Tag Archives: brewfest

Mohegan Sun BrewFest

Mohegan Sun is at it again! On Saturday night I attended their first annual Mohegan Sun BrewFest. I was excited to attend not only because I love foodie/tasting events, but also because I love the Mohegan Sun casino! I’ve visited Foxwoods and MGM Grand in CT (the latter is pretty good, the former not so much), but I always seem to come back to Mohegan. I’ve written about them a lot on the blog:

I was nervous because I’d been having off-and-on stomach issues since Wednesday, and they’d returned the morning of the event. However I took it easy all day long (it was kind of nice to sit around in my PJs watching TV…something I hadn’t done in awhile) and as a result felt well enough to get ready and head out in the early evening! Of course I attended the event with my foodie friend Jeff! Are you really that surprised? Funny enough, a couple of folks we ran into at BrewFest said they recognized him from my blog! What a celeb.

Ready to go with our media passes and tasting glasses!

The crowds at this event amazed me. The line for tickets at the box office completely blocked walking traffic, and so many patrons had already entered the tasting area in the Uncas Ballroom at the time of our arrival that a huge line had formed for those that already had tickets and were waiting to get in. Only a few people could be let in at a time – I’m guessing the Ballroom was already at capacity.

We decided to concentrate on beers we hadn’t tried before, especially since lines had already formed at each tasting booth and were only getting longer! Our tasting session started at 6PM and by 7PM, almost every booth (except Twisted Tea…ha) had a huge line and many tables were so close together that it was more like a cluster of people standing around, not sure what table they were waiting to taste from. I’m not surprised that the event was so packed since the event was extremely affordable ($20/session), but in the future I would recommend that Mohegan Sun either sell less tickets (by limiting them or raising prices…not an advocate of the latter) or change the layout of the tasting room. Altogether the tables probably took up a little less than half of the room and were arranged so closely! It was easy for lines to merge and become clusters.

Posin’ with my brew glass!

That’s where my recommendations for improvement end. It was still a great event, perfect for a beer newbie like myself! I can’t say that I can now see myself going to a restaurant and ordering a glass of beer, but that’s because I just love wine and cocktails so much more. But a beer tasting is perfect for an adventurarian like myself who just wants to sample as many different unique tastes as possible.

A toast with Sammy Adams!

Some hop-lights (haaaa)…

My two favorites of BrewFest!

Props to Hooker Brewery of Bloomfield, CT for bringing two beers on tap that ended up being my favorites of the night. Their Chocolate Truffle Stout is made with Munson’s cocoa powder/nibs and was truly incredible. It rivals the Southern Tier Choklat that I’ve always said was my favorite chocolate beer (always as in, since this past Easter). The Saison is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale and reminded me of a barleywine. Excellent subtle caramel flavor that impressed me with its complexity!

Henry Weinhard’s, a brand I’d never heard of.

Jeff and I sampled Henry Weinhard’s Redwood Flats Amber Ale and Private Reserve American Pale Lager. The brewery is located in the Pacific Northwest, which may explain why I had zero awareness, but Henry is on my radar now! I really enjoyed the Amber Ale.

City Steam Brewery’s Naughty Nurse, Innocence IPA, and Blonde on Blonde on tap.

I adore City Steam’s vintage label and poster designs!

City Steam Brewery is a Hartford mainstay. The establishment is not only a brewery, but a successful restaurant and comedy club as well. I’ve only visited the restaurant once, but enjoyed my experience. Sampling the beer has certainly made me want to get back there for dinner – maybe even a comedy show! My favorite of the three still remains Naughty Nurse (sampled at Taste of Wethersfield), but the Innocence IPA was so light and refreshing; I know my mom would adore it.

Fun name!

Jeff made a beeline for the Olde Burnside Brewing table when we saw it! I’m surprised I liked the above Hop’t Scot Ale as much as I did, because I generally avoid hoppier beers and it’s an English IPA…gone Scottish! However it totally impressed me with its light, smooth, unique flavor. Definitely never tasted a beer like this before and that’s what made me gravitate toward it. The sign stated this beer was “balanced” and it didn’t lie!

Fitfluential media guests!

I spotted Jennifer of Savoring the Thyme right before I left the event – good timing! Must be that Fitfluential ESP! I feel like Jennifer and I came full-circle since the first time we did a meet-up, which was also at Mohegan.  But it won’t be the last meet-up! It was fun catching up with her and finally meeting her man. They’d just come from an anniversary dinner at Bar Americain that sounded like a dream! I also ran into a co-worker, Greg and Wendy of Connecticut Bloggers, Sarah of Adventures With My Boys, and the parents of one of my sister’s best friends.

