Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of checking out the newest beer tour in New England, Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours. Based out of Boston, Pints of Portsmouth is a Boston-to-Portsmouth, New Hampshire beer tour inspired by the San Francisco-to-Napa wine tours in California.  It’s not surprising that Allo Gilinsky, the founder of Pints of Portsmouth, hails from Northern California.

Joining the ranks of Boston transplants, Allo and his innovative craft beer tour is a perfect fit for Boston. Shuttling up to 20 beer lovers to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and back, the all-day tour includes visits, tours, and tastings at 4 breweries, lunch, water, and a Pints of Portsmouth beer koozie. Allo guides the tour, providing a itinerary and background information on the breweries.

boston to portsmouth beer tour

I was invited with my friend Jodi on the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour last weekend with a group of known beer lovers and bloggers. At 9:30 on Saturday morning, we met the group and luxury shuttle bus outside of the conveniently located Assembly Square T Station. Allo greeted us with a huge smile, detailed itinerary, and gift bags on our seats. I was immediately impressed with the attention to detail that went into the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours—koozies, social media reference guide, and name tags to boot!

pints of portsmouth beer tour

The 45 minute drive to Portsmouth flew by and before I knew it we were at our first stop: Smuttynose Brewery. The famous brewers of Finestkind IPA and Old Brown Dog, two of my favorite local beers, Smuttynose has a beautiful new brewery which they opened in 2014. All of the beer is brewed on site in the green, sustainable facility.

smuttynose brewery

Upon arrival we were greeted with Smuttlabs‘ newest beer, Smoked Cherry Short Weiss. If you’re a sour beer lover, this limited release is a must-try! The tour showed us everything from the bags of malt and fermenters to the bottling line. After the tour we got to taste 4 additional beers, all of which were delicious.

smuttynose brewery

Easily excitable when it comes to new beer, I took home a box of assorted sours, including the Smoked Cherry Short Weiss. Pints of Portsmouth has a cooler on board in case you purchase chilled beer and plenty of room for any other beer that you purchase.

smuttynose brewery

Photo by Fest Pics

The next stop on our Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour was to a brewery unfamiliar to  this beer geek—Earth Eagle Brewings, known for their Gruit style of unhopped beers. We tasted 3 more beers over a lunch of sandwiches and nachos. I particularly enjoyed their White Light Gruit Herbed Ale.

earth eagle brewing portsmouth

Photo by Fest Pics

earth eagle brewing

Our third brewery of the day was Beara Irish Brewing Company. An unassuming brewery located amongst a cluster of stores, Beara offered us a tasting of 3 beers including a Java Stout, a Maple Wheat, and an Irish Stout.

beara irish brewing company portsmouth

The fourth and final stop on the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour was at Throwback Brewery. Owned and operated by two women, Throwback stole my heart with their founder story, beautiful farmhouse brewery, and collaborative efforts with local farmers in both their beer and food. I highly recommend the poutine-yum!

throwback brewery new hampshire

Owner Nicole Carrier set a private space for our group in a partitioned area. Seated between stainless steel tanks of beer, she explained the name and local ingredients behind each beer including Merry! Happy! Dreid-Ale, a ginger flavored beer, and an IPA called Donkey-Hote named in honor of the late donkey they inherited when they purchased the property.

pints of portsmouth beer tour boston

After a long day that flew by, it was time to hit the road and get back to Boston. We arrived back around 6pm safe and sound and with a newfound appreciation for the beers of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

If you’re looking for a fun beer-themed day trip from Boston, I highly recommend Pints of Portsmouth. The company offers several tours as well as custom tours which makes it the perfect gift for the beer lover in your life or a fun outing for birthday parties, reunions, bachelor/ette parties, and more.

While my trip was compliments of Pints of Portsmouth, this is a tour that I would gladly pay for. The day-long trip is priced at $110 and includes tours and tastings of 4 breweries, a designated driver to shuttle you around, water, and a koozie—a great deal for an awesome experience!

Special thanks to Allo from Pints of Portsmouth and Mike Johnson of FestPics for the tour and photos.

