Why I Love Used Bookstores


Some people do yoga to relax. I go to used bookstores. I love the smell of old books and running my fingers over their spines.

The Book Barn in Niantic, Conn. is one of my favorite places. If you’ve never been there, make plans to go as soon as possible! And if you go this before or on February 2, you can take advantage of the annual sale and get 30 percent off books!

I could write more about this, but I’d rather show you pictures! Here’s the reasons why I love the Book Barn.

I love the Book Barn because of nooks like this one: 


Because each location offers complimentary cups of coffee in mugs. Coffee always tastes better in mugs! 


Because cats. ‘Nuff said.


Because of books like this one: “Chose the wrong guy, gave him the wrong finger.” 


Because I’ve been fortunate to find a different Jeanette Winterson book each time I go. If you don’t know her, click on her name. (But not until after you see the last pic of all my literary spoils!) Her writing is so good that it’s life-changing.


Lastly, I love the Book Barn because where else can I find titles that range from a Japanese love story to a historical account of farting to the beauty of nature to cooking with beer? 


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(Photos by Jaimie Cura)


How to Incorporate Craft Beer Into Your Wedding


Image (Photo by Jaimie Cura)

If you’re a craft beer fan and are getting married or throwing a party, here’s some easy ways to incorporate craft beer into the festivities!

The Beer Bar

  • Beer in an ice-filled canoe
  • Beer in an ice-filled wheelbarrow


  • Beer bottles with flowers: Line up a bunch of bottles in a row for a table-runner feel
  • Growlers with flowers
  • White carnations in a beer mug that’s filled with gold or yellow tissue paper (it looks like beer in a mug)

Party Favors

  • Wedding-themed beer cozies: “To have and to hold and to keep your beer cold”
  • Incorporate the tagline “Love is brewing” onto coasters, mugs, magnets or beer glasses
  • Soap made out of beer
  • Bottles of home-brewed beer with unique labels or tags (This is the time when you go wild with beer puns, like “Hoppily Ever After”)

Bouquets & Boutonnières

  • Incorporate hops or grain stalks into the bouquet or boutonnière

Check out the Books, Brews & Booze Pinterest board on incorporating craft beer into weddings to see where the inspiration for this post came from!

Igor’s Dream by Two Roads Brewing: 2014 Release Info



Remember the 2013 release of Igor’s Dream? I wasn’t there, but I read all about it and the thing I remember the most is the line out the door! Check out Bräuista’s post on Igor’s Dream from last year, for a firsthand account.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s release.

Brewery parking lot opens: 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25

Doors open: 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25

Selling of bottles: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25

Address of Two Roads: 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, CT

Charity: 10 percent of bar sales will go to the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation.

Igor’s Dream 2014 bottle limit: Three per person (1,980 bottles are available for sale)

Igor’s Dream 2013 bottle limit: One per person (first come, first served — 400 available for sale)

Cost: $20 per 2014 bottle; $25 per 2013 bottle

Bottle signings: Two Roads Brewing’s Brewmaster Phil Markowski and Igor Sikorsky’s sons are signing bottles in The Vault Room. The Sikorsky brothers will be at Two Roads from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ABV: 10.9 percent

Food offeringsFryborg, The Cheese Truck, Cowabunga Food Truck and Firehouse Grill.

Visit the Two Roads Brewing page for more info on the release of Igor’s Dream 2014.

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CT Pour Tour Schedule


CT Pour Tour car kickoff fdf3698f58e625be14550b61e7b04863

Here’s a list of scheduled dates and locations so far, from the CT Pour Tour website. An asterisk means that there’s an event taking place, with some portion of proceeds going toward Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

If you work at a local establishment and want to schedule an event, contact CT Pour Tour founder Todd Ruggere at Toddy351@yahoo.com or 781-974-9428.

