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Celebrating National Chocolate Day with Lily’s Sweets!

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Chocolate lovers, rejoice! National Chocolate Day is July 7, which means it’s time to celebrate one of the world’s best sweet treats: chocolate. Nobody needs an extra reason to eat chocolate, but if you and your family are particularly passionate about the cocoa confection, then you’ll want to celebrate!

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This year I am celebrating with Lily’s Sweets; premium chocolate bars and baking chips. Lily’s stevia-sweetened chocolate has all the indulgence you crave but with a lot fewer calories. They use only the finest non-GMO ingredients, including genuine, Fair Trade certified cocoa. All Lily’s bars and baking chips are certified gluten-free. 

What sets Lily’s apart?

  • Stevia-sweetened (less than 1g of sugar per serving)
  • Fair trade
  • Gluten free
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan (select products)
  • Available in chocolate bars, snack bars and baking chips/bars

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Cynthia and Chuck named Lily’s Sweets after Chuck’s niece, Lily, an inspired – and inspiring — young lady and childhood brain cancer survivor. Since being diagnosed at age 7, Lily has been raising money for other kids battling cancer, and Cynthia and Chuck are proud to honor Lily’s bravery and commitment to aiding others by contributing a percentage of profits each year to non-profit organizations that provide services to children with cancer and their families. As for Lily, she is now in her teenage years, has celebrated her 5-year anniversary of diagnosis and remains cancer-free and dedicated to helping others in need. In addition to supporting children’s cancer causes, Lily’s Sweets is further committed to operating ethically and sustainably. 

You can find Lily’s Sweets online at Amazon as well as hundreds of retail locations across the country including; Whole Foods Market, Star Market, and Stop and Shop.

Healthier chocolate from a company with a heartfelt mission – indulgence has never tasted this good! 

But why restrict yourself in celebrating Chocolate Day? If you eat good-quality chocolate or chocolate treats in moderation, then any day can truly be Chocolate Day, even while you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. For those who are true lovers of chocolate, the celebration of Chocolate Day knows no bounds.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Keli’s Sauces // Gluten Free Asian and Hawaiian inspired Sauces

Keli’s Sauces is a line of gluten free Asian and Hawaiian inspired sauces. They are a female owned and operated company and since starting in 1992, they’ve been making the best Polynesian style sauces in the U.S.and all of them are naturally gluten free, vegan, nut-free, low fat, no MSG, and 50% lower in sodium than most teriyaki on the market!

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Gluten free teriyaki is not easy to find and when you do find it, it is loaded with sodium. Keli’s Sauces include:

  • Polynesian Sweet-N-Sour
  • Hawaiian Ginger Garlic Teriyaki Glaze
  • Spicy Hawaiian Ginger Garlic Teriyaki Glaze
  • Pineapple Hawaiian Luau Teriyaki Marinade 
  • Pele’s Fire Hot Teriyaki

I was thrilled when Teresa – Keli’s daughter – reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in trying their sauces. Jeremy and I went on our honeymoon last month to the French Polynesia and I was excited for the opportunity to taste some of those flavors again.

The sauces are great for marinading and glazing, grilling, stir frying and can even be used as dipping sauces. 

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The Polynesian Sweet-N-Sour is my favorite! It’s not too heavy and it has a great flavors it reminds me of being in the islands! I’ve used it on shrimp and tofu and I can’t wait to try it with more dishes. 

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Currently, you can purhase Keili’s sauces online and in select retail locations in Hawaii, Washington and Oregon. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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NiChef – Personal Culinary Experiences in your home

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As most of you know I have a full time job outside of blogging. I try to cook meals for my husband and I at least 4 nights a week but sometimes I just want someone else to cook for me. Is that took much to ask? Not if you ask NiChef!

NiChef is an online global marketplace where you can easily book a personal chef to cook in your kitchen. Niche is bringing communities together through authenticity and experiences while creating new job opportunities in the culinary world. Think of it like airbnb but for chefs.

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Having someone cook in your home, whether it’s a romantic meal for two, dinner party for 4 or 10, it’s such a fun experience and you don’t have to worry about being in the kitchen and not with your significant other/friends/guests. And it won’t break the bank. Contrary to what you are probably thinking, having someone else cook your food doesn’t cost as much as you’d think. In fact, it’s usually cheaper than eating at restaurants, and if you find the right chef like I did, the food tastes better. AND you get to choose exactly what you want to eat and when!

I recently had the chance to experience Nichef. I invited my sister over to share the experience with me. Out chef was Lisseth Conza-Berman. Listen grew up in Peru and all Nichef experiences are Peruvian; centered around the foods she grew up with. Peruvian food is a fusion cuisine, due to its long multicultural history. Lisseth cooked us a delicious meal of Lomo saltado; sautéed beef loin with veggies. Como salted is one of the most emblematic dishes that Peru has to offer. A mix between Chinese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients, makes this dish satisfying and full of flavor. It consists on marinated beef tenderloin stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and served with french fries and white rice.

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The price of the meal is $60 for two people. $30 each for a home cooked meal is a great price and a similar dish in a restaurant would cost you at least $30, if not more when you factor in tip, tax, and beverages/appetizers. 

