Tag Archives: Beer

Colorful Craft Cider Breweries!

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Image result for Boston Fall Foliage

Happy October everyone!  The leaves are changing and the weather has gotten a lot cooler over the past few weeks.  This is the season that brings in major changes within the next few months.  Summer may be gone for a while, but now it’s time for the many holidays that are coming up.

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One of my favorite things I look forward to in the fall are pumpkin-spiced beers coated with the caramel-sugar rim.  I wrote about this intriguing drink combo last year (which can be found here) and I still order this drink every once in a while.  Other than the caramel-sugar coated rim, I have been really into hard ciders these days.

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Image result for Cider

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I’ve drank apple cider in the fall as a kid and these hard ciders certainly don’t disappoint.  Drinking cider takes me back to my childhood days in Ipswich when I would take trips to Russell Orchards with my family.  The warm, sweet cider tasted great to wash down those sugary apple cider mini donuts.  It’s these little things that made fall such an amazing season.  Even though I’ve grown up and moved out of Ipswich, I still crave for the taste of cider every now and then.

Image result for Hard Cider

Image result for Hard Cider

Hard cider is like the grown-up version of the cider I drank at Russell Orchards, only this time the cider is mixed with alcohol.  Believe it or not, there’s actually some cider breweries around Massachusetts.  Most of them are within the Boston area and one is right in the North Shore.  Here are a few notable cider breweries to check out in the fall:

Downeast Cider House

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The first cider brewery on the list is Downeast Cider House.  Located in East Boston, Downeast Cider House features various ciders with different fruit blend.  One featured cider to check out is the Pumpkin Blend, which features hints of chai tea and freshly-pressed pumpkin.  Downeast Cider House is a 12-minute stroll from the Maverick Station of the T.  Stop by Downeast Cider House Thursdays-Sundays if you’re ever looking for something around East Boston!

          Prospect Ciderworks

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Located in South End of Boston is Prospect Ciderworks.  While Prospect Ciderworks isn’t open to the public, they do offer private tours on a case-by-case basis.  One notable cider to check out is Paradise, a cider featuring orange peel and grains of paradise.  This cider is steeped with grains of paradise and orange peel after being fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast.  Be sure to look out for Prospect Ciderworks if you’re ever in the South End area of Boston.

          Far From The Tree Craft Hard Cider

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Image result for Far From The Tree Cider Apple of my Chai

Image result for Far From The Tree Cider Apple of my Chai

One cider brewery that is farther north of Boston is Far From The Tree Cider in Salem.  Far From The Tree Cider is just less than one mile from the Salem Train Station.  Apple of My Chai (black-tea cider with clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and an orange peel) and Ectoplasm (green bell pepper, jalapeno, and kiwi) are some notable choices to pick from.  Other than their flavorful ciders, Far From The Tree features weekly events as well.  Some of their daily events include Trivia Night w/ Captain Crew on every 1st/3rd Monday and even Video Game Night every Tuesday.  Swing by Far From The Tree Cider if you’re ever in Salem searching for a good cider and some fun!

          Bantam Cider Company

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Residing within the Boston neighborhood of Somerville is Bantam Cider Company.  Bantam Cider Company is open Friday-Sunday for tours and can be found within Somerville’s Union Square area.  One of their notable ciders include Rojo, a cider aged with sour cherries and black peppercorns to create a spicy fruity aroma.  Stop by Bantam Cider Company if you’re ever strolling through Somerville one day.

          Artifact Cider Project

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Image result for Artifact Cider Project

Just west of Downeast Cider House is Artifact Cider Project in Everett.  Artifact Cider Project features six ciders to choose from that feature some funky designs.  One cider that got my attention was Perception Shift (both for its intriguing art work and the cider flavor itself).  Perception Shift blends American and European cidermaking traditions to create this bittersweet cider flavor.  You can find Artifact Cider Project on tap in various restaurants/bars in Boston.  Check out the Artifact Cider Project brewery in Everett.

