempt bike commuting
  • Learn how to properly apply eye shadow (why do you need three colors, isn’t one enough?)
  • Go to SXSW
  • Be able to do 10 proper push-ups
  • Find the perfect pair of jeans
  • Learn to drink red wine without getting a wine mustache on the left side of my mouth (It’s always just on the one side…apparently my mouth is lopsided)
  • Floss every day
  • Go to at least one concert a month
  • Stop getting sucked into the KFC drive-thru
  • Not get any parking tickets (this may actually be the hardest)
  • And finally, blog at least once a week

Image via Pinterest

I’m back…

25 Feb

So I haven’t been doing a lot of blogging lately, but I  have been doing a lot of this…

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And this…

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And this…

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So stay tuned, because I have lots to write about!

My Favorite Craft Cans

15 Jun

There seems to be a direct positive correlation between the temperature outside and the consumption of beer. As the mercury rises, even the least enthusiastic of beer-drinkers among us get in the mood for a cold one. Because let’s face it, (most) summer activities are just better with beer. Unfortunately, beer bottles can be cumbersome to dispose of and less than ideal in venues where broken glass is an issue like on a boat or at the pool. So what’s a craft beer lover to do? The answer lies in cans. Gone are the days when the only beer available in cans was yellow, over-carbonated and tasteless. Fortunately, the canned craft beer market has expanded greatly in recent years with the recognition that, not only are cans more portable, but they can keep beer fresher by completely sealing out air and light.

With those Father’s Day cookouts looming, here are some of my favorite canned beers (in no particular order):

Sixpoint Resin: Hopheads will love this Double IPA which celebrates the resin secreted from hop cones. 

Boulder Beer Co. Hazed and Infused: This dry-hopped ale was the first of the brewery’s canned offerings.

21st Amendment Back in Black: Dark malts combine with a traditional IPA to create a beer with great flavor and a smooth finish. 

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale: This American Pale Ale is a summer staple and the first hand-canned craft beer in the U.S.

Alchemist Heady Topper: As the king of New England IPAs, this is a must-try for any hop-lover and a great excuse for a trip to Vermont. 

Looking for something a little more session-worthy? Nothing says summer like a Narragansett Summer Ale.

So drink those craft cans with pride! Just remember to recycle…

Vermont Beer Odyssey

29 May

Memorial Day weekend I embarked on the three and a half hour drive up to northern Vermont to enjoy the trifecta of Vermont beers – Hill Farmstead Brewery, Alchemist Brewery and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. First stop was Hill Farmstead’s Second Anniversary Celebration. With sunshine, live music, yummy food and top-notch beers, I was in my happy place.

Unfortunately, my tasting strategy was lacking and I didn’t get to try as many of the special release beers as I had hoped. With long lines at the specialty tent, the kegs were turning over quickly. (Hill Farmstead Twitter feed reported that Mimosa kicked in nine minutes!)

I did try the following:

Edward – American Pale Ale (and their flagship beer)

Civil Disobedience #4 – Black Saison from oak barrels

Society & Solitude #2 – Imperial Black IPA

Grassroots/Mikkeller Collaboration: Wheat is the New Hops – IPA brewed with wheat

Abner – Imperial IPA

Of course I wasn’t leaving there empty-handed. Before we took off I grabbed bottles of Everett and Anna and growler of Abner.

Next stop was Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT. Located at the old Alchemist Pub and Brewery location, Prohibition Pig had great BBQ and an notable beer list. Here I had my first Lawson’s of the weekend, Permagrin Rye, as well as some delicious Heady Topper!

Finally, we made our last leg to Burlington where we were spending the night. First on the agenda was Farmhouse Tap & Grill, which had been a favorite from  my last trip to the city. We spent the remainder of the evening parked in their great beer garden where more Lawson’s was on tap. This time it was the Knockout Blonde and Big Hapi before finishing the night with more Heady. (Double Sunshine was the next keg on tap, but unfortunately didn’t come on while we were there.)

Sunday’s mission was all about Alchemist, but first we made a quick stop to the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski. As they boast having every beer available in Vermont, I went to the store hoping to score some Lawson’s to take back to Boston. I had done my research and knew that deliveries were made on Friday and that pickings would be slim, if any, come Sunday. So true! I ended up passing over the few bottles of Big Hapi left in favor of a bomber of the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, which I had yet to try.

With the cooler starting to fill up at this point, we finally made our way to the Alchemist Cannery in Waterbury – home of the Heady Topper. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it (it is only available sporadically in the Boston area and in very limited quantities), know that Heady Topper lives up to the hype. With a 100 BeerAdvocate rating, this Imperial IPA is a world-class beer and a must-have for hopheads.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to finally have the chance to purchase as much as I wanted and at a price significantly cheaper than what it sells for in Boston. So we pull into the driveway and wouldn’t you know, there’s a sign posted alerting visitors to the fact that they were out of cans! Not wanting to waste too much time, we had a quick sample and poke around the facilities before heading out to track down some Heady. Luckily, they had plenty at our next stop, the Hunger Mountain Co-op – phew! I think I amused my fellow shoppers and Co-op staff as I desperately clutched as much beer as I could hold while we located a shopping cart to fill up. These native Vermonters don’t know how good they have it!

Tired and happy, I brought my haul back home and promptly filled the fridge. I hope no one was actually planning on putting food in there!

What to do this weekend: 5/5-5/6

4 May

I don’t know about any of you, but my vitamin D levels are taking a major hit this week. Luckily, the sun is scheduled to make an appearance this weekend and relieve Boston from this May funk! The timing couldn’t be better, as there are several outdoor events on the schedule.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Somerville Open StudiosVisit nearly 400 artists in over 100 venues as they open their homes and studios for this 14th annual event.  In addition to the open studios, there are special events including a fashion show and cinema festival. Make a day (or days) of it and come see why the Boston Phoenix recently awarded Somerville with the Readers’ Pick for Best Place to LiveFriday, 6:00-9:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00-6:00 p.m.; Locations throughout Somerville. Mobile version of the studio map here.

Saturday

Greenway Mobile Food Fest: Enjoy food from over 20 food trucks including favorites Redbones, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and Lobsta Love. There will be a “kid zone” with crafts and activities (for the breeders amongst us), music from the likes of Audrey Ryan, and a spring-inspired cook-off. At the end, one truck will be crowned with the coveted title of 2012 Greenway Mobile Food Fest Champ.  11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Night Shift Viva Habanera ReleaseIn the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, Boston’s newest microbrewery is releasing its latest beer – “Viva Habanera” – at its facility in Everett. I’ve been in the mood for a chili-infused beer the past few days, so this couldn’t be happening at a better time. Brewery tours will be available, as well as tastings of Night Shift Brewing’s four current beers (Viva Habanera, Taza Stout, Trifecta, and Bee Tea). 12:00-5:00 p.m., Night Shift Brewing, 3 Charlton Street, Everett.

Sunday

Harvard Square MayfairThis is a huge event for people of all ages with four music stages; a dance stage; 40 food vendors; beer gardens from Grafton Street, Border Cafe and John Harvard’s; and 200 artisans and merchants selling jewelry, crafts and clothing. Not a fan of crowds? Grab a beer at Russell House and people-watch from the safety of a window seat. 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Harvard Square.

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