Let’s face it; February in Vermont can be cold and dreary. However, on Saturday, February 28th, the city of Burlington comes alive with the help of the Magic Hat Brewing Company’s 20th annual Mardi Gras parade! This is one of Burlington’s biggest events of the year and we want you to be a part of the action! This fun-filled weekend doesn’t just happen on Saturday, there are plenty of other Magic Hat inspired events beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday. Want to know more about the parade and other exciting happenings? We’ve got you covered…

Magic Hat and the Vermont Foodbank have teamed up for an exciting community based fundraiser, to raise awareness and to support Vermonters. The mission of the Vermont Foodbank is to gather and share quality food and nurture partnerships so that no one in Vermont will go hungry. Over the years, Magic Hat Mardi Gras weekend has raised over $215,000 for the Vermont community. This once a year event brings the public together for a colorful celebration of merriment and fun.

Here is a run-down of everything you need to know for the weekend:

  • Friday, February 27th is the Kick-Off party at Higher Ground with special music guest Gogol Bordello. Doors open at 8pm.
  • Saturday, February 28th the Grand Parade will make its way down Main Street towards the waterfront. Beginning at 3pm, the parade travels down Main Street to Battery Street. Be sure to get there early so you can scope out your best viewing spot to watch the amazing parade floats go by. There will be lots of goodies being tossed to the crowds, including beads, moonpies and Lake Champlain chocolates. After the parade is over, head on over to City Hall Park to watch the Grippo Funk Band perform.
  • Saturday, February 28th, when the parade ends, be sure to grab a Magic Hat brew and some food and visit these participating restaurants and bars for Mardi Gras after hours, all located on or near Church Street.
  • Sunday, March 1st, make your way over to the Magic Hat Artifactory for tours, growler fills and tastings! The Artifactory will be open on Sunday from 12-5pm, with tours offered at 2pm and 3pm. If you can’t make it to the factory on Sunday, they will also be open on Sat. 2/28 from 12-7pm.

If you’d like to participate in the Mardi Gras parade entertainment and want to grab some beads to throw out, you can get them from 12-3pm at City Hall Park & on Church Street at the following locations: Ecco Clothes, Pearl Street Beverage, Homeport, Expressions, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Frog Hollow, Full Tank, and of course at the Magic Hat Artifactory!

For more information on this fun-packed weekend, please visit the Magic Hat website for more details!

Will you be attending this year’s parade? What’s your favorite part about Mardi Gras weekend? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

Vermont recently made headlines when an article from the Burlington Free Press announced that the House of Representatives is proposing a new bill that encourages Vermont farm-grown beer into the state’s already expansive craft beer scene. The new bill would allow for local Vermont farmers to acquire a new farm brewer’s license that would encourage them to brew beer on premise while incorporating at least one ingredient, that has been grown on their farm.

The article states that “The farm beer would need to include at least 20 percent local hops and at least 30 percent other local ingredients, not including water, to be considered ‘Vermont Beer’ under a new legal definition,” says the Free Press. The bill could also generate licenses for Vermont wine and cider makers, if they too, incorporate local ingredients into their products. With this new bill, the farmers could also offer to host special events, tastings, and acquire permits, to help serve and sell their specific products to consumers.

The bill is currently in the initial stages of creation, and some Vermont brewers are concerned about the bill’s stern meaning of the term Vermont beer. Kurt Stauder who is president of the “Vermont Brewers Association states that “It’s very early, I understand the aims and I find them to be admirable, but I do have some concerns…I think that the big point that is sticking with some if the brewers is the definition of Vermont beer.” It could also bring more revenue to the state, and encourage Vermont farmers to grow more hops, grain and malts.

House Representative Bill Botzow says that “he modeled the farm brewer’s bill after a similar law in New York that took effect in 2013. The Bennington County Industrial Corporation suggested that New York had a competitive advantage in recruiting breweries.” He goes on to say that the new bill “would stimulate an emerging part of Vermont’s economy and promote diversified agriculture and agrotourism.”