So how does it work? 

Signing up to use the nichef marketplace is fast and easy. You can sign up with your facebook credentials or your email. After your have confirmed your email, you are ready to go!

To reserve a Chef you will need to sign up and create a Foodie profile. Once you have created and activated your profile, you can then start searching for a memorable experience by type of cuisine, location, and date. It’s recommended that you submit a request at least 1 week before your event date. Once you request a chef, the chef will accept or decline your booking within 24 hours. If you have any dietary restrictions, you can message the chef directly through Nichef’s messaging system.

There are about 40 chefs on the site that you can choose from. Chefs run their own business; choose their own schedules, menus and prices. Every chef has their own ‘niche’ in the culinary market and Nichef allows them to offer you a personal, and delicious, at home dining experience. 

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Wallaby’s NEW Simple Bakes

Wellaby’s has launched a new savoury snack. Simple Bakes is the first wholegrain snack that will tantalise your taste buds from the very first crunch, while being completely free from most common allergens. 

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Simple Bakes are baked to a light, crispy and bubbly perfection – bringing new meaning to the word ‘moreish’! Whether you’re celiac, gluten intolerant or simply want to avoid gluten in your diet, you can rest easy because Wellaby’s has you covered! They produce Simple Bakes in a gluten free dedicated facility and operate strict control over incoming ingredients to ensure products are 100% free of gluten.

Simple Bakes are also free of nuts, eggs, dairy, and GMO’s, and are lower in calories and fat than potato crisps. 

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Simple Bakes are so moreish and tasty, yet only have 6% fat and less than 110 Kcal per serving.

The snacks are available in 3 flavors, including:

  • Pinch of Sea Salt & Pepper – A delicate pinch of salt will wake up your taste buds from that first crispy bite. The freshly milled pepper gives it a slight kick. Perfect for dipping with hummus!
  • Spicy Chilli – A fusion of fiery warmth and tasty tanginess that pack a punch without being too hot to handle. 
  • Smoky BBQ – A ‘Deep South’ inspired snack that blends sweet and smoky. The rich BBQ smokehouse flavor is hard to resist! 

You can purchase Wellaby Simple Bakes online here

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Grainful // savory oatmeal meal kits and frozen entrees

Grainful chef-inspired frozen entrees and meal kits are made with 100% whole grain steel cut oats. Instead of rice or quinoa as the base, Grainful uses steel cut oats.

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Steel cut oats are a complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids. They are also high in fiber, making you feel fuller longer, and full of calcium, iron, magnesium, B-vitamins and antioxidants. Steel cut oats also Contain high levels of Beta-Glucans, which help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, are low in unsaturated fats and sodium, and can also help regulate blood sugar levels and enhance immune defense.

Made with 100% whole grain steel cut oats, Grainful all-natural frozen entrées are the perfect quick and healthy lunch or dinner. The frozen entrees are great tasting and convenient. Bring them for lunch or heat them up for the whole family for dinner. Grainful chef-crafted recipes inspired by bold flavors from around the globe will leave you wanting more!

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Meal Kits can be used as a side or transformed into a full entree by simply adding vegetables and/or protein. These chef-crafted blends of steel cut oats, spices and vegetables are transformed into a delicious meal with the addition of meat, seafood or extra vegetables. With Grainful Meal Kits, the opportunities are endless. 

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Flavors include:

  • Tomato Risotto
  • Homestyle Cheddar
  • Madras Curry
  • Jambalaya

All products are gluten free certified, contain no GMO ingredients or perservatives, and almost all are vegan. 

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It’s simple. Clean ingredients and bold flavor profiles. 

You can find Grainful products at Wegmans, Safeway, and natural food stores across the US. Click here to find a store location nearest you.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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GLUTEN FREE & ALLERGEN FREE (GFAF) EXPO // JULY 22-23 in WORCHESTER, MA // TICKETS GIVEAWAY

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I will be attending the Gluten Free & Allergen Free (GFAF) Expo as an Official Blogger on July 22nd & 23rd! The expo is being held in Worcester, MA and covers all things gluten free and allergy free. It’s actually the largest expo of its kind in the US and I can’t wait! 

I attended the 2015 GFAF Expo in Secacus, NJ and I had a blast meeting new vendors and trying dozens of gluten free products. This year there are already 75 exhibitors lined up! 

Not only get to attend the blog, meet my favorite brands and try delicious food all day long, but I also get to giveaway 5 FREE PASSES so you can join in on the fun too! During the show I will tweet and instagram all my favorite gluten free finds and provide you with inside scoop on the latest gluten free news and new products. Post show, I will write a post blog post recaping my day and share with you all the new gluten free products I try and where you can find them! 

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Don’t want to wait until the giveaway ends? You can purchase tickets online now. Click on this link to purchase tickets and save 30% off  with code EARLYBIRD (thru 6/21) or
20% off with code ADVANCE (6/22 thru 7/21).

The Expo hours are Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 10am-3pm. A single day pass will work for either day of the event. 

