FREEDOMMMMM

It was ‘Murica’s birthday not too long ago and while typically in the past I haven’t been able to celebrate much if any, I actually had the afternoon free this year! I, of course, worked in the morning but I was excited to come home to my roommates and two of our friends. I feel like Boston is really one of those cities where you can feel the spirit of the day anywhere!

I came home to a whirlwind in our kitchen of my friends making this amazing tri-colored cake decorated like the American flag which was later devoured by hungry drunk bears. Those hungry drunk bears were us, not literal bears for those of you wondering. Feeling like we needed to contribute some snacks, my roommate and I went to the grocery store to pick some stuff up before heading back.

448Arms full of junk food, we made some drinks and played Kings! We didn’t even get halfway through the game before we cracked 3 different drinks in the center and everyone quickly became sufficiently intoxicated. Which was then the signal that we needed to go play beer pong outside, obviously. Now, I’m the queen of beer pong. I just keep sinking cups yet when I’m sober, I can’t shoot to save my life.

449My roommate and I are in the depths of the second game when the neighbors over the fence come outside. Cue Drunkadora, the drunk version of my other roommate, yelling at them to come join us. However…, ITS A FAMILY PICNIC. Oh god, we must’ve looked so awful. I’m wearing the American flag around my neck, my roommate is wearing a dress with a flannel, another friend was rolling around in the grass and we just kept throwing ping pong balls at each other. OOPS. But at least we were listening to a pure American icon- Bruce Springsteen. Can’t beat that!

451Finally we went upstairs and went HAM on all the food. Burgers, sausages, cole slaw, potato salad, seafood salad, chips and dip and of course that delicious cake. I started to sober up when I realized what a mess we had made but it was all in the name of America. Land of the free, home of the brave.

My only regret was that I didn’t go into the city to celebrate! I had a really excellent day with my friends but we didn’t venture down to the Esplanade to watch the fireworks show. Apparently it’s the one to watch! My sister and her boyfriend came to visit for the week and spend the 4th in the city¬† so I’d highly recommend anyone doing the same!

Click to check out the 4th of July website for next years info!

I hope everyone had an amazing time with their friends and family for the holiday! What kind of drunken shenanigans happened to you? SHARE WITH ME! Until then, I’m gonna watch my trashy tv shows and think of more blog posts to write. Check back on Thursday for a Food For Thought post!

Sam Adams Brewery!

My sister and her boyfriend came to Boston for their summer vacation checking off the city on their ballpark tour of America! I spent some time taking them around the city and showing off some of my favorite spots, but they wanted to make sure to do something that I had never done before. Boston is the hometown of Sam Adams beer, and being that it was so close to the 4th of July, what’s more American than visiting the brewery!

433 443Sam Adams Brewery is located off of the Stonybrook T stop on the orange line. Literally only a few minutes walking distance from the stop, there were signs clearly mapping how to find the entrance of the building for all visitors. The Stonybrook T stop is in the middle of Jamaica Plain so if you’re visiting from out of town and driving, there’s also plenty of free parking at the brewery as well as the neighborhoods.

432 435 434Unpopular opinion: I’m not a beer drinker/I just don’t like beer. Which is probably really odd since I work in the food and beverage industry but growing up, I had never been a fan of carbonation. So I don’t drink soda, energy drinks, beer, champagne, the like. I’m weird, I know. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the art of brewing! I took a beverage concentration in college where I took a class totally dedicated to beer and how it’s made so this trip was right up my alley!

We arrived to the tour 5 minutes before it was going to start which was so great. It gave us the chance to peek around the lobby where there were display cases of old memorabilia, trivia questions on the walls, Sam Adams post cards to fill out, brewing magazines and cliche “I was at Sam Adams Brewery” backdrop to take your pictures in front of! Trust me, I find nothing wrong with cliche. The more cliche, the better in my opinion.

445The tour began with a brief history of the company which was surprisingly only started back up in 1985! Named after one of our founding fathers who also indulged in making “craft” beer (he was such a hipster), the company was run by the Koch family who used their favorite recipe concocted by their ancestors from as early as the 1870’s! Sam Adams first started producing only their classic Boston lager but have since branched out and has over 50 varieties sold in all 50 states with production breweries in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and of course Massachusetts.