Siena Sling (Grey Goose, lemon, basil) for me and Sicilian Julep for Jeff!

BrewFest was fun, but you know me. I’m a cocktail snob. And a cocktail snob needs a cocktail when she’s at the casino! Jeff and I decided to have dinner and a drink at Mohegan’s newest restaurant, Ballo. We love dining at the bar (as opposed to a table) and there were exactly two seats open – perfect. Our bartender, Stephanie, was great! She made us excellent drinks (see caption above); mine was strong yet smooth, thanks to the Goose 😛 so simple, so me. Jeff enjoyed his beverage as well – he’d had it once before (he’s been to Ballo for just drinks) so it was good enough to order a second time!

Boooo, even Instagram couldn’t make this pic work without a flash.

I was torn between salmon and swordfish (seafood, obviously!), but Stephanie helped me make the right call and recommended the Swordfish Livornaise with escarole and black olives. Umm, and the menu didn’t even mention that the dish also included CHICKPEAS. Heaven! I finished every last bite and had to scoop up the final drops of sauce with bread. Duh.

Flash was required in this place! Check out the hearty size of that swordfish!

Jeff was going to go the practical money-saving route and get a flatbread (a more affordable menu option for those who wish to try this place but are worried it’ll be too expensive), but then Stephanie told us about the evening’s special. She uttered the words “braised short rib with pumpkin polenta” and Jeff’s mouth dropped open. He was speechless. I stepped in and said, “He’ll take it.”

Check out that crusty bread! Not very crispy, but certainly delightful. The butter particularly impressed – it was sitting in a pool of herbs and olive oil!

I tried a bite and man oh man, that special was worth its $29 price tag. Though the speed at which it came out made Jeff wonder how long ago it had been cooked!

We ended our evening at the casino with a trip to the craps table. I love playing craps, but the way I play pisses off my friends. I will only bet the minimum bet on the pass line (the most basic way to play), and walk away as soon as I lose one round. I play $20 and if I lose it all, I just stop there. Yes, it’s a practical way to gamble. And no, it doesn’t bore me! I’m still playing and watching the action at the table, and thanks to my conservative strategy, I almost always walk away a winner. For example, last night I won $40. And Jeff joined in on my strategy for once, and he walked away with winnings too! He was certainly glad that he won back dinner.

What a fun evening. So glad I’ve crossed another restaurant off my (mental)  list of Mohegan restaurants to try, experienced some cool brews, and got to hang out with so many friends. I felt so in my element and at peace throughout the evening and whenever I started feeling any anxiety about the food and drinks, I focused on the company I was keeping and the fact that my hard work on my blog had led to Mohegan Sun inviting me to come to BrewFest. Then I felt proud and grateful! Too blessed to be stressed indeed.

Thank you Mohegan Sun for having me at the BrewFest! I received complimentary passes to attend, but all opinions are my own.

Have you ever heard of any of the beers I sampled? Which do you think you’d enjoy?

Is there a casino near you? Have you ever been to one?

A Whole New Accomplishment!

Thank you to those who entered my Mohegan Sun BrewFest giveaway! I’m pleased to announce the winner…

Leah of A Lil of This…A Lil of That! Thank you for entering and I will be contacting you about getting your passes to the BrewFest session of your choice!

Remember everyone, tickets to this weekend’s event are still just $20/session and you can attend Saturday 12-4pm or 6-10pm (I’m going to that one), or Sunday 12-4pm. So many choices, so many beers…you have to be there!

I have such exciting news to share! I have been aware of this announcement since Monday but was waiting until I had photos to include in this post before doing a “reveal post”. It was hard…believe me. But now I’m here writing this, and I can SHOW you all my big news, and I’m so glad I waited.

Whole Foods Market puts out a magazine in its stores for customers to have for FREE, and the holiday edition just started arriving in the 28 North Atlantic region stores yesterday (yes I know, holidays already). Before you decide to hold off on picking up your copy until after we actually get to Halloween, you’ll want to know that this issue is all about the FOODIE, a category I definitely would place many of my readers and myself in. And apparently, Whole Foods agrees.

I spy with my little eye…

The early pages of this holiday issue contain a section called In the Market, with a feature titled “On the Web: Fresh Voices” about “food-loving bloggers right here in New England”. And the last (but not least, don’t worry! :-P) blogger on that list just happens to be AMAZING ME!!!!!

And major props to fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Elizabeth of On Tap for Today for being featured too!

I was so shocked and honored when Whole Foods contacted me to let me know that I’d be in the magazine. The Connecticut stores recommended me to the North Atlantic region’s PR department! As if they haven’t been kind enough to me already. And the PR department was kind enough to send me several copies of the magazine for myself…obviously I need way more than one.

