Posts Tagged by CT

Connecticut Brewers Fest 2014 at Two Roads Brewing Company

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Connecticut is becoming a hot bed for craft breweries.  They seem to be popping up everywhere and each one has some very unique offerings.  Last night one of my favorite local breweries, Two Roads Brewing Company, hosted the Connecticut Brewers Fest where over 20 breweries came together under one roof for an epic tasting!

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Two Roads is located in a huge 100 year old factory in Stratford, CT.  The first floor houses the brewery and the second floor is home to huge tasting room and event space. Many of the details of the original building were kept intact and you get the feeling of stepping back into the industrial era when you walk through the doors.   

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After checking in, I received an awesome glass to commemorate the event and use as my tasting glass for the evening.  I headed into the first room where there were about 12 to 15 tasting tables set up.  The first brewery I saw was Thimble Island Brewing Company out of Branford.  I’ve enjoyed their American Ale on many occasions, so I decided to try the Coffee Stout this time and YUM!  This is a beer made for the colder months ahead and served with a good beef stew.  I was off to a good start.  

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I moved on to try a Cannoli Ale from Shebeen Brewing in Wolcott, Arch Amber from the Hartford Better Beer Co. and the 203 Lager from a new brewery opening up in Branford called Stony Creek.  I enjoyed them all, except that the Cannoli Beer was a bit sweet for my taste…kind of like a scotch ale.

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I was happy to find one of Connecticut’s newest breweries and a personal favorite of mine, Black Hog Brewing Company.  You might recall that I attended their opening back in August and have been excited to try their new concoctions ever since.  Here they were sampling a new Rosemary Dunkelweizen which I had never heard of before, but the rosemary peaked my interest.  I was happy to find this to be a delicious dark wheat beer with many herbal undertones.  Can I have a whole pint please?

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I moved into the main tasting room where there were about 10 more tables set up, as well as the giant Two Roads bar where you could taste their entire selection.  This room also overlooks the brewery floor where people were still hard at work bottling.  Seriously, this place is massive…

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As I’m sure you can tell by now, I prefer the darker, maltier beers to the hoppy IPAs.  IPAs are really big among craft beer lovers, but I just find them a bit to bitter for me.  There was a large crowd gathered around the Beer’d Brewing Co. table (love the name!) which meant they probably had a great selection.  However there were only IPAs available to taste.  I tried the L.I. Connection which I was told was the maltiest of the bunch, but I didn’t really enjoy it as I expected.  But Beer’d did take the prize for best logo and taps 🙂

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I sought out a few more beers I might enjoy and found quite a few good contenders among the other breweries.  There was the Octoberfest Ale and Season of the Witch from Broad Brook Brewing Company in East Windsor, Weed Amber Ale from the newly operating Weed Company in Cheshire, and one of my favorites from the night Emily’s Chocolate Coconut Porter from Firefly Hollow Brewing Co. in Bristol. Oh man was that delicious!!

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My last stop was to the Two Roads bar to finally get a taste of their Rosemary’s Baby Pumpkin Ale.  I had see the poster for the beer earlier in the year and had been looking forward to trying it.  I’m not a huge pumpkin fan but this was really good.  Had more of a vanilla cinnamon flavor to it…big win!

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Before leaving I checked out some of the merchandise from the Two Roads shop and from the CT Beer Trail table.  Yes, there is a Beer Trail in CT and yes, you should definitely check it out!  There were a lot of fun shirts but I showed some restraint…

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On my way out I took a look at the three food trucks that were set up outside for the event.  The Local Meatball, Bounty and Lobstercraft.  Two Roads has a different food truck visit each day and you can bring it all inside to enjoy with your beer…pretty cool.  The hot buttered lobster roll was hard to pass up, but I had dinner waiting at home so I kept on walking…sigh…

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This was a really fun event and kudos to Two Roads for hosting all of these breweries that are essentially their competition.  It goes to show how great the brewery community is here in CT.

Do you have any local breweries you enjoy in your areas?  What is your favorite beer?