Our tour guide was really personable and friendly and she really worked the crowd for participation and laughs. She first took us to an open presentation room where I promptly scooted myself to the front to be able to hear her better and really get involved in what she was saying. Standing in front of large wooden barrels, she explained what beer is made of! Any guesses? Here’s an equation to help map it out in short:

Water + Malt + Yeast + Hops = Beer

These four ingredients in a million different varieties, fermenting times, agitation methods, yeast strains, etc etc etc are what make up the thousands of beer found on the market! In the barrels were different kinds of malt. Malted barley is typically the grain used in beer and it can be roasted to different temperatures to achieve a variety of flavors. We tried pale malt which was, guess what, roasted to a light and PALE color; we also tried caramel malt which was most commonly used amongst all Sam Adams beers as well as chocolate malt which was roasted very dark thus tasting more along the lines of coffee or burnt popcorn. All malt is used at different ratios and combinations to make the best beer!

446The last barrel was filled with Cascade hops. No, not hops covered in laundry detergent. But rather it’s just the name of the specific kinds of hops which are added towards the end of the brewing process to add a bittering agent to the beer. From each of the barrels, we were able to eat all three types of malt but were strongly advised against tasting the hops. But instead, to get the essence of the flavor, we rubbed the hops in our hands crinkling them like tissue paper placing the essential oils of the hops on our hands. A deep whiff really gave you a better understanding of hops flavors, but it also makes you look like a fuckin’ weirdo. OH WELL.

437Once this was finished, we stepped back into the fermentation room/functional portion of the brewery with all the fancy machines! The grains get added and mixed with water and yeast. The yeast then feeds on the natural sugars found in the malted grains resulting in carbon dioxide and flavor maturation. The whole process of making and explaining beer is so tedious so I’ll spare you some of my college knowledge. Plus, I just don’t know it off the top of my head so I’d have to go digging through old notebooks and aint nobody got time for that. But basically the beer was soaked in warm water, some of the liquid was then heated hotter to temper in raising the overall cooking temperature of the dish and then the hops are added before it runs through the “whirlpool” which helps to separate the solids from the liquids. The beer then is called “green beer” meaning it was unaged and fermented. None of those carbonated bubbles formed and the flavor is sub-par. At this point, the beer ferments for a handful or more of days and can also be transferred to oak casks to manipulate the flavor even more!

439 440 442The best part of the tour however, was when we went into the tasting room and did a “formal” tasting of three different kinds of beers! We were each given a small Sam Adams glass that also doubled as a souvenir. Pitchers were filled at the front and then passed back allowing each person to decide how much (or in my case, how little) beer they wanted to take. We first tasted their traditional Boston Lager followed by their summer ale and chocolate stout beer. We learned quickly about clarity of a drink and what that means as well all different flavor profiles. We stood in the back which was also a perk because we received half full pitchers of beer that didn’t need to go to anyone else! So we could’ve continued drinking until the pitcher was gone! But we were nice enough to send it back up to the guys who were clearly looking to rage at 11:30 in the morning!

444Overall, the tour only totaled about 45 minutes or so and finished in the gift shop with typical Boston/Sam Adams¬† tchot-keys. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone! It runs purely on donations only and the tours don’t require a reservation so you could continue to go time and time again until you own a personalized set of Sam Adams souvenir glasses for that next party you’re throwing! Check it out if you haven’t already!

Check back Tuesday to see what I did for Independence Day! ‘MURICAAAAAA! Have a great weekend, friends!

Boston Bar Scene

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this post right now given that I’m extraordinarily hungover. Yep, I threw up twice last night. UuuUuUUuUuuuUUuugggggghHHHhhh. I’m surviving though; champing my way through this hangover! It’s not even my fault; I met this group of people at the bar and they just kept buying shots of all these different types of things and who am I to say no? Right? *Crying deep inside for all the bad decisions I made last night*

But I’ve lived in Boston for almost a year now and I’ve frequented a myriad of bars that are definitely cool places to check out. And of course, my list of places I want to try is always growing but I figured I’d share what I know based on area!