Halloween Weekend in Boston

This past weekend I celebrated Halloween for the first time in almost three years. In previous years I was too busy with work or hurricanes to deal with the whole “Halloween thing” but this year was different. My boyfriend is super into Halloween and since dressing up is always more fun when you do it with someone else, we went all out. We decorated the house with spider webs and fake spiders (that never ceased to startle me despite having put them up myself), gorged ourselves on candy, and cheesed it up with a couples costume at two different parties.

Halloween was the perfect excuse to wear the expensive bodice that I bought at King Richard’s Faire in September so my boyfriend and I chose to dress up as pirates. After several trips to H&M, Party City, and a bag of clothes that I had designated for Goodwill, our costumes were set. We started off the weekend with an intellectual and exceedingly long discussion about the proper spelling of pirate speak (“Arrr!”  vs. “Arrgh!”), as social media captions require consistency, resulting in my eventual agreement upon “Arrr!” as the proper pirate expression.

pirate couples costume

After capitulating on grammar, we kicked off the weekend with friends at a Halloween Party at WeWork, a startup co-working space by South Station. By the time we arrived, the party, which was open to members of the co-working space and their guests, was off the hook. Filled with some of Boston’s most talented employees, it wasn’t surprising to see creative costumes that broke the mold of the “sexy [insert anything here]” getups.

Saturday afternoon, I dressed up with Caitlin and friends at Townsman for Halloween brunch.  I turned myself into a scarecrow which is by far the easiest last minute Halloween costume ever.

scarecrow diy costume

The Leather District restaurant hosts brunch only once a month and keeps the exclusive menu under wraps. I had been to Townsman over the summer for drinks and charcuterie, which was great, but I was blown away by the brunch. I ordered a fabulous Bloody Mary that was perfect alongside the chicken fried hanger steak and eggs.

townsman boston restaurant brunch menu

townsman boston brunch

Halloween night, my boyfriend and I explored Marlborough Street in Back Bay, which was shut down to traffic and full of trick-or-treaters. My favorite house in the neighborhood puts on an awesome Halloween display, complete with headstones and professional theatrics in their corner garden. The family who owns the house sets up their garage for trick-or-treating families every year. This year they served mini meatball subs and chicken nuggets, had a soda and wine bar, and a candy table guarded by a real life costumed werewolf who grabbed my hand and scared the life out of me when I went for some candy! If you’re hanging out in Back Bay next year, check out the house with the crowd on Marlborough and Dartmouth.

halloween house back bay

After stuffing our faces with mansion food, my boyfriend and I joined Caitlin and her boyfriend at Highball Lounge’s neon Halloween party. Big fans of Highball, a few weeks ago I saw via Instagram that they were giving away 4 tickets to their party so I tagged Caitlin in the contest and she won! The four of us enjoyed freakishly good whisky drinks made by Tomas.

highball lounge halloween

Photo by Caitlin

Around 9pm the house lights went down and the black lights came out, showing off the neon decor and bartenders’ skeleton costumes. There’s nothing quite like a party at Highball Lounge and Halloween was no exception.

highball boston halloween

Photo by @rkonly

Sunday brunch at Met Bar in Back Bay brought a much-needed recovery in the form of breakfast fries with a fried egg. If you like fries and don’t care about your cholesterol or a diet, then I highly recommend this delicious dish. Be warned, the portion is huge and easily split between two people who like to share fries or will otherwise feed a greedy blogger for three days.

met back bay brunch

That’s a wrap, now it’s officially the winter holiday season!

Little Big Town Concert in Boston with Hampton by Hilton

I mentioned in my last post that I have attended 8 concerts in Boston this summer. The 9th and final concert this summer wrapped up just before Labor Day with the Little Big Town show.