**I was invited to attend this event but was not required to write a review.  All opinions are my own and I  just LOVE good beer**

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Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Weeks 8 – 10

Ready for 3 weeks for delicious veggies and good eats?!  I missed out on week 8 since I was in California which is a bummer since it was full off beets, corn and local blueberries. Well Disneyland and the Games more than made up for it 🙂  

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Week 9 brought some new items and bunch of things I couldn’t eat like squash and cukes. I took home Yukon Potatoes, Lettuce, Broccoli and Purple Scallions.  

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Keira grabbed up the rest, along with some white pickling cukes which is apparently sweeter than the more traditional green variety.  And then she made pickles…YUM!

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Man I really wish I could eat those…I LOVE pickles!  I hate that cucumbers hate me.  Can’t wait to hear how they turn out.

Week 10 has been my favorite week so far.  Not only did we get the a bounty of summer’s best, but it was also a fruit week!  

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This basket was HUGE!  There were 8 ears of corn that I split with Keira and a huge bag of plums that we split as well. On top of that I took home the carrots, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and some of the other fruit.

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In our weekly email, there was a recipe suggestion for carrot top pesto.  Hmmmmm.  I’ve always just discarded carrot tops so this sounded like an interesting use for them.  I adapted the recipe a bit and was actually surprised at how good it turned out!  Here’s the recipe with a few changes:

Carrot Top Pesto
Yields 1
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups lightly packed carrot tops that have been rinsed well and patted dry (discard the thicker bottom parts of the greens)
  2. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  3. 8-10 basil leaves
  4. 3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  5. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  7. ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
  8. 1/4 cup water
  9. 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except for the olive oil and water into your food processor and pulse until you get a coarse paste. Slowly drizzle the water into the processor, then do the same with the olive oil as you pulse the pesto until you get the consistency of a coarse puree.
Notes
  1. The amount of olive oil will vary based on the consistency you want.
Adapted from Sarah McGovern (RAD Living)
Adapted from Sarah McGovern (RAD Living)
RAD Living http://www.rad-living.com/
I was surprised at how great this is.  Who knew?!?  I mixed the pesto with the tomatoes I had and some mozzarella for a delicious salad!

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Oh that delicious plate of BBQ up there?  The tomato pesto salad went great with a pork butt that I smoked and a cole slaw I made with the carrots, scallions and kohlrabi I had on hand along with some cabbage I picked up at the farm.  Can summer never end??

What goodies have you made lately?

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Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Week 4

I still haven’t made it through all the cabbage from last week…it’s insane!  However I’ve made some rather delicious slaws that I’ve mixed with shredded carrots, the garlic scapes, and an apple cider/citrus dressing.  Super good with fish tacos and grilled chicken…yum!

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Keira got much more creative with her cabbage and mixed it with pineapples, mangos, carrots and a strawberry vinaigrette.  She let it sit overnight and voila!  This looked super good.

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She also sauteed up her white turnips with some onions, garlic and zucchini for a tasty side dish.  I love seeing how she is using all the ingredients so differently than I would…helps me to think outside of the box a little!

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Somehow we are already in week four.  It’s exciting because we’re now starting to get things other than greens (YAY!) and the farmstand is now open to fill in the gaps.  Here’s what we got this week.

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I took home the purple kohlrabi, red chard and purple beets.  Judging by the colors, I am clearly sick of greens 😉  I also picked up some asparagus, tomatoes and peas from the farmstand.

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Keira got the cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and swapped the green leaf lettuce for some red chard.

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After getting our goodies, we walked around the Woodmont Farmers Market for a bit.  It was PACKED!  It’s so cool to see the community come out an support local businesses and farms.  I was intrigued by a new vendor, Nutty Bunny.  This is a non-dairy frozen dessert that looked a whole lot like ice cream.  After tasting two of the flavors, Double Chocolate Crunch and Vanilla, I was sold!  This stuff is delicious and actually not all that bad for you.  The vanilla is made from cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, almonds, coconut oil, filtered water, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, and vanilla beans…that’s it!  Needless to say, I went home with a pint.

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I went home in the BEST mood!  This is by far my favorite time of year when the air is warm and all the food we eat is from down the street…just can’t get better than that! Til next week!

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Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Week 3

Hey guess what…more greens this week!  Shocker, I know.  However there were some fun surprises and something I’ve never tried before.