  • 1/31 Columbia – Z Restaurant
  • 3/22 Torrington- Tim’s House, Homebrew Happy Hour
  • 6/8 Hampton – Someone’s house
  • 6/8 Scotland – Someone’s house
  • 7/19 Hartland – Fire Department

Here’s the full list of CT Pour Tour towns and datesFor more info on CT Pour Tour, visit these links:

(Photo Credit: Two Roads Brewing Co.)

McLaughlin Vineyards: A Perfect New England Experience


Last Friday, I went to an estate sale in Newtown with a friend. Earlier that morning, the most perfect snowfall had descended upon Connecticut — enough to lightly coat the branches but not enough to make for a messy commute.

Since we were so close to McLaughlin Vineyards in Sandy Hook and hadn’t been before, we called to see if they were open. Dee Dee, the woman who answered the phone, asked if we had four-wheel drive (we didn’t), but we didn’t have a problem on the driveway.

I can see why she asked though! ImageDee Dee graciously met us at the door when we walked in and brought us back to the tasting room. A little stove happily emitted heat and beautiful tables made out of wine barrels were a nice, rustic touch.


Alright, enough about snow and decor — what about the wine? We had a tasting of the four wines at the vineyard.

  • Blue Coyote: A white wine with hints of green apple and spice — a blend of Vidal Blanc and Aurore grapes
  • Vista Muse: Lemon and grapefruit notes — made of 100 percent Seyval Blanc
  • Snow Goose: A blend of estate white grapes, including Cayuga
  • Merlot: Spicy, with notes of cherry (and served with an awesome chocolate that paired well)

My favorite is the Blue Coyote. It’s an easy pour — it’s not too biting, bitter or overly sweet. Dee Dee told me that Blue Coyote and Snow Goose could be served warm, with spices. They get extra points for that!

Have you been to McLaughlin Vineyards before? What’s your favorite wine? 

I especially loved how everything is local at McLaughlin Vineyards, from the awesome gifts for sale in the shop to the art on the wine labels.

The owl below was made by Lon Smith of Stone Carve Ranch. Smith is based in Woodbury and can be reached at 203-266-9104. Go local!


But the coolest part of the trip was when Dee Dee told us that McLaughlin Vineyards is working on something new — mead! Mead consists of fermented honey and water. She said it’s possible the first batch could be ready in February, so stay tuned!

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CT Pour Tour: Where Todd’s Going & When [Update]


I heard from CT Pour Tour’s Todd Ruggere today, with an updated list on where he’s going and when! Don’t know what CT Pour Tour is? These links will help!

The updated list of towns is after the photo. Here’s the list of spots that have already been scheduled.

If a town has no local restaurant or bar for CT Pour Tour to visit, people are hosting at their homes. One visit is even on a boat!

Towns where Todd needs help with a location: Hartland, Ledyard, Morris, Roxbury and Sherman.

Image Here’s Todd, drinking his first beer of the tour, at Two Roads! (Photo courtesy of Todd Ruggere)

The List of Towns

Andover: Andover Pizza (Jan. 31) *

Ansonia: Crave 102

Ashford: Tavern House * (May 17)

Avon: Lyme Bar

Barkhamsted: Log House

Beacon Falls: New Harvest Restaurant *

Berlin: Sliders (Completed)

Bethany: A person’s home *

Bethel: Greenwood’s Grille

Bethlehem: Nick’s Country Kitchen *

Bloomfield: Thomas Hooker and Back East Brewing Company * (May 16)

Bolton: Three J’s (Jan. 31) *

Bozrah: The Bozrah Moose Lodge

Branford: Thimble Island Brewing Co. (Jan. 18 bus tour: Space still available as of Jan. 12, Click here for more information) * Completed

Bridgeport: Walrus + Carpenter *

Bridgewater: A person’s house

Bristol: Barley Vine and Firefly Hollow Brewing * (May 30)