That’s the list of cider breweries within the Boston area.  Those leaves aren’t falling any slower, so now’s the time to check out one of five cider breweries.  Whether you’re craving a cider with a summer feel or grabbing a cider while playing video games, there’s a cider brewery for everyone.

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Check out these amazing cider breweries in the Boston area.  Happy Fall!


Get Your Craft on at DIY Bar!

Image result for Boston Bars

Image result for Boston Bars

One of the things I love most about Boston is the eclectic choices of bars around the city.  Some bars specialize on craft beers (my personal favorite kind of brews!) while others shift their focus towards a product strategy.  Either way, there’s always some random spot I haven’t drank at that I have to check out.

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With so many choices to choose from, the intriguing part is discovering what makes them tick.  Just a few nights ago I went into this awesome place called Four Winds Bar & Grill that had that neighborhood feel where the people would remember you.  Not only was the food amazing, but the bartenders were so friendly that I stayed a few more minutes after finishing my meal!  On a random note, I’ll post up a list of neighborhood bars around Boston if I find more.

Image result for Salem MA Bars

Image result for Boston Bars

Back to my point, cities like Boston or Salem have those unique restaurant or bars that customers remember.  Whether it is simply rotating drinks or having live music, there’s always some unique selling point that will keep your customers staying longer.  Audiences stay longer when there is an interesting theme within the bar.  Boston sure has some vivid bar themes, but a Portland, Oregon has a bar with a DIY theme.

Image result for DIY Bar Portland Oregon

Nestled on 3522 North Vancouver Avenue is DIY Bar, a joint specializing in beers and craft projects.  DIY Bar opened in Spring 2017, a place where customers can choose from a variety of craft projects to work on while sipping on their favorite wine, cider, or beer.  Projects range from easy to hard and take about 1-3 hours to complete.  It’s the perfect joint to get your craft on while sipping on your favorite brew!

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DIY Bar definitely has a great unique selling point here!  The USP of providing fun crafts to do will pull audiences into the establishment, having them stay longer and drink more.  Other than the drinks, it’s a great craft place to socialize with other patrons about their work as well.  While the price may be high ($39 for each project!), it would definitely be worth checking out.

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We need more places like DIY Bar around this country.  What makes it so special is the USP of doing craft projects while drinking with your friends.  This is definitely a place I could see myself going with my friends in the future.

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This sounds like an awesome place!  I’ve been to bars that had arcade games (BitBar Salem and A4cade in Cambridge!), but this idea sounds really captivating.  Not sure if something like this is around Boston, but this would definitely fit well with the city.  As a matter of fact, Boston should think about establishing a bar with a writing theme to it (lots of famous writers started in Boston, FYI!).

Image result for Unique Bar

Image result for Unique Bar

There’s always some grand idea that’s part of the USP for a bar.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box to pinpoint your main theme for your audiences.  A bar or restaurant isn’t nothing without some USP that would distinguish itself from the competition (otherwise it’ll become another monotonous chain restaurant!).

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With that, I’m so grateful to stumble upon this awesome gold I dug up in the internet.  DIY Bar is definitely something to check out if you enjoy completing DIY craft projects.

Denver’s Restaurant/Bar Mile ‘High’ Club

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There’s been a lot of excitement in the entertainment industry over the past few weeks.  Recreational cannabis use was made legal for 4 more states, the adult film industry protected itself against Prop 60 in California (more on their victory here), and many incredible video game titles are being released next year.  It may not have been a major victory for the democratic party, but the entertainment industry has certainly been gaining more victories.  Cannabis has been celebrating milestone victories this year, especially in the Mile High City.

Last month, Denver became the first city to allow cannabis use in restaurants and bars.  This a progressive move in for Colorado, a state that legalized cannabis use 4 years ago!  There are two catches to the law:  One catch is that smoking cannabis will NOT be allowed inside and the other is that the locations would have to get the approval of neighbors before anything happens.

So before anybody starts toking up before their meal, bars/restaurants would prove they have neighborhood support before acquiring a license for such use.  Another rule to be aware of is that patrons are required to bring their own cannabis with them at the bar or restaurant they dine at.  This is part of the state law revolves around banning pot, food, and drinks being sold at a single location.  It isn’t really a big hiccup because this law helps dissolve business brands from losing their core identity of what they provide for their audience.