With all the lettuce we received last week, I’m sure you can just imagine how many salads we’ve been having.  I actually forgot to make the big salad I was planning for our family barbecue, so I’ve been having salads for lunch every day.  Keira on the other hand decided to get creative with her lettuce by making burger lettuce wraps.  Oh and look at her strawberries topping some vanilla ice cream…YUM!  I’m a little mad she didn’t invite me over 😉  

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I was not quite as creative and just simply braised my kale and other greens in some onions, garlic, stock and a touch of butter.  It was actually quite delicious and I mixed the leftovers with some quinoa and feta for a tasty lunch.

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Now it’s time to think out of the box for Week 3.  I got 2 interesting items that I need to get creative with.  So here’s what we got…

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Keira took home the Rabe, White Turnips, Spinach and swapped the Red Leaf Lettuce (enough with the lettuce!) for some Napa Cabbage.  I took the Napa Cabbage, Escarole, Garlic Scapes, Strawberries (for B!) and Lettuce Bowl…look at the size of these things!!

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Let’s start with the Lettuce Bowl…this is SUPER cool!  Basically, it’s a mixed bunch of lettuce that we can cut whenever we’re feeling a salad and it will regrow for a second cut. I’m keeping it on my patio table so it is out of the way of any munchers…mainly that giant groundhog that roams around my yard!

Escarole…easy, more white beans and escarole because, well, bacon.  The cabbage and the garlic scapes are wild cards.  First, I have NO idea what to do with Garlic Scapes.  I tried them and it’s basically just a mild garlic, so I’m thinking I will toss it in with whatever I’m cooking in lieu of garlic.  Sounds good, right?

Next, Napa Cabbage.  I used to make a badass fried rice full of napa cabbage, but that was before I found out eggs and peppers were no bueno for my digestive system.  So what to do now?  The farm gave these suggestions…

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The smell of boiled cabbage makes me want to vom, so I think I’ll make some slaw and try some sort of stir fry.  I’m thinking carrots, snow peas and chicken might be a good mix? We will see… 

I’m super excited that the Woodmont Farmers Market will be starting next week.  Keira and I strategically choose our CSA pick up date for Wednesdays for this reason.  I see a lot of seafood from Gambardella’s in my future! 

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So I want to know…what would you do with all that cabbage?!?

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June Pop Shop Market – Fairfield, CT

What do you get when you combine the first warm day of the year with local artisans and food vendors??  Did you just say a seriously rad day?  Yeah, that’s what I would say too 🙂

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I first heard of Pop Shop around Christmastime but for some reason or another I could never make any of them. Finally in early June I recruited a friend of mine to go with me to the one in Fairfield and it exceeded both of our expectations.  The day before we had actually gone to a local church bazaar/open-air market that was about 3 times the size, but we hardly saw anything we were interested in.  Like most of these type of events, the items found there were very “crafty” and not really my thing.  However, Pop Shop is the complete opposite!

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Pop Shop has very unique, modern vendors.  Many feature antiques and repurposed items like these super cool lights from Stonehill Design.  I really loved the phone!

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The market was partly indoors and partly inside a large warehouse next to the Fairfield Theater Company, which was nice since it was out of the sun and a bit roomier.

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It was hard to not buy ALL THE THINGS.  There was beautiful jewelry, hand crafted signs and locally made soaps and lotions.  The one thing I settled on were these super cool Swedish Dishcloths from Three Bluebirds.  They are eco-friendly, very durable and come in a ton of fun designs!  I went with my favorite flower, Lily of the Valley, and of course some black cats 🙂

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Pop Shop is unique that it also features many local food artisans as well!  There were food trucks from The Local Meatball, The Buzz Truck and Bodega Taco Bar who hosted a Barcar with margaritas…win! 

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Today’s Balls…HA!

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What a wonderful way to spend all your money an afternoon!  I love supporting local businesses (especially now that I am one!) and finding out new things about the area.  For example, I wasn’t aware there was a cheese shop in Fairfield…we all need more cheese in our lives!  The next Pop Shop Market will be in Fairfield again on July 5th as part of the town’s 375th anniversary.  I’ve already got it on my calendar to check out!  

Get out there this summer and check out some of the local events in your area.  You’ll never know what you’ll find and what new things you’re learn about your town!  Do you have fun open-air markets in your area?

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