Bebe’s Boyd Street IPA {Brewing Beer at Hopsters}

This post has been a long time coming! Last year, I got RM a gift card to make beer at Hopsters Brewery in Newton Corner… conveniently located a short 5 minute walk from our apartment. However, for any number of reasons, we didn’t end up making it there until RM’s birthday back in December. When we realized we still hadn’t gone AND his birthday was on a Friday night, we figured it would be a great way to celebrate his day.

We loved Hopsters for many reasons before our visits (beers are great, food is delicious, vibe is on point), but after we worked with their team to make beer and saw how much they knew and how passionate they were about beer, we loved them even more! It was pretty cool watching them in their element.

Since this was RM’s gift and because he is the beer lover out of the two of us, I let him make all of the decisions in terms of what type of beer we were going to make. Recently, he’s really been into IPA’s, so he chose to base the beer off of their Double IPA recipe. What is really neat about the process is that they use their recipes just as that- a base- and then as you start the actual process they offer different options/suggestions for how to change it up a bit. For us, we opted to change it up in terms of the types of “hops” we used.

I had no idea there were so many to choose from! Between that and the wheat and barley, it was such an interesting project and learning experience. On top of learning about hops and beer ingredients, we learned about the process when it came to actually brewing the beer.

It starts out in a big barrel type thing where the water and hops and other ingredients get heated to a certain temperature. While this happens, we had the chance to have a beer (not the one we were making, haha) and some food. I think it was about an hour or so. Once this was up, we watched as they moved the beer from the barrel into keg type setup that they keep in their lower area. From there, the beer takes a few weeks to go through the fermentation process. Once it’s reached that point, you go back and start the bottling process.

The first session takes about 2 hours when you include the wait times throughout various parts of the process. The bottling takes about an hour and a half as you have at least 72 bottles to fill and cap! For some reason, our brew created nearly 90 bottles but we had to give them to Brody (or Brady? I can’t remember his name, but he was the one who helped us with our brewing- he was amazing!!) since we were only allowed to take 72 home by law.

(And yes, while it make look like we bottled on the same day due to RM wearing the same shirt, it was done about 3 weeks later… he just clearly loves this shirt 😉 )

Once we finished bottling, we were able to put our labels on and take them home. After your first visit, they give you the link to where you can upload your label design to their template so they can print it for you. The brewing, bottling, labels and gratuity are all included in the cost, which is nice. It was about $230 for us to make an IPA (just as an FYI).

And as for the name, RM’s father had nicknames for his 3 kids and Bebe was RM’s nickname. He also lived in the apartment we currently live in when he was a kid (during the Bebe nickname time period), so he decided to go with Bebe’s Boyd Street IPA. The close runner up was the Irritable Italian IPA (gotta love a good alliteration), which I think should be the name the next time we do it 😉

Overall, this was such a fun experience and we learned so much! We would both recommend this to anyone who enjoys beer or is looking for a good gift idea! Big thanks to Hopsters for making it such a fun activity- and for helping us brew and absolutely delicious beer!

Questions for you: have you ever made beer before? Or wine? What’s the last activity date youv’e done? 

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2016 Holiday Season Recap

Last night I went home directly after work so that I could try and get some of the blog posts in my head into my computer. Although I’ve tried to keep my weekend/holiday/life recaps to a minimum, I’ve realized that it makes me happy to share them because along with B2B {hopefully} being a resource for you when it comes to workouts and things like that, it’s also a bit of a diary for me. I love looking back on old blog posts to see what I was up to- the ultimate trip down memory lane!

With that said, we had such a great holiday season that I wanted to share a bit about it!

The celebrations started on the 23rd as that’s RM’s birthday. This year we went to Hopsters and made beer! I’ll share a full recap on that soon, but for now just know it was such a fun experience!

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Next up was Christmas Eve. I had to teach in the morning and it was an absolute blast!! It was a decent crowd considering the holiday, and lots of people sported the red, white and green color scheme which made for one happy instructor 🙂

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Later that day I got a massage and then RM and I hit up Buff’s for a little quiet time before the craziness of Christmas Eve/Christmas started.