What are your thoughts on this proposed bill? Do you see a future in Vermont Farm-Grown beer? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

A few weeks ago, we traveled to the beautiful Boyden Valley Winery & Farm located in a restored 1875 carriage barn in Cambridge, Vermont. We got to tour their amazing facility, and also learn more about Boyden Valley Winery and all the delicious wines and ciders they produce on premise. It was a crisp, cold winter day when we arrived. When we entered their doors, we immediately felt welcomed and were greeted by a warm smile from Bridget Jones, the Wine Room Manager and Events Coordinator, who introduced herself and gave us some useful information on the four generation family farm, where they craft wines that feature only the finest locally grown fruit from the earthy soils of the Lamoille River Valley. Bridget also informed us that Boyden Valley was the first craft distillery company in the U.S. to specialize in cream liqueurs. In addition to their wines and liqueurs, they make two hard cider varietals as well as few ice cider varietals.

boyden-4After learning all about the history of Boyden Valley Winery and Farm, we got the chance to meet Wine and Cider Maker Tom Lambert, who was very eager to let us tour the Winery & Cidery production facility. He brought us into where all the magic happens and we got to see first hand where the wine is processed, produced, distilled and then bottled. He very thoroughly explained how the grapes get pressed, or crushed, fermented in stainless steel tanks, filtered, then aged in French oak barrels. The red wine goes into the vat, with yeast, some nutrients, as well as other elements to help enhance the wine. It takes anywhere from three days to a month for the wine to ferment, depending on the type of wine their making. The higher sugar content wines typically take a lot longer to ferment, because they have more sugar to convert to alcohol. The yeast then eats the sugar, then alcohol is created. From there, they begin the aging process. White and red wines differ in their processes of aging. For example, white wines made this winter will be processed in late September, and bottled in early Spring. At the end of the tour, Tom took us to where they bottle and label their products and how that process works.

boyden-1After Tom explained in great detail the process of making their wines, he led us to the tasting room, where Bridget was also present to share the details on other products they produce, including dessert specialty wines, ice ciders, hard ciders (one which is aged in double bourbon barrels) and also cream liqueurs.They talked about a process called cold soaking, which increases color extraction and flavor components, that help the liquids ferment in open-top maple tanks. They will also ferment cranberries and black currants in the next couple weeks and add these ingredients to new wines or liqueurs. Lastly, Tom mentioned that he has currently been spending his time pruning the vines at the vineyard until Spring arrives. He mentions that “pruning the vines is the single most important process in the vineyard because it determines your next year’s crop. You’re creating a balance between vegetative growth and fruit growth so that you have optimal fruit quality to help ripen the fruit to its fullest”.

We got to chat a bit more in depth with Bridget, and she filled us in on all the exciting and upcoming fun events they have planned. This weekend, which happens to be Valentine’s Day, the winery is involved with the Vermont Grape and Wine Council’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend taking place this Saturday and Sunday, February 14th & 15th, where they are participating with a local chocolate maker, and offering free chocolate boyden-3fondue paired with a local wine tasting. There will also be offering horse-drawn sleigh rides along the vineyard for added fun. They also have an annual Maple Sugar Festival coming up, on March 28th & 29th where you can enjoy sugar on snow as well as demonstrations on how to make homemade VT maple syrup, which the family farm has been producing since 1914 using their wood-fired evaporator. In addition to the tastings at the winery, there also offer free tours. They have an event loft that can be rented out for special events as well.

We encourage you to take a trip to the Boyden Valley Winery & Farm and experience a tour, tasting or event for yourself and enjoy a true Vermont winery experience. Have you ever tried any Boyden Valley products? Which ones are your favorite? Share your comments with us on Facebook!

It’s that time of year again, the time where hockey players from all over the state join forces and compete in the 4th Annual Lake Champlain Pond Hockey Classic tournament, taking place in Mallets Bay in Colchester, VT, and sponsored by Labatt Blue.

Each year, Labatt Blue hosts this annual Real Hockey event, hosting Pond Hockey tournaments across the US. The competition is meant to be fun, with no refs, no replays, and no rink. Just a pond, your friends and some stiff competition.

The tournament set-up is a 4 vs. 4 Round Robin game played on the beautiful frozen ice on Lake Champlain. The games consist of two fifteen-minute halves with two-minute breaks taking place between halves. There will be two games on Friday, two games on Saturday and playoff rounds scheduled for Sunday if your team qualifies.

Wondering what you will need to complete the registration process? Here’s the rundown:

  • Team fee is $600. If you have already paid your deposit to reserve your team’s spot, the remaining balance will be charged to your account. Teams, who have not reserved a spot, will be required to pay-in-full to hold their place in the tournament.
  • Please make sure to have your valid Visa, Mastercard, Discover or checking account information ready with the cardholder’s name and billing address verified and ready to go!
  • You will also be asked to provide information on your team at the time of registration. They will need your name, age, birthdate address, email and phone number.