I love Little Big Town so when I was approached by the good folks at Hampton by Hilton to be an Ultimate Seekender and attend the concert as part of their We Go Together Ultimate Summer Tour sweepstakes I was happy to participate. Collaborating with Live Nation, Hampton by Hilton hosted the sweepstakes to give 4 lucky winners tickets and a VIP experience to chart-topping acts like Kelly Clarkson and Brad Paisley.

little big town tour boston

I received 5 tickets to attend the Little Big Town concert at Boston’s Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. I brought 3 of my closest blogger friends (Kate, Jodi, and Alli) and my boyfriend, all of whom were already fans of Little Big Town. The evening of the concert was a beautiful end-of-summer night in Boston—clear skies with just enough of a breeze off the Seaport to require a light jacket.

little big town bank of american pavilion boston

We arrived at the concert as Ashley Monroe took the stage, performing songs from her new album The Blade. Country bad boy, David Nail, followed, taking us down his long road of mistakes and redemption.  While the songs are heavy, the vulnerability with which he sings has stuck with me since I first heard “Let it Rain.”

Our seats were in the uncovered portion of the Pavilion around a table, a nice change from the jungle gym of rows of seats in the main concourse. One of my favorite things about concerts is sitting outside enjoying music with friends. These seats enabled us to relax, munch on snacks, and enjoy each other’s company on the beautiful night.

little big town boston

Photo Credit: Country 102.5 WKLB

Little Big Town took the stage just as the temperatures started to drop so we were happy to be able to stand up and dance. Another benefit of these seats was being able to dance without having to worry about blocking another concert goer’s view. The band was awesome and the energy in the venue was great. They performed songs from their Painkiller album as well oldies like “Boondocks” and “Tornado” that hooked me years ago.  Little Big Town ended their 2 hour set with their latest mega-hit “Girl Crush” and their summer-fun song “Pontoon.”

little big town concert

As part of my experience as an Ultimate Seekender, I was encouraged to seize the weekend. To me that meant living it up and purchasing some concert merchandise, something that I rarely do at concerts. Long lines turn me away but I made an exception for this one because I was with my friends on a beautiful night and we ALL wanted some of Little Big Town’s fun merchandise. The hands-free koozies that we bought were super convenient to use while dancing at the concert and will be perfect for summer days on the water next year.

My Ultimate Seekender experience was the perfect ending to a fun summer of great concerts with friends and loved ones. Thank you Hampton by Hilton for the opportunity to be an Ultimate Seekender and attend the Little Big Town show as part of the We Go Together Ultimate Summer Tour.

Disclosure: I was hosted by Hampton by Hilton to attend the Little Big Town concert in Boston as an Ultimate Seekender to share my weekend experiences on my social media as well as on this blog. The opinions expressed belong to me and are not indicative of the Hampton by Hilton or their partners.

Lovesac Event at the Liberty Hotel

Last week I had the opportunity to lounge on couches and drink cocktails with friends and other fabulous people. While I sometimes drink on my couch with people who I would consider pretty great, I’m talking about an event sponsored by Lovesac at Boston’s Liberty Hotel.

lovesac event liberty hotel

Lovesac is  furniture company like no other, bringing the beanbag chair to another level with their pillow-like Sacs and revolutionizing the sectional with their line of Sactionals. My blogger bestie Caitlin and I joined fellow bloggers Elissa and Liz (pictured below) and others for a night of chatting and lounging and picture taking with Lovesac founder Shawn Nelson. Shawn’s a dad of 4 who invented the nearly indestructible Lovesac, Sactional, and the Footsac. All attendees of the event went home with a Footsac, which is pretty much the most comfortable blanket in the world with a pocket for your feet!

lovesac boston sactional event

I had seen the Sacs before but was blown away by the Sactional couches. Boasting a wide variety of colors and styles, the Sactionals can be arranged and rearranged in nearly any permutation that you can imagine. They’re also good for jumping, if you have kids or enjoy acting like a 5 year old.

lovesac sactionalLovesac sponsored the event to create a buzz about their partnership with Gentle Giant Moving Company for Boston’s Annual Moving Day of September 1st. That’s today, so if you’re moving, mention your struggle on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #MovingDayLove and you could win big!

Attendance at this event and the Footsac I went home with were compliments of Lovesac, but all opinions and couch love are my own. 