This year we went to RM’s mother’s house for Christmas Eve, which was a wonderful experience! As his family is from Italy, we had quite the feast consisting of fried calamari & smelts, Ahi tuna, stuffed quahogs, pasta with lobster, breaded shrimp, seafood salad with octopus, calamari, shrimp, etc. and baccala. Oh, and chocolate molten cake for dessert 😉 It was all as incredible as it sounds!

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It was so fun waking up at home on Christmas morning, especially as our first Christmas as a married couple! We went to Church and then hit the road to Maine to spend Christmas night with my family. We opened presents and drank wine and had a really nice roast chicken meal- it was a fun new-to-us tradition!

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Once we got back to MA, we had a few days of “normalcy” before heading to Florida to celebrate Jessi and Chuck’s wedding. Overall, it was such an awesome trip! The wedding was at The VInoy in St. Petersburg and we opted to rent an Air BNB instead, which worked out perfectly as it was only 2 blocks from the hotel. I was asked to do a reading at the wedding, which was such an honor! I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Dress courtesy of Best Dressed!

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Some of us opted to stay through NYE so after brunch RM and I went for a walk then laid poolside with my friends for most of the day. NYE was relatively lowkey as we just hung out at the hotel bar. New Years Day was the most perfect weather and luckily we had a later flight so we got to catch some more sun. And then before we knew it, it was time to go home 😦 I can’t wait until Jessi is back from her honeymoon so we can recap the wedding because it was so wonderful- everything about it couldn’t have been more perfect!

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Phew! What a great holiday season, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to get back to a more normal (to me) lifestyle which includes less drinking and eating out and more making food at home and going to bed at 10pm 😉

I hope all of you had a great end to 2016 and are kicking off 2017 feeling good! I can’t wait to recap 2016- it was quite an amazing year for us 🙂

Five on Friday {9.9.16}

Hi, friends! Happy freaking Friday 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a good week- mine started out roughhhh, but turned around a bit by the end of it. We leave for Italy in 9 days and work is absolutely crazy right now so I’m just trying to get through what I can so I can start my vacation without the stress of worrying about what I didn’t finish.

But, let’s talk about more fun things, shall we?

  • Moscow Mules- We received some beautiful monogrammed copper mugs for our wedding (thanks, Jean!), so last weekend we decided to put them to good use by whipping up some Moscow Mules. Neither of us had had one before, but we both enjoyed them! It was a really fun cocktail hour enjoyed on our back patio.

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  • Eating out vs. eating in- Most of the time, RM and I try to eat in the majority of the time. We shop on the weekends for the week, prep a bunch of food to have handy (I bring my lunch every day, too), but last week we kind of went on a eating out bender. Thursday we went to Buff’s (hadn’t been in SO long), Friday we went to Hopsters (again, hadn’t been in SO long) and Saturday we went to The Local in West Newton, because, well #saturdaydatenight. This is very unlike us to go so many days in a row eating out (unless we are on vacation), and while everything was delicious, we decided to eat IN on Saturday night. RM grilled up some veggie and shrimp skewers and I made a nice big salad. There’s something to be said about making your own meals- it felt really good to eat a nice meal like this!

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  • Love Grown Cereal- Confession: I LOVE cereal. I always have, but over the years I’ve tried to clean up my cereal choices (and I’ve gone from eating it daily to just a few times a week- baby steps). Most of the time I have Erewhon & Uncle Sam brands because they have such few ingredients, but they had a sample of Love Grown Power O’s at Whole Foods last weekend and I knew I had to try it out. They’re made out of different legumes, so they are wheat & corn free- something you don’t see often with cereal!

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  • Teaching- I’ve been loading up on classes leading up to our vacation since I know I’ll be going so long without teaching while we are away. While it can be tiresome (yesterday I did 6am and 5:30pm… and 9 hours of work in between), it’s really so rewarding. I love coming up with new workouts and playlists and helping people feel good and feel strong. I’m teaching tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday… and then I’m off for a longggg time, so catch me while you can!

