Friday, May 13, 2016

Day Adventure with Rapscallion Brewery and Rapscallion Table & Tap

Being a blogger who loves discovering small and local business, I’m always on the hunt to find places I’ve never heard of, try new foods, new drinks and explore places in general.

A few months ago, I did just that, as I was visiting a friend who recently moved to Concord, about 30 minutes west of Boston. On our way to finding a place to grab a bite to eat in a new town, we stumbled up a small house restored into a restaurant named Rapscallion Table & Tap. We decided to try it out and we were pleasantly surprised.  I found out that Rapscallion has a brewery in Sturbridge and once the weather got warmer, it was a destination on my list to try.

Recently, on a beautiful Sunday day, we decided to make a day of trying everything Rapscallion had to offer.  We traveled down to Sturbridge in search of Rapscallion Brewery and found it on Hyland Orchard along with disc golf, outdoor venue for those warm summer nights and even a barn with (my personal favorite) alpaca!

Rapscallion Brewery

Hyland Orchard Farm and alpaca!

We met with the co-owner Cedric who showed us around the small, yet charming brewery and learned about the history of the barn, now brew and tap room, how they brew their beer, the fermentation process that varies by beer type and how they lock, stock and (literally) barrel their beers. 

The brewery produces about 40 kegs at a time, keeping their beer fresh and keeping flavors and selection small.

Brew Station 

Fermentation Process
Bubbles and CO2 
After our tour, we decided to walk around and find what other gems Rapscallion Brewery had to offer. In addition to an open bar and lounge area that offers live music, we also found a great venue outside perfect for that relaxing summer evening or for that wedding in late August. And if beer isn't quite your thing, they also offer local wine and hard cider. Oh, did I mention that Rapscallion is also family friendly?! There’s also a farm with a petting area an apple orchard trail and hayride (seasonal) and a soon to be redesigned disc golf.

Did I mention the Mug Club?!
(photo courtesy of Rapscallion Brewery)
Great area for a good food (bring your own), good beer and good friends

Choose your brew

The tables were made from trees destroyed by the Springfield tornados  

We could’ve spent the whole day at the brewery and farm alone, but we were getting hungry and reservations at Rapscallion Table and Tap awaited us. When we got to the restaurant, we met with Peter, co-owner and twin brother of Cedric. He gave us an introduction of the restaurant, how they partner with local businesses to creating their menu using fresh and local products. It was a tough decision but I decided on the lobster grilled cheese- lumps of lobster smothered between layers of cheese with lobster bisque for dipping. My friend decided on the grass fed beef cheeseburger with house cut fries. Both were flavorful and quite filling, I’m really not sure how we had space for some dessert but we managed!

Lobster Grilled Cheese and Lobster Bisque

Locally owned and grass fed beef cheeseburger 

Like the brewery, Rapscallion Table and Tap also had an outdoor area with live music playing, where we stayed for one more beer and relaxed while listening to the music play in the background.

We had such a good time going to both the brewery and restaurant and can’t wait to return again. It’s about an hour between the brewery and restaurant so this really makes it a great day trip to try this summer.

What’s your favorite local brewery to visit in the summer?

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Note: I was given a few types of beer and food provided free of charge. All opinions, whether you like them or not, are all my own.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Being Noble, with Noble Originals

After a long stretch of winter, a much too long hiatus and lots of changes floating around me, it was time to wake up and be noble.

One way to get myself back on track was start from skin deep; I needed a moisturizer for my skin that would help make it smooth and feel healthy. As we all know, winter is the worst for skin, it’s so dry and cracked, and your body yearns for deep, rich body butter. Lucky for me, Noble Originals was there to help me solve both problems.

Nobile Originals is the brainchild of Jenni (and Noble the horse where the namesake comes from), passionate about creating products that not only made from natural products that are healthy for the skin, but also keeping it environmentally friendly. Each of her products are organic and vegan and produced using only a few key ingredients including Shea Butter, lemongrass, olive oil and sea salts, just to name a few.

I tested for a week two of Noble Originals’ products including Tea Tree Body Butter and Vanilla Lip Balm. I picked a good week to try them as the weather went from balmy to down right cold in one week- a perfect way to test their products on my skin.

Upon opening the Tea Tree Body Butter I noticed a strong scent of aromatherapy and oils (a bit strong in the beginning, but more relaxing as I lathered it on) and a very light and fluffy texture. I was a bit skeptical as there are a lot of oil products in the Body Butter; I thought it would be more like putting sunscreen on, very oily and greasy feeling. However, I was surprisingly corrected as I tried on the Body Butter and found it to be refreshing and not greasy at all. Within minutes, my skin felt softer and more nourished and I felt confident I would have the same feeling all day. I used only a small amount for my arms, neck and chest area, so the jar would last me quite a few months.

The Vanilla Lip Balm was next for me to test out. If you’re like me, putting on lip balm every hour on the hour, you notice that your lips get dry quickly and have you ever stop to actually think what is in the lip balm? What are we actually putting on our mouths and most likely ‘eating’, what types of chemicals are going into our bodies?  With a soft, airy scent of vanilla, my lips felt happy knowing that vanilla beans, Shea butter and other vegan and natural oils would settle nicely on my dry lips and completely moisturize them to a fine, soft texture.

By the end of the week, I could feel quite a difference when using Nobile Original’s products.  I still have a so much body butter that I’ll continue to use every morning to start my day and believe me, when it gets to a dangerously low level, I’ll be ordering a few more batches so my skin will never dry out again!

Noble Originals products are sold primarily online but if you simply can’t wait, you can find their products at a few South Shore retailers, including: Wishbones in Scituate, Pura Vida Salon in Braintree, and Hafta Havit in Pembroke.

What is your go-to vegan and organic skin care?

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Note: The products pictured were provided free of charge. All opinions, whether you like them or not, are all my own.