Now that you’ve got your teams spot locked down, let’s look into the schedule of events for the weekend. The agenda will be as follows:

  • Feb 4th- LCPHC Game Schedule is released
  • Feb 9th- LCPHC Final Rosters due
  • Feb 13th- 4th Annual LCPHC: Day One takes place
  • Feb 14th- Day two of the tournament continues
  • Feb 15th- Championship Sunday

So do you think you and your team have what it takes to win? We hope you are getting excited and ready to have some fun! When the competition ends, participants are invited to head to Church Street in downtown Burlington to revel in Pond Hockey glory and celebrate the good times on the “Pond.” Stay tuned for the time and location for this event.

If you need more information on the tournament, please visit The Lake Champlain Pond Hockey Classic website and register your team today!

Good Luck!

Let’s face it; winter in Vermont can be rough. Now that the holidays are over, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. We’ve got some suggestions for you on how to fill those cold, wintery day and nights with some exciting and enjoyable happenings, that we want you to be a part of!

We posted a blog a few weeks ago, highlighting the Dos Equis Ski Bum Race Series taking place at the Killington Mountain Resort, which debuted last month. The Ski Bum race series allows local teams of skiers, snowboarders and telemark skiers to race down the Highline trail in pursuit of “Ski Bum Glory and bragging rights.” After the race ends, an after party takes place at different locations throughout the month on the Killington access road. After a hard days work on the slopes, reward yourself with food, drink specials and free giveaways from our participating sponsors.

Here is the January schedule for the Killington Après Ski Parties:

  • 1/7 from 3:30-5:30pm at The Santa Fe Steakhouse
  • 1/14 from 3:30-5:30pm at The Slopeside Bar and Grille
  • 1/21 from 3:30-5:30pm TBD (Please check Killington Ski Resort’s website for details)
  • 1/28 from 4:00-6:00pm at The Baja Burrito

The after parties will always take place around 3:30 and are free of charge for all registered ski racers. There will be an abundance of food at every party each week. Just remember to bring your member card with you so you can have access to the buffet. If you’d like to bring a family member or friend along to join you, they can do so for just five dollars! While you sip on tasty drink specials from the night, be sure to check out the video that plays the day’s event runs. See yourself on the big screen and revel in your glory.

If skiing or going to the mountain isn’t your thing, there’s always Trivia Night! If you like to test your knowledge and win prizes, then this should be your night to shine.

Here is a schedule for some Trivia Night’s taking place all over the state:

  • 1/8 Thursday Trivia Night from 6pm-12am at Ramunto’s in Bennington. Win big with pint glasses and four ski tickets. This event is sponsored by Otter Creek.
  • 1/20 Tuesday Trivia Night from 8-10pm at the Whetstone Station in Brattleboro. Prizes will consist of t-shirts and hats and is sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing.
  • 1/1-2/28 the TC Tavern in Dover will be hosting a customer giveaway from 6-9pm every day. Prizes will consist of hats, t-shirts, and keychains and is sponsored by Pabst, Magic Hat, Switchback and Coors Light.

Now that you’ve got the schedules, fill in your calendars with these fun events. If you have any questions or stories you’d like to share with us, please post them to our Facebook page.

The flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green, the trees are budding and the birds are chirping, it must be Spring! Great weather is the perfect reason to get outside and enjoy yourself! Our friends at Magic Hat Brewing Company know how to take advantage of great weather and great company. They just recently announced some super fun upcoming events happening next weekend and throughout the summer, so clear your schedule and head on over to the brewery in South Burlington for live music, food, beer and entertainment!

Have you ever heard of Big Heavy World? Located in Burlington, Big Heavy World is Vermont’s independent, volunteer-run music office. Big Heavy World was started by roommates James Lockridge and George Webb. Their mission is to preserve the historical record of music originating in Vermont to create economic opportunity for VT’s musicians and the industries vital to them. Magic Hat is partnering with Big Heavy World for an exciting benefit event happening next Saturday.