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  • Biking- I can’t thank RM enough for suggesting that we get bikes. We have been having SO MUCH FUN with them. One day last week I rode it all around town to run errands and then Friday night I took it to meet my sister for a drink (RM rode with me which was nice) and then Sunday RM and I covered nearly 25 miles of biking. We rode all the way into the city, brought the bikes on the T to Eastie (RM had to check on one of the units in a building he owns) and then back to Watertown. Midway home, we stopped at Naco Taco in Central Square for a snack and a beer. I used to run by that place weekly and would always be so jealous of everyone there enjoying drinks and food outside so it was nice to get to check it out. We both highly suggest it if you want good tacos and guac- everything was fantastic, and reasonably priced. Oh, and the good part about biking places for drinks is it limits me to just one, since I don’t trust myself operating the bike after any more 😉 #lightweight

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I guess that does it! We have lots to get done this weekend in preparation for our honeymoon, so it’ll be a busy one! There is a Vegetarian Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at the Arsenal Mall tomorrow which we might try to get to. It starts at 11am and is $10-$45 and guests can enjoy more than 30 craft beers and lots of vegetarian dishes. Sounds pretty cool!

I hope you have a great weekend with whatever you have planned 🙂

Questions for you: What was a good part of your week? What do you have planned this weekend? Do you prefer to bike, walk or drive places? Do you prefer to cook/eat in or eat out? What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?

Weekend Eats & Drinks

Good morning! Our weekend was relatively low-key, but it was filled with some good eats, drinks and restaurant visits so I figured that was worth sharing- enjoy!

Friday

My company always does pizza lunches before big sport games, so last Friday was no exception. I haven’t been in the office to reap the benefits of any of the recent pizza luncheons so it was a nice treat for me this past Friday! I always take a whole plate of salad (if available) and start with that because it ensures I get in some veggies and it helps to subside most of my initial hunger before inhaling 3 pieces of pizza and then feeling sick from stuffing my face with too much pizza!

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I had some gift cards to use at Hopsters so we went there for pizza, salad and drinks for dinner… you know it’s a good day when you have pizza for lunch AND dinner! We got the sausage and arugula pizza and the beet and goat cheese salad- both were fantastic!

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Saturday

After an incredibly hard yoga sculpt class at CorePower (no seriously, it was so hard!!), I met up with my sister and friend Jessi at Loco in Southie for lunch to chat about my bachelorette party. While the margaritas were awesome, I picked the wrong food entrée. The waitress suggested the burrito so I took her suggestion, but it had too many big potatoes and not enough meat… not to mention it was served WITH potatoes. Thankfully my sister shared some of her burger with me which was really good. We ran into one of my friends from work which was such a fun addition to the lunch!

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For dinner, we decided to make some quesadillas. I kept it basic with just peppers and onions and leftover coconut crusted chicken. They were SO good and successfully kicked my Mexican craving that was not satisfied at lunch.

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Oh, and bubbly. Snowy nights most definitely call for bubbly… but then again, I’m not sure what nights DON’T call for bubbly 😉

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Side Note: We finally started to watch Breaking Bad- have any of you watched that show? So far it’s a little intense for my liking, but I’m giving it a shot! We are only 4 episodes in.

Sunday

In traditional Sunday morning fashion, I whipped us up some healthy pancakes first thing. It was another great batch and we think it’s almost time for me to perfect the recipe and share it with all of you! I added raspberries to some of mine and it was a very tasty addition.

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We ended up having RM’s brother and sister-in-law over for the game so I set out some healthy-ish snack food while we waited for the wings to cook. We made two kinds: baked buffalo and then slow cooker honey garlic and I have to say, the buffalo stole the show for most of us! I also made some chocolate chip banana bread bars which were a big hit.

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And that about does it! I hope you all have a great week- and be on the lookout for some exciting news that I’m sharing on Friday!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite pizza place? Did you go out to eat at all this weekend? Where do you go for Mexican food? What did you do for the game?

