Hopster’s Brews and Boards

For Tim’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got him a brewing session at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton. For my Boston craft beer loving friends, this place is a must try.

Hopsters Brew and Boards[Source]

You can choose to brew your own beer, but you can also opt to just hang out and order food and drinks if you’re not feeling the whole brewing thing. They have a ton of craft beers available, and I have a funny feeling Hopster’s will become a go to place for us.

Hopsters Brew and Boards

Here’s a rundown of how the brewing process works:

First, we chose what kind of beer we wanted to brew. The staff provided us with a recipe book that we read through. They have everything from stouts to pale ales to wheats to IPAs. This was a hard choice for Tim and I to make because our taste in beer can be pretty different, but eventually we decided on the Irish red ale. Depending on the type of beer you pick, the pricing comes in at either $150, $200, or $230. This might seem a little pricy, but the price includes your own concierge brew master to help you along the way, all the ingredients you will need, all your bottles, customized labels, and three cases of your own hand crafted beer. When you think about what you would spend on three cases of beer anyways, I don’t think the price is unreasonable since the experience, assistance, and supplies are all included as well.

Next we gathered our ingredients, which were listed on the recipe that they let us take right out of the recipe book. My favorite part about the ingredients was that they are all farm to table bottle. Love that! Tim and I took turns measuring everything out.

Hopsters Brews and Boards

We then got to work with the help of our brew master to combine malt, hops, and specialty grains.

Hopsters Brew and Boards

In the middle of the session, we had to wait for our combined mixture to boil. We hung around our kettle so we could keep an eye on it, but we were able to sit back and order food while we waited. Hopster’s menu highlights include ploughman’s boards (charcuterie meats served with jams, breads, etc.), cheese boards, and flatbreads. They have a few different snack items and sandwiches too.

Hopsters Brews and Boards

I do wish the menu had a few healthier options to offer, but I’m never one to turn down cheese or a flatbread so it wasn’t a huge deal. Tim and I ended up ordering one of the cheese boards while we waited for our wort to boil.

Hopster's Brew and Boards

Here’s us hanging around our brew:

Hopster's Brews and Boards

After about an hour, we cooled the wort to room temperature in the heat exchanger and then added yeast. This started the fermentation process, and Hopster’s housed our brew in an air locked container for a couple of weeks until it was ready for bottling. We hung out for a little longer after we were done adding the yeast, and we ordered another beer and a flatbread. It was a great day!

Hopster's Brew and Boards

Last night we went back for our bottling session. They had our beer ready for us, and when we got there they showed us how to do the bottling process. It was pretty easy, but we had a lot of bottles to go through (3 cases, remember?!). We ordered a beer and a pretzel to enjoy while bottling. I would say the bottling process took about 90 minutes, but it just depends on how fast or slow you decide you want to go.

Hopster's Brews and Boards: Bottling

Again, I recommend that my local readers check this place out or give a gift certificate to a beer lover in your life. I loved the hands on experience, beer selection, and atmosphere, so I think you guys will too. Plus, it makes for a great date day or night that’s different from your typical dinner and a movie.

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever heard of or been to Hopster’s before? Non Boston readers, do you have any places like this around you? Have you ever tried brewing your own beer? What’s your favorite kind of craft beer?

I’m a sucker for hefeweizens!

Life Lately {February 2014}

Okay, well February sure flew by, huh? Here’s an update on what’s been going on in my life lately.

Life Lately

Exciting news…

I would say that one of most exciting things this month happened on the last day of the month. I was approved for the FitFluential Ambassador program!

fitfluential

“FitFluential is a nationwide network of highly influential fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and offline through multiple social media platforms. Founded in April of 2011 by Kelly Olexa, FitFluential was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized, long-term experiential and contextual marketing campaigns.”

I’ve followed the FitFluential blog and have seen the FitFluential hashtag all over social media from other Fitfluential ambassadors for a while now. After looking into FitFluential a bit more, I decided to apply back in the fall. I think that this will be a great opportunity to not only get my name out there and hopefully get some new brand opportunities, but also to expand my networks and inspire some new followers and audiences. I’m excited to see where it leads me!

Ankle update…

My sprained ankle is recovering quite nicely. Luckily, this injury hasn’t been that bad. I haven’t been running or doing TOO much jumping, but I have still been lifting and doing cardio in other ways. I’ve seen the most improvement with my ankle over the last two weeks. I no longer feel a dull pain throughout the entire day, and it’s definitely not even close to being as sore as it was after workouts when I first sprained it. I started adding in jumping again, but only two feet jumping (hops in place, jacks, squat jumps, etc.). Nothing that requires alternating feet just yet. I’ve also weaned off the amount of Aleve and ice I need, and I’m back to wearing real shoes at work again (darn). Whenever I’ve felt down about the injury, I just look at this picture of my past trips to the orthopedic and remember that I always bounce back!