Besides restaurants/bars, businesses such as yoga studios or art galleries would be permitted to allow cannabis use if they decide to do so.  These yoga/art studios would be able to provide pot-smoking areas or hold events where they provide food, cannabis, and drinks.  These systems will become much more restrictive than what we see with the alcohol industry.  Our only rule with alcohol is that there’s very few places to consume openly in public (some examples of places you CAN consume are New Orleans and Las Vegas).

This progressive initiative may provide some benefits, but it also comes with some challenges as well.  Colorado is one of the pioneering states (as well as Washington State!) that first made cannabis legal, meaning that all eyes are glued towards their social experiment.  Employees of the cannabis industry are walking on egg shells, keeping things in check to prevent a statewide PR nightmare from happening.  Favor of recreational use of cannabis in America may be at an all-time high, but there are still major opponents out to shut down the 4/20 parties.

Another challenge that comes into play is tapping into various audiences for businesses.  This initiative will cause businesses to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.  On the one hand, businesses will be pressured to allow cannabis consumption in order to tap into that niche audience.  That niche audience is essential for increasing awareness, profits, publicity, and other benefits to help drive their business further.

On the other hand, there are the patrons who enter the restaurant/bar that don’t want cannabis consumption around.  These people could take their business elsewhere, thus driving away those former customers that made the business what is today.  There has to be some line drawn where both audiences could be satisfied and minimal damage is done in the business’s representation.

In the end, what’s the solution to Denver’s PR dilemma?  Could 4/20-friends/enemies drink and dine harmoniously in the same place without any social controversy?  Would there be exceptions to consuming cannabis outside since using inside is still illegal?

I do think there is a way for Denver to have their cake and eat it too.  They can drive their business further by allowing 4/20-friendly audiences and still keep their former audiences from taking their business elsewhere.  If employees drum up a good strategy to allow fluent options for both audiences, then Denver can generate some good publicity for their city.  The Mile High city may be flourishing through the cannabis industry, but one wrong move could keep the state grounded from progressing any further.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come as a country after legalizing cannabis use in 2012.  We are progressing a new industry that is met with a large demand for these cannabis products and the supplies have been flying off the shelves.  Like I mentioned in the introduction, it has been a watershed victory for the entertainment industry within the past few weeks.  This is just the beginning of what will become a mainstream industry that will cause a major rift in how companies do business in the future.

I guess what they say is true: money DOES grow on trees!


Fall Favorite: Pumpkin-Spiced Ale with Cinnamon-Sugar Coated Rim

Last month I went to Breakaway for the PRSSA ‘Painting Under the Influence’ event.  This was my first time going into the restaurant, so naturally I was curious about what food and drinks they had there.  Breakaway served the typical pub food like burgers, pizza, pasta, chicken tenders, and other good things to eat for dinner.  The restaurant also provided some interesting craft beers to choose from for your meal.

One drink item on the menu that stood out to me was a ‘pumpkin-spiced beer with sugar rim’.  Reading the order made me curious to try it out, so I ordered the drink with Shipyard Ale before heading to the paint room.  As I sat down towards my easel, I had some sips of what would be the BEST thing I ever tasted that night.  Drinking Shipyard Ale is one thing, but this drink order was AMAZING.  I didn’t know which part I liked better: the Shipyard Ale itself or the light-brown cinnamon sugar that was coated on the glass.

Now I’m sure this drink order has been out for a while, but this was the first time that I tasted this masterpiece.  Here’s how the order works: you order a pumpkin-spiced ale (whether it be Shipyard Ale or Sam Adams Oktoberfest).  The waiter/waitress will ask if you want the sugar-coated rims, which is what you are looking for with the order.  Only thing left is to take a sip and enjoy the cinnamon-sugar coat on your favorite pumpkin-spiced beers.

