Top 10 Breweries I Want to Visit

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We’ve all got our wish lists — beers we want to drink, books we want to read, famous people we’d like to have a meal with. (Robert Downey Jr. and Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m looking at you!)

Here’s my brewery wish list — the top 10 spots I want to visit, grouped by the reason why. (As if I need one, am I right?!)

Don’t be shy — I want to know what’s on your wish list too!

Image (Photo credit: weeklydig, via flickr creative commons)

Because their brews fascinate me

Because I love their beers already

Because they came highly recommended

TRVE Brewing Co.

Because I’m a sucker for an awesome logo

So what breweries are you most excited to visit? You know what to do — comment, comment, comment! 🙂

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Let’s Help Black Pond Brews Open a Brewery

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Opening a brewery is no easy task. With the Connecticut craft beer scene growing like it’s been growing over the past year or so, maybe we can help Mike and Cory of Black Pond Brews get their brewery up and running.

The goal? Raise $15,000 in one month. The deadline? March 4. Think we can do it?

Visit the Black Pond Brews page for info on how to donate and check out the sweet rewards for your generosity.

(Video by Alex Hardesty, Photo Credit: Black Pond Brews YouTube video)

Why I Love Used Bookstores

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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: 

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

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Because cats. ‘Nuff said.

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

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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.

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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

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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

Centerpieces

  • 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

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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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McLaughlin Vineyards: A Perfect New England Experience

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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.

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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!

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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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