Medical History

I snapped this while waiting for my orthopedic to come in the room. Kind of ridiculous, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

Exciting Goodies/New Things

A fun-filled bag of goodies from Whole Foods in Arlington. More to come on what’s inside, stay tuned!

Whole Foods Arlington Gift Bag

New fitness toys (unpictured = my new bosu)

Jump Sport trampoline

New standing desk (surprise gift from Tim). I’m loving the option to stand at work for at least parts of my day.

Standing Desk

February Nature Box delivery. The rice sticks and pretzels were to die for.

Nature Box February 2014

Weekend Activities

Because my weeks have been crazy busy (working extra and subbing extra classes), I’ve tried to slow down on my weekend activities down a bit. I feel a little lame that nothing makes me more excited than having nothing to do on the weekends anymore. Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into a complete homebody (yet).

MMA Fighter Fit certification

MMA Fighter Fit Cert - agility ladders

Body Worlds Vital exhibit in Faneuil Hall

Body Worlds Vital

Snowy night in Boston with Tim for Valentine’s Day weekend

Valentine's Day 2014: Snowy Seaport

Korean BBQ date night. We used a Groupon to Koreana. While I enjoyed the night for a different type of experience, I don’t think I’d go back to this particular restaurant. Nothing wowed me enough?

Koreana

My good friend Erin’s 30th birthday party at Kings. My friend Meghan was also up from Washington D.C., and it was great to catch up! So fun.

Erins 30th Birthday

Brunch with my girlfriends from home. Of course I only snapped pictures of the food and my beverage. You can kind of see Tracy in the background. That counts, right?

Mimosa

Pink party with my gym friends

Gym Friends Pink Party

Unpictured:

  • Super Bowl get together at Cate and Joe’s
  • Dinner date with my uncles
  • Margaritas at The Painted Burro with Slesh and Will

โ€“Letโ€™s chatโ€“
What are some of your highlights from February? What are you looking forward to in March?

Catching Up On Eats

Since I haven’t been posting many Weekly Eats posts in the past month, I thought I would just do one giant post of the food I’ve been hoarding pictures of on my phone eating lately, holiday celebrations excluded. These are in no particular order, and this post is CERTAINLY not all-encompassing. It’s just the highlights. I may take this mass update approach to my food posts from now on instead of doing weekly recaps, but I know some of you prefer the weekly recaps to help you with meal planning.What do you guys think?

Catching Up On Eats

Winter butternut squash and barley salad

Winter Butternut Squash and Barley Salad

Cranberry and pecan quinoa (recipe via Fannetastic Food)

Cranberry and Pecan Quinoa

Colorful farro and edamame salad

Colorful farro and edamame salad

Roasted red pepper chili (recipe via Peanut Butter Fingers)

Roasted Red Pepper Chili

Colorful roasted vegetables

Colorful Roasted Vegetables

Turkey meatloaf with tomatoes

Turkey Meatloaf

Slow cooker turkey tacos with mole sauce

Turkey Mole Tacos

Homemade tzatziki dip

Homemade tzatziki sauce

Plain Greek yogurt with pomegranates

Plain Greek yogurt with pomegranates

Greens topped with butternut squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts, zucchini, and pomegranates

Greens with color

Chicken stuffed with roasted red pepper, onion, and goat cheese… with farro on the side

Stuffed Chicken and Farro

Grilled chicken and pear salad with cranberries, almonds, and goat cheese

Grilled chicken and pear salad

Zucchini, goat cheese, arugula, and hummus flatbread on a pita

Zucchini pita flatbreads

Salmon apple burgers on a pita with a side of roasted sunchokes

Salmon apple burgers

Sesame chicken salad with kale, butternut squash, apple, and cucumber

Sesame chicken with kale

Homemade chicken burrito pizza

Chicken Burrito Pizza

Homemade shrimp pesto pizza

Shrimp Pesto Pizza

Mom’s birthday dinner out at Seasons 52

Seasons 52

Date night at Park

Park Restaurant

Hibachi and sushi night at Saga in Patriots Place

Saga Hibachi

And finally, my fav new winter beer

Yard Sale Winter Beer

That brings me up to speed, and now I can go on a deleting spree too.

As always, I base what recipes I share on F&F off of what you guys ask for, so if you see something you want the recipe for… request away. ๐Ÿ™‚

–Let’s chat–
What have been some go to meals and snacks for you lately? Do you prefer larger food recaps like this or seeing food shared in a Weekly Eats post style? Which dish above would you most want to try?

Have a great day!