Brighton/Allston:

Lulu’s– awesome place for apps and a drink! Get the pretzel bites with cheese cause DAYUUM. They have a pretty decent selection of craft beers too if you’re into that!

Sunset Cantina– Biggest beer selection I’ve ever seen. I was so overwhelmed by the menu and the options but it’s got a pretty cool vibe! You can grab a table or sit at the bar to drink in a pretty casual atmosphere.

White Horse– This is the place that made me a complete wasteoid. They have some billards and pinball games and then a section of the bar turns dance-y later in the night!

Common Ground– I haven’t been here yet, but my roommates always talk about how fun it is! They host Millenial nights and 90’s throwback nights so the music selection is pretty clutch! I need to go sometime soon!

Tavern in the Square (TITS)– TITS is a chain bar in Boston and can be found in a couple different areas. This one in Allston is pretty huge but you get a cool mix of college kids and young post-grads who wish they were still in college (ME) who just wanna drink and dance. It’s pretty casual living in Boston now to hear someone say, “Hey, lets go to TITS. I really can’t wait to dance at TITS”. Maybe it’s just an excuse to say TITS. Heyoooo.

Deep Ellum– Are you a hipster? Do you like craft cocktails and beers? Are you a huge fan of cheese and charcuterie plates? This place is for you. When it’s nice, there a TEENY TINY area in the back to sit on their porch. Also, get the truffle fries. You won’t regret it.

Lonestar Taco Bar– The people who own Deep Ellum (right next door) also own the taco bar. You can get tacos for 3 bucks a pop and try a whole bunch of different funky tacos. You gotta get the charred corn on the cob here too! The bar is mostly focused on tequila based drinks but if you want anything else, they can grab it from the bar next door!

Devlins– This is one of my favorite casual patio bars for the summer time. They have a huge back patio for outside drinking/nomming including a portable bar in the back. It’s a great place to go on a date! (True life, my roommate and I went on a double date there with these guys we met in the park once!)

Cityside– Second favorite patio bar! Apparently this place gets pretty crazy at night as it’s not too far from Boston College, but the roof deck is pretty sweet!

Green Briar– Classic Irish pub. Pretty good clam chowder and onion rings! But cheap drinks and sometimes they host trivia nights or have a DJ play some music at night! Overall, pretty laid back!

Cambridge (Central Square):

People’s Republik– Very communist Russia feel at this bar! They have darts and some pretty cool memorabilia to look at but overall it’s a pretty laid-back, hipster bar.

Other places I want to go are: Miracle of Science, Middle East and MiddleSex.

Rosebud Cafe-This is actually in Davis Square right near Posto! Their service is pretty great; everyone is super friendly! In the mid-price range for drinks although they’re quality cocktails but the menu is pretty good too! The brussel sprouts were amazing! Their dessert menu is all pies too so go in with an appetite! I’d recommend the turtle pie a la mode!

**Sidenote: I work in Cambridge and don’t go back there too often to go out at night but I’ve heard that there are also great places in Harvard Square,Porter Square and Davis Square as well!

Fenway:

Cask N Flagon: This is where I had my Quincenera! It’s definitely a bar/nightclub at night so bring your dancing shoes! Drinks can be on the more expensive side too but it was super fun!

Bleacher Bar: This place was awesome. I went here before a Red Sox game once to grab a pre-game drink and they have windows that look right onto the field. If you get there early enough, you might be able to snag a spot to watch the game for free!

Downtown:

Julep: Drinks here were SO expensive. And there was a cover to get in. But it had two floors with a different music selection on each level which was kinda cool. But it’s in the more expensive part of the city so be prepared to shell out. Definitely more of a nightclub than a bar.

Howl at the Moon: Boston’s piano bar! I tried to go here once but the line was WAY too long to wait in. But I eventually do want to get there to check out the live music and sing the crap out of some throwback songs!

Hopefully these suggestions could come in handy to anyone visiting Boston! Maybe I’ll even run into one of you one night! Food for Thought Thursday post coming up in a couple days! I’m going to go crawl back into my bed and nurse on some water now… Until next time!

L8tr sk8trs!