However I didn’t think the department would get me my copies in the mail so quickly, so last night I hit up my closest Whole Foods. The helpful customer service staff gave me a few copies of the magazine from the back despite the fact that it’s not sitting out in stores just yet. Another local store hadn’t even received it yet. But hopefully by next week the magazines (all 200,000 copies!) will be sitting out in North Atlantic region stores if anyone wants to pick one up 😉

Last night, this big news played a huge role in my participation in Becki‘s Leaf Your Negativity Behind October challenge. Yesterday was not the best of days. My stomach wasn’t behaving and feeling crappy physically does not lend itself to fighting if I’m feeling crappy mentally. But before bed I did my meditation on positive truths about myself. And this Whole Foods accomplishment was just what I needed to focus on and allow myself to be proud of all I have done with my blog in only a year. Who cares if I had a glass of wine with dinner last night? I’m in a WHOLE FOODS MAGAZINE. I deserve it!

Encouraging note my sister left me in our bathroom once after I’d had a stressful night…it now has a permanent home in my room above my bed!

While I do wish that I’d had some input in the magazine’s description of my blog (I feel like “healthful diet” does not really describe what I am trying to attain…more like a happy, health physical and mental life), I am again taking Becki’s advice and leaving the negativity behind. My blog is in print! The people of Whole Foods think it’s worthy of their magazine! And the bloggers I’m featured with are so incredibly talented. Being in their company is truly an honor!

This big news just makes me want to dive into my blog in an even bigger way and get to an ideal balance of posts about foodie events, restaurant reviews, my mental struggles, fitness, daily life, giveaways…I feel like my fall semester workload and increasingly busy full-time job have been getting in the way of that! Part of me is worried that a few months from now, Whole Foods will be wondering why they put me in their magazine. But wait…that’s negativity. That does NOT have a place in the celebration of such accomplishment. Nope, not allowed.

So thank you all for supporting me over this past year (and longer to you “real life” readers 😛 ) and thank you Whole Foods for recognizing my blog! And GO ME!

What’s your biggest “blog accomplishment” so far? Everyone has one, even someone who just started. I declare this post’s comments to be a BRAG BONANZA!

Do you have a Whole Foods near you? I know some of my readers are Whole Foods “deprived”!

Oh Hoppy Day – Mohegan Sun BrewFest Giveaway!

Happy Sunday night! I know, I know. Sunday nights are often not happy for us M-F 9-5ers. This particular Sunday has been a bit hard for me – more to come tomorrow, I’m doing some reflecting still but am anxious to share my thoughts on the weekend with you guys.

Now for a hoppy announcement!

But I’m here to cheer up your Sunday with a giveaway for my readers close to Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT! I love Mohegan’s food and drink events. The Sun WineFest blew my mind earlier this year, and I even got to attend the first ever Mohegan Sun BBQ Fest back in June. Now the casino is launching an annual BrewFest!

The event is this coming weekend, Saturday 10/6 and Sunday 10/7. Three sessions are available to attend – Saturday noon to 4pm and 6-10pm (I’m going to that one), and Sunday noon to 4pm. And get this – tickets to a session are just $20 each! So affordable. This isn’t a dinky event either. Check out Mohegan’s BrewFest webpage for a long list of both drink and food vendors that will be there. The casino is also featuring a hotel package to go with the event.

One of my favorite spots in Mohegan is the beautiful Leffingwell’s Martini Lounge!

Portions of ticket proceeds benefit a great cause too, a cause that I never before considered a need for, but as soon as I heard about it I was on board. Snowball Express helps the children of fallen members of our military. It’s so important to take care of the families of America’s heroes, both living and those who have lost their lives.

Mohegan Sun is offering a giveaway for two passes to a BrewFest session of your choice! One Cait Plus Ate reader will win the passes, so make sure you are free this weekend in case you win! And even if you don’t, it’s only $20 per ticket, so you should totally hit up BrewFest…heck, I’ll be there Saturday night, so come then!

Giveaway ends this Wednesday 10/3 at 12PM EST! To enter, you can do the following – and leave a comment for each:

  1. Check out the list of vendors attending and leave a comment telling me which excites you most! (mandatory)
  2. Follow @MoheganSun on Twitter and comment saying you did.
  3. Follow @CaitPlusAte on Twitter and comment saying you did.
  4. Tweet “I entered the @MoheganSun BrewFest #giveaway from @CaitPlusAte! http://wp.me/p1SfTW-1wT” and comment here with the link to the tweet.
  5. Follow Mohegan Sun on Pinterest and comment saying you did.
  6. Follow Cait Plus Ate on Pinterest and comment saying you did.

So many ways to enter 🙂 good luck!

Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 21 years of age or older. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.