The event is called Heavy Fest 5 and it’s taking place at the Magic Hat Brewery on Saturday, May 16th from 1-6pm. This event will feature a live art expo, outdoor beer garden, brewery tours, food trucks and of course, live music from some of Vermont’s most talented artists. Here’s all you need to know about next week’s event:

  • 100% of the $5 donation at the door will go directly to Big Heavy World
  • Feeling hungry? Taco Truck All-Stars, Dolce VT & Queen City Pops will be there feeding the crowd
  • Live music from Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band, Soule Monde, Rough Francis, Swale and Gowanus
  • Live art expo with Jason Tooth and Brian Capes
  • Brewery tours led by the Magic Hat Brewers
  • Outdoor Beer Garden featuring speciality beers

On June 5th, join the Magic Hat Artifactory for Nicole Christman’s Art Opening. Nicole was last year’s winner of the Labels for Libations contest. You can find Nicole’s artistic label on Magic Hat’s Art Hop Ale which will be showcased on their Spring Fever variety pack, which debuts this spring. Come and hang in the Art Space, see more of Nicole’s art work, mingle with friends and sip on tasty pints. There will be free snacks available as well as 220z. bottles of Art Hop Ale for sale. As a bonus, Magic Hat will donate $1 for every bottle sold, to benefit Burlington’s South End Arts and Business Association.

Did you experience Magic Hat’s Summer Sessions series last season? If not, don’t worry, it’s coming around again! Summer Sessions Music Series is the brewery’s free music series happening at the brewery every Sunday afternoon in June! This event also features an outdoor beer garden and the Taco Truck All Stars food truck. They currently have four sessions lined up and ready to go! All artists are scheduled to perform from 2-4:30. Here are the scheduled Summer Session Music Series dates and participating artists:

  • June 7th, live music with Josh Panda
  • June 14th, live music with Stone Bullet
  • June 21st, live music with The Growlers
  • June 28th, live music with Ben Donovan and The Congregation

We hope that you can make it to one or more of these great summer events! If you do go, share your experiences with us on Facebook!

Nothing quite says, “celebrate” like the sound of the champagne bottle going “POP”! So pour yourself a glass of bubbly and let’s party.

Champagne is an elegant and festive drink. Even though it seems like it’s a varietal of it’s own, champagne is characteristically wine that is derived from a blend of grapes. Genuine Champagne can only come from the Champagne region in France. Any other “bubbly” from around the world is called “Sparkling Wine”; depending on which region you are in. Sparkling Wines and Champagne offer the following varietals: sec, demi sec, extra dry, brut and extra brut. The sugar levels are what make these varieties different. Similar to wine, the term ‘dry’ means the opposite of sweet. Extra Brut and Brut will be your drier less sweet options, while sec and demi-sec will be on the sweeter side. You’ll also notice that Champagne or Sparkling Wine is refered to as “Bubbly.” All those bubbles that elegantly grace and dance around your glass are formed during a second fermentation that processes in the bottle. This is caused from the added sugar and yeast, when the two ingredients react they produce carbon dioxide and the result is tiny bubbles that are confined to a small space.

Here are some of the varieties we offer:

  • Korbel: This California Champagne maker offers multiple varieties ranging from dry to sweet, while leaving you with a lingering light tasting, refined and balanced finish. They also offer Brut Rose and Sweet Rose, offering crisp, bright flavors with aromas of raspberry and vanilla.
  • Rosatello: This wine maker has been in business since the 1950’s. They make their wine from the grapes of the sun soaked vineyards in Italy. They also offer multiple varieties, including a Sparkling Rose. This delicate pink Sparkling wine has fruity aromas with a balanced and clean finish.
  • Krug: This brand hails from the Champagne region of France where they produce just six varietals. They offer fresh, citrusy fruit notes, ending with a dry finish.
  • Veuve Clicquot: Also coming from the Champagne region, where they specialize in premium products. They are known for being one of the first producers in “modern” Champagne making due to their technique and style.

Now that you’ve got the facts, you’re ready to pop some bottles and celebrate. Enjoy!

With the cold winter months on the horizon, there’s nothing quite like a hot dish to warm your soul and satisfy your appetite. It’s the comfort in the food we eat and share, that brings us together and let’s us appreciate the nourishment and joy that comes from a tasty meal. When we think of winter and all the delicious dishes that are associated with the season, one recipe in particular comes to our mind, and that’s Beer Chili!

Chili is a hearty, appetizing and tasty dish that is easy to make and is also a great dish to share with large groups. When you’re in charge of bringing food to your next gathering, impress your friends and family with this “Winter Warmer” recipe, that just so happens to have Samuel Adams beer added to it.

Here is what you’ll need to make it all happen:

  • 4 pounds of ground beef (substitute ground turkey, or omit the meat all together and enjoy it vegetarian)
  • A dash of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of canola or olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 ½ cups (12oz.) Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes
  • 12oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce (we recommend a dab of Sriracha for some kick)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Cabot Extra Sharp is our suggestion)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped green onions

Now that you’ve got all your ingredients, let’s start cooking!