I love drinking pumpkin-spiced ales during the fall, but this simple idea raised the bar even further.  This is one of those simple marketing techniques that is cheap and would be popular among customers.  It involves one of the most basic ingredients (cinnamon sugar) and makes the drink taste that much better.  Honestly, I would compare this awesome technique to providing whipped cream and a cherry on top of a hot-fudge Sundae.  Even though I am not a kid anymore, I would still enjoy some desert with my beer.  Other restaurants I have been to that provide this option were Renzo’s in Revere Beach and the Porthole Restaurant on the Lynnway.

If you go into a restaurant that provides this amazing option, I HIGHLY recommend getting it.  Drinking pumpkin-spiced ales with cinnamon sugar coated rim is a sugary experience that you will never forget.  All cinnamon lovers should drive over to the nearest pub/restaurant for this tasty brew order.  While we have a month and a half left of fall, I would love for this drink to be available for the winter (I just love it THAT much!).

This was an amazing drink order I just had to rave about for everyone.  Not only is the order delicious, but it’s an excellent way for promoting pumpkin-spiced ales within the food/beverage industry.  Little things like coating glasses with cinnamon sugar are what will drive more customers into your restaurant/bar.  People usually order Margarita with sugar-coated rims, but this idea would target audiences that love pumpkin-spiced ales.

If I were a customer at a restaurant that served this option, I would definitely come back to the place.  Excellent customer service is always great, but the cinnamon-sugar coated rims go the extra mile in terms of creativity.  I now have a new favorite thing I look forward to in the fall: pumpkin-spiced ale with cinnamon-sugar coated rim.


BitBar Salem

Salem is a fun city to roam around in during the day.  Home of the historic Salem Witch Trials, this city provides lots of fun restaurants and shops to poke through with your friends and family.  Because of its popularity surrounding the famed event, Salem has become a popular hotspot on Halloween.  In fact, the whole month of October is booming with tourists from all across the country to get a taste of the witchcraft that go on around the streets.  I should know how amazing Salem is because I graduated from Salem State University not too long ago!

Being that Salem State University is mere steps away from downtown, Salem brings in a great crowd of young adults who want to go bar crawling at night.  Restaurants like Opus and In a Pig’s Eye provide unique dining selections for friends and family.  One popular spot that opened up last month was BitBar Salem.  When I found out that it was an arcade restaurant/bar, I just HAD to check this place out!

BitBar Salem is located on 50 St. Peter street and is set within the old jail house.  This unique bar provides over 30 classic arcade games for you and your friends to enjoy.  The main entrance features 2 long tables within the middle and arcade machines within the side of the building.  A bar area is set up to the right to grab your favorite beer or cocktails while you play your favorite games.  There is a small room to your right that features even more games and another small bar area as well.  An outdoor patio area is available if your finger gets tired from all of the button mashing.

Some classic titles include Galaga, Altered Beast, Mortal Kombat II, Donkey Kong, and many other nostalgic games.  Pinball machines like Hook are also around for those pinball wizards that want to challenge their friends in friendly competitions.  Best part about the arcade aspect?  ALL of the games available take one quarter!

BitBar Salem also comes with a menu featuring comfort food to enjoy.  Some food to snack on include flavored popcorn or BBQ Bit Sticks that are grass-fed beef jerky from the Walden Local Meat Company.  Notable sandwiches include the Elk Burger, a burger featuring smoked cheddar and bacon served on a Doughssant with black garlic icing.  A wide range of beers and cocktails are available at the bar.  One notable dessert on the menu is the Doughssant with maple bourbon bacon frosting and orange jam.  Foodies are sure to enjoy the eclectic range of options available on the menu!

I had an amazing time at BitBar Salem!  This was a great arcade restaurant and I would definitely come back again soon.  Arcade bars are hard to find these days, so it was great to find one so close to my home.  BitBar was a unique experience that blends classic arcade games inside a restaurant with American comfort food at your service.  It was so fun playing these nostalgic games that were created decades ago.  Hopefully there will be new games put in every once in a while.  If you are looking for a fun restaurant with lots of classic arcade games, I highly recommend checking this place out.  So grab your roll of quarters and head on over to BitBar Salem!