Weekending: Hopsters Date Night, Handle Bar & Brunching in Harvard Square, Hosting my Parents

Good morning! What a busy, but fun weekend we had- let’s recap 🙂

Friday

After work on Friday I had to go into the city for an appointment. I had some time to kill and decided to pop into City Sports since I knew they were doing “going out of business” sales and I had a gift card I needed to use. I didn’t find much worth looking at (sales weren’t THAT good year), but I did find these awesome Saucony running sneakers I was able to get for 35% off! I’ve never run in Saucony’s, so I hope I like them!

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By the time I finished up at City Sports, it was time to head to my appointment near the North End. As she was finishing up, she asked if I wanted any water, which I declined since I had a water bottle with me. She then asked if I wanted wine and I said “well, yeah! that’s more like it”. I thought she was totally kidding until she came back in the room with a big ol’ cup of wine. Best surprise ever 🙂

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RM got home shortly after me and we decided to walk to Hopsters for a drink and dinner. I was there last Friday night with my sister so it was funny to be back again! We decided to get the sausage and arugula flatbread and harvest salad and both were incredible, the pizza especially. Wow- so so good!

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Saturday

Saturday morning we woke up kind of early and decided it was a good morning for healthy pancakes so RM got busy.

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Usually we do Sunday morning pancakes so this was a fun treat 🙂 It’s rare to have a Saturday at home without having to teach.

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My sister and I had plans to go to The Handle Bar’s new Harvard Square location for an 11:30 class and then brunch after. The class was really good and challenging, the brunch was a big disappointment 😦 We ended up going to Park Restaurant and Bar and everything from the slow service to the really, really sub par food made for a less than stellar brunch.

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I ordered the goat cheese and spinach omelet and it looked like they literally put a scoop of goat cheese in the middle of the omelet and threw in some barely cooked spinach. I could have made something way better than that. My sister’s burger melt looked like it was from McDonald’s- the slice of yellow cheese wasn’t even melted and the burger itself was tiny. And the kicker? it took 40 minutes to get the food and it wasn’t even busy! I would not suggest going there if you’re looking for a bunch spot in Harvard Square- save your money!

After I got home, RM and I booked our wedding photographer (!!!) and went to Chelsea to go to the huge Home Goods to get some house stuff. We ended up getting new pillows, a new throw and laundry baskets- we are getting there!

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The rest of the night was spent food shopping and meal prepping for my parents visit on Sunday. I also made our favorite Shrimp and Veggie Curry Dish for dinner, which is such an easy and delicious meal to throw together.

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Sunday

I woke up early because I knew I had a lot to prep in advance before my parents and my sister came over for a little luncheon. On the menu?

  • Easy Pumpkin Soup from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
  • Roast Chicken
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, celery, carrots and onions
  • Spicy broccolini
  • Fancy veggie filled stuffing that my sister made and brought- it had grated carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms- it was a really fun change from your traditional stuffing.

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We had such a nice afternoon drinking bubbly/wine, catching up and talking big time wedding talk. My mom got me my first bride magazine, which was fun to look through! I love that my parents are so willing to come down for a few hours and a meal.

After they left, we finished cleaning up and got comfy on the couch- preparing a big meal and hosting a luncheon is tiring!

Questions for you: What did you do this weekend? Did you get any good workouts in? Do you like to entertain? Have you been to Park?

Although I still don’t know how to put into words the sadness and fear I have after hearing about the terrorist attacks in Paris, I’d feel remise if I didn’t take a little bit of blog space to mention it. We have been watching CNN and listening to NPR steadily since Friday night and I woke up Saturday wishing that it was all just a bad dream. What is this world coming to, where people can’t go to a concert, a game or out to dinner without the fear of an attack? My heart goes out to all the people who have been affected by this tragedy. I pray for a world with peace and love, not this crazy world filled with terrorists and fear.

I’ve only been to Paris once, but it has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit again. I loved everything about it and still hope to get back there some day.

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