In a large, heavy deep pot, brown the meat over medium heat, stirring until completely cooked through. Drain the excess juices from the meat, set aside. Add the oil to the pot your meat was in. When your oil has heated up, add in diced peppers, onion, chili powder, cayenne, cumin and thyme. Cook over a medium heat until the peppers and onions become soft and start to brown.

Next you’ll want to add the Boston lager, diced tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the pot and stir in kidney beans and hot sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring your chili to a medium-low heat and simmer on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour. Be sure to stir your chili frequently! When you are ready to serve, don’t forget to add the shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions for garnish.

Lastly, pair your meal with a tasty, cold Samuel Adam’s brew.

Bon Appetite! What are your favorite beer recipes? Please share on our Facebook Page.

Are you thinking of getting a ski pass this year? Are you pondering which mountain would be your best pick to ski or ride at this season? If you’re looking for a big mountain with killer terrain and the largest vertical drop in New England then Killington Mountain Resort and Ski Area is where you’ll want to hit the slopes! The biggest ski area in the East had its opening day last month and is ready to start the 2014-2015 ski season with lots of fun planned for both the mountain and for après ski.

Killington is known to be an enjoyable mountain with lots to do, including one activity in particular, and that activity is Ski Racing! If you are a competitive skier, telemark skier or snowboarder, the Dos Equis Bum Race Series will be your time to shine and show off your skills. After you race, celebrate with other registered competitors and have a party. You deserve it!

Here’s the rundown on all you need to know on how to participate in these fun weekly ski races:

  • Location: Highline Trail K1
  • Date & Time: Each race will run from 10:00am through 2:00pm
  • Registration: The Ski Bum Registration Party will take place on December 3rd at the Killington Chamber of Commerce from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. You can also register at other times at the Killington Ski Club.
  • Cost: $200/per team or $45/per individual. To participate, you need to be 21 years of age or older
  • Team Standings: The points collected come from the “top three getters” on each team, each week
  • Rules: There are two categories for the racers and individuals. You can register under “A” which is an experienced racer, or “B” for a beginner or intermediate skier. Both Skier “A” & “B” can be male or female. However, telemark skiers are categorized as “B” skiers with all rules relevant- male or female.
  • Schedule: Stay tuned for the race schedule coming soon

Now that you have all the information on the races, let’s talk about the after party!

After Party: All parties will take place around 3:30pm and are free of charge for all registered series racers. There will be an abundance of food at every party each week. Just remember to bring your member card with you so you can have access to the buffet. If you wish to bring a friend or family member along to join the buffet, they can do so for just five bucks! While you sip on delicious drink specials from the night, be sure to check out the video that will be playing the day’s event runs. See yourself on the big screen and revel in your glory. We’ll be sure to let you know where the “after party” locations will be each week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Find more information on the Dos Equis Ski Bum Race series, including a more detailed version of the rules, and have a safe and fun ski season!

We all know that Vermont, our beloved “Green Mountain State” is known for producing quality products such as amazing cheese, delicious craft beer, wonderfully roasted coffee…the list goes on.

But did you know that Vermont is also becoming one of the top leaders in hard cider pressing and production? To celebrate this success, a ten-day festival called “Cider Week VT,” starts this Friday, November 14th and continues until Sunday, November 23rd. This major event will highlight many cideries from all over Vermont and showcase a wide variety of offerings and activities including:

  • Sweet and Hard Cider
  • Ice Cider
  • Cask Cider
  • Food Pairings and Dinner Events
  • Meet & Greet sessions with cider makers and staff

We are proud supporters of our clients participating in Cider Week VT including Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits and Woodchuck Hard Cider. The two successful producers have a total of sixteen events taking place throughout the ten-day celebration.

Be sure to check out a few of Boyden Valley’s events happening all over Vermont including diverse tastings at Crossroads Beverage in Waterbury, jazz music and cider drinks at Hotel Vermont in Burlington, and a stellar four-course dinner at the Essex Resort and Spa in Essex (reservations suggested).

Woodchuck Cider also has some exciting nights planned including “Chuck-N-Wing” night, where you can sample chicken wings featuring a spicy-cider glaze. While you dine, enter to win some Woodchuck giveaways and raffle items. Woodchuck is also excited to announce their recently opened cidery in Middlebury. Take a tour of the cider house and while you are there, participate in some cider-tastings taking place throughout the entire week.

For more information on locations, times and participants visit Vermont Cider Week for more details.

Cheers to all our hard-working Vermont cider makers!

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