Brookfield: Rustier Nail

Brooklyn: Hank’s

Burlington: KC Dubliner

Canaan: The Falls Village Inn *

Canterbury: D&G Pizza and Pub *

Canton: LaSalle Market & Deli (April 26) *

Chaplin: Z Best Pizza Restaurant *

Cheshire: C.J. Sparrow Pub & Eatery

Chester: Pattaconk and Six Main Restaurant *

Clinton: Westbrook Lobster *

Colchester: Someone’s house

Colebrook: Knights of Columbus 

Columbia: Z Restaurant (Jan. 31) *

Cornwall: The Wandering Moose

Coventry: Bidwell Tavern (Feb. 23) *

Cromwell: Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar & Grille

Danbury: Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza *

Darien: Darien Social

Deep River: Red House

Derby: Dew Drop Inn and Whiskey’s *

Durham: Time Out Taverne *

East Granby: Gio’s Brick Oven Pizza

East Haddam (Moodus): Hilltop BBQ *

East Hampton: Angelico’s Lake House (June 29) *

East Hartford: Olde Burnside Brewing

East Haven: Overshores Brewing

East Lyme/Niantic: Lyme Tavern 

East Windsor: Broad Brook Brewing Co. *

Eastford: Coriander Cafe & Country Store (BYOB)

Easton: House party 

Ellington: The Hidden Still Bar & Restaurant *

Enfield: The Enfield Tap *

Essex: Griswold Inn *

Fairfield: Colony Grill

Farmington (Unionville): Olive Bar (June 21)

Franklin: Modesto’s Restaurant

Glastonbury: Still working on a location

Goshen: AJ’s Steak & Pizza

Granby: The Cambridge House Brew Pub

Greenwich: Ginger Man *

Griswold: Turning Point Restaurant & Bar

Groton/Mystic: Oyster Club (Jan. 23)

Guilford: Auger’s Irish Pub

Haddam: Tony’s Package Store

Hamden: Mikro Beer BarThe Outer Space, Eli’s on Whitney and Dunn’s Pub *

Hampton: In person’s home (June 8) 

Hartford: City Steam Brewery Cafe/On 20 (March 7) *

Hartland: Fire Department (July 19) 

Harwinton: A person’s house *

Hebron: FennAgain’s Irish Pub & Restaurant *

Kent: Kent Falls Brewing Company and Kingsley Tavern *

Killingly/Dayville: The Lake Tavern and Danielson Sports (May 3)

Killingsworth: June’s Outback Pub (March 2) *

Lebanon: Log Cabin Restaurant

Ledyard: Needs a location (needs help) 

Lisbon: Ruby Tuesday

Litchfield: @ The Corner * (Feb. 22)

Lyme (Niantic): The Lyme Tavern Sports Bar *

Madison: Donahue’s Madison Beach Grille

Manchester: Shea’s American Bar & Grill *

Mansfield (Storrs): Ted’s Bar (Feb. 1)

Marlborough: Boat ride with Rick from Shebeen Brewing Co. *

Meriden: Silver City Sports Bar & Grill

Middlebury: 8 Fifty Wood Fired Pizza and Pies & Pints (April 19) 

Middlefield: Blackbird Tavern 

Middletown: Eli Cannon’s Tap Room (April 15) *

Milford: SBC Restaurant & Brewery (Jan. 18 bus tour: Space still available as of Jan. 12, Click here for more information) * Completed

Monroe: Tavern (Completed)

Montville (Uncasville): Longshots Sports Cafe *

Morris: Needs a location (needs help) 

Mystic/Groton: The Engine Room *

Naugatuck: The Corner Tavern *

New Britain: East Side Restaurant

New Canaan: Fifty Coins Restaurant

New Fairfield: Candlewood Grille

New Hartford: Chatterley’s Restaurant or Portobello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria

New Haven: Anna Liffey’s *

New London: Frank’s/Gaspar’s

New Milford: 1st and 10 Sports Bar & Grill *

Newington: The Brickhouse Bar & Grill

Newtown: My Place Pizza & Restaurant *

Norfolk: Infinity Hall *

North Branford: Doody’s Restaurant

North Canaan: Stateline Pizza *

North Haven: Steel Horse Saloon *

North Stonington (Pawcatuck): Mystic Pizza II

Norwalk: The Ginger Man *

Norwich: Harp & Dragon Pub

Old Lyme: Lenny’s on the Beach

Old Saybrook: Penny Lane Pub (March 27) *

Orange: Prime 16 Tap House + Burgers *

Oxford: Calvary Brewing/Rolando’s (Completed)

Plainfield: New York Pizza Co. * (June 14)

Plainville: J. Timothy’s Taverne *

Plymouth: Chute Gates Steakhouse & Saloon

Pomfret: The Vanilla Bean Café (Completed, Jan.12)

Portland: Winchester Bar & Restaurant * (June 1) 

Preston: Brookside Cafe

Prospect: Senor Pancho’s

Putnam: JD Cooper’s Fine Food & Spirits *

Redding: Redding Roadhouse *

Ridgefield: JoyRidge Cycling Studio and The Hideaway * (Feb. 7) *

Rocky Hill: Wood N’ Tap Bar & Grill (March 24) *

Roxbury: Needs a location (needs help) 

Salem: 2 Brothers Pizza Pub *

Salisbury: At someone’s home

Scotland: At someone’s home (June 8) 

Seymour: Trestle Tavern

Sharon: Sharon Valley Tavern *

Shelton: Bar 140 *

Sherman: Needs a location (needs help) 

Simsbury: Plan B Burger Bar *

Somers: Joanna’s Cafe *

South Windsor: The Mill on the River Restaurant (Completed, Jan. 12)

Southbury: Shadrach’s Restaurant & Pub (Completed)

Southington: Groggy Frogg * (March 12)

Sprague (Baltic): TJ’s Family Restaurant & Catering *

Stafford: Stafford House of Pizza & Restaurant *

Stamford: Coalhouse Pizza *

Sterling: Weidele’s Pizza & Pub

Stonington: The Handlebar Cafe (Pawcatuck) and Beer’d Brewing Co. * (April 5)

Stratford: Two Roads Brewing Co. (Kickoff, completed on Jan. 11)

Suffield: Lucky’s Pub * (July 11)

Thomaston: Holly’s Cafe *

Thompson: Thompson Rod & Gun Club

Tolland: Tavern House Grill * (May 17)

Torrington: Tim’s House for Homebrew Happy Hour, Backstage and Bogey’s Restaurant & Pub (March 22) *

Trumbull: Parallel Post Restaurant

Union: Traveler Restaurant

Vernon: Wood N’ Tap Bar & Grill and Free Spirit Cafe (July 13) *

Voluntown: Two Brothers Country Pub

Wallingford: Knuckleheads (Jan. 18 bus tour: Space still available as of Jan. 12, Click here for more information) * Completed

Warren: The Rooster Tail Inn 

Washington: The White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant

Waterbury: The Hills Restaurant and 1249 Wine Bar (June 6)

Waterford: Filomena’s Restaurant

Watertown: Ordinary Joe’s and Stars and Bars Home Brew * (March 15)

West Hartford: Working on a location 

West Haven: Duffy’s Tavern

Westbrook: Bill’s Seafood *

Weston: Cobbs Mill Tavern

Westport: Little Barn

Wethersfield: Wethersfield Historical Society tasting * (April 12)

Willington: Willington Pizza House *

Wilton: Little Pub *

Winchester: The Swingin’ Parrott Pub * (March 22)

Windham: Willimantic Brewing Co. *

Windsor: Union Street Tavern *

Windsor Locks: Bobby V’s *

Wolcott: Shebeen Brewing (Jan. 18 bus tour: Space still available as of Jan. 12, Click here for more information) * Completed

Woodbridge: New England Brewing Co. (Jan. 18 bus tour: Space still available as of Jan. 12, Click here for more information) * Completed

Woodbury: The Zoo (also known as the Tollgate Inn)

Woodstock: Sherwood’s Restaurant & Bar (Jan. 12) Completed