Girls’ Night Out at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Last weekend I had the opportunity to have a girls’ night out with my blogger bestie, Caitlin, at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.  Foxwoods hosted us for the evening with dinner at The Scorpion Bar and tickets to see the famed Vegas male revue show, Thunder From Down Under. The evening came at the perfect time in the summer when Boston is filled with tourists and the temperatures exceed 90 degrees. Our evening at Foxwoods was a fun-filled reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.

We drove down to Connecticut after work with just enough time to check into the Hilltop Inn & Suites (the luxury rooms at Foxwoods were a bit out of our budget), throw on some heels, and hop on the free shuttle to Foxwoods. Although we could have spent the evening at Foxwoods and driven back to Boston, Caitlin and I opted to spend the night near the casino so that we could enjoy our night more—and enjoy we did!

The Scorpion Bar

Caitlin and I started our girls’ night out at The Scorpion Bar at Foxwoods, a tequila cantina. It was National Tequila Day and I took full advantage of the holiday, choosing one of over 100 tequilas available at the restaurant.

No strangers to delicious Mexican style food, Caitlin and I started off with the standard but delicious tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole. We each ordered an entrée—”Hot” Barbacoa Tacos for me and the Mexican Chopped Salad with steak for Caitlin. The tacos were tender and full of rich spicy flavor. Caitlin extolled the flavors of her salad and although I trust her judgment of food, I just can’t get on board with lettuce. We split a side of the tasty yucca fries that were the perfect accompaniment to our entrées. For the price, the portions at The Scorpion Bar are huge, making it the perfect pre-show dinner spot.

hot barbacoa tacos scorpion bar foxwoods

Thunder From Down Under

Tickets to Thunder From Down Under were waiting for us at will call where we noticed women lining up for the general admission show over an hour before curtain. If you want to get front row seats, it’s a good idea to get there early but, as we experienced, almost every seat in the house had a chance to see the show up close and personal.

Caitlin and I opted to walk around the beautiful Foxwoods instead of waiting in line, scoping out David Burke Prime and High Rollers before grabbing some Manhattans at Cedars Restaurant. The bartenders were super friendly, talking and laughing with us as we excitedly talked about our expectations of the show. Neither of us had seen a male revue show, let alone one touring from Vegas, and we were giddy in anticipation.

cocktails cedars foxwoods

Thunder From Down Under was performed at the intimate Fox Theater. The house was nearly packed with bachelorettes, birthday girls, and excited women when Caitlin and I arrived. We happened upon Dayna, the Theater Manager and Entertainment Coordinator, who ushered us into reserved seats (thank you Foxwoods!) in the center section of the theater. Although any seats in the venue would have given us a prime view,  these seats were incredible!

fox theater foxwoods

As far as the show goes, it was an experience that I won’t soon be forgetting! The men of Thunder From Down Under can dance and move like none other (except perhaps Channing Tatum). They were gorgeous, with chiseled abs and tanned skin, and knew how to work a crowd. If you’re going to see Thunder From Down Under and want to get your hands on a hunk, make sure to snag an aisle seat. The performers use the whole theater, running up and down the aisles to dance for audience members seated further back.

Dylan, the Master of Ceremonies, was hilarious and kept the audience on their toes. An interactive experience, some audience members were picked to come up on stage to participate. Having had a participatory experience with a male dancer at a sorority event in college, I was not one of the throngs of screaming women vying to get up on stage. Those who did end up in the spotlight seemed to love it!

thunder from down under foxwoods

After the show the audience had the chance to take pictures with Thunder From Down Under. The line was long so Caitlin and I opted to go dancing at The Scorpion Bar. The DJ was pumping great beats and we laughed and danced until the bar closed.

If you’re looking for a bachelorette, birthday, divorce party, or just a fun girls’ night out, I would highly recommend going to Foxwoods Resort Casino for a night of awesome entertainment. Thank you to Foxwoods for a great night!

Tickets to the show and part of dinner mentioned in this post were provided free of charge by Foxwoods Resort Casino.