The GFAF Expos are the greatest events on earth for those living a gluten-free or allergen-friendly lifestyle. Attendees can sample hundreds of products, meet with local & national brands, receive coupons, and attend informative presentations by top-notch speakers. The Expos are a fun, family-friendly, educational & safe place made just for you!

What do you get with your Expo Ticket?

  • Entry into the vendor fair with 100+ exhibiting brands
  • Coupons from the best gluten-free & allergen-friendly brands
  • FREE samples from exhibitors- baked goods, pizza, healthy options & more
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten-free & allergen-friendly lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
  • The chance to meet your favorite brands, restaurants, authors & bloggers

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The show is meant to meet the needs of people with a diverse array of health conditions. All products are gluten free however, many booths do contain other allergens. The show is not 100% free from any potential allergen, as it is hosted in a multi-use venue. All visitors must be aware of their health situation, take appropriate precautions and carry necessary medication.

The GIVEAWAY

TO enter follow these simple rules:

This giveaway will end on June 14th at 11:59pm EST. Must be 18 or older. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the event in exchange for writing a blog post.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

It’s a Cider Revolution at the Hyper Local Brewfest // June 9 & 10

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On June 9th and 10th The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts will be hosting it’s 6th Annual Hyper-Local Craft Briefest. With craft beer hitting maximum saturation, hard cider is really taking off. This is being called a ‘cider revolution’. And the Brewfest will have plenty of cider to sample from Cider companies all around New England. 

This years’ Cider vendors include: 

Prospect Ciderworks was founded in 2015 as Harvard Cider Company, located out in Harvard, Massachusetts. One of the founders, Mark Finnegan, grew up in the area which has a plethora of orchards–fairly common for Central Mass. The idea at the start was to do something different and to push the boundaries of craft cider while still using and showcasing local apples, and in the first full year of business they launched three flagship ciders as well as a summer seasonal. The drive of their ciders is to experiment with new flavor profiles that haven’t typically been used in traditional cider-making.  

Last fall, Prospect Ciderworks moved to a 6,500 sqft facility just south of the South End in Newmarket Square. With the move they decided to change the name to respect the fresh start: Prospect Ciderworks is an homage both to Prospect Hill in Harvard, which has a beautiful view of the Nashua River Valley, and to the street that the three founders first lived on in high school. Prospect Ciderworks will be on shelves come the end of May-early June.

Stowe Cider is handcrafted and made in small batches from local apples in Stowe, VT.

Artifact Cider is a brewery based in Everett, MA that crafts ciders of distinction from the superb apples of New England. Unfortunately they don’t have a tasting room but you can find their ciders at various locations in and around Boston!

Lookout Farm Cider is a true craft cidery. They use modern fermentation and traditional aging techniques to produce a uniquely refreshing hard cider since 1651. Lookout Farm is located in South Natick, MA, and is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the U.S.

Bantam Cider is a modern, craft cider made locally in Massachusetts from fresh pressed apples and all natural ingredients. The brewery is located in Somerville, MA.

There are a whopping three unlimited sampling sessions over two days. To purchase tickets, click here

Time & Dates:

  • Session 1 – Friday, June 9th  (6:30 – 9:30 PM) 
  • Session 2 – Saturday, June 10th  (3:00 – 6:00 PM)
  • Session 3 – Saturday, June 10th  (7:00 – 10:00 PM)

The event will be held at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA. Tickets are $48.00  for general admission and $89.00 for a pair. The Brewfest will gather nearly one thousand local craft brew fans to celebrate together with dozens of vendors over two days, and three sessions, of unlimited drink samples, food, and fun!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review and all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Flavor Bombs Cookbook

Three years ago I was introduced to Flavor Bombs, a line of all natural, fresh frozen, gluten free, low sodium cooking bases. Flavor Bombs are a unique cooking base developed to create a dish that makes four or more servings. They are already cooked, so you can use them to start or finish a dish.

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The creator of Flavor Bombs, Giovannina Bellino, recently launched a cookbook called Cooking with Flavor Bombs. It is complete with essential Bomb step-by-step instructions plus delicious recipes to use your Flavor Bombs in, including Spaghetti Frittata, Roasted Pork Loin, Pot Pie with Guinness Stout and Cheddar, Chicken Tikka Masala, and more. 

If you’re tired of chopping fresh veggies and herbs night after night or throwing away extra produce, then it’s time to revolutionize your cooking with Flavor Bombs™!

Flavor Bombs are incredible blends of savory, sautéed aromatics, fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices, or stocks and sauces that you make in advance and freeze in ice cube trays. So go ahead and take advantage of those fresh vegetable and herb specials at your local market! With the Flavor Bomb secret, you stock up, chop up, and drop the “F” Bomb in every dinner, for an instant flavor explosion. 

Gio’s recipes are simple yet flavorful. Perfect for family pleasing meals! You can purchase the new cookbook, out last month, on Amazon here.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Movie Night with G.H. Cretors Popped Corn

I love going out on date nights with my husband but sometimes it’s also nice to stay in, put on comfy pants, and simply watch a movie together.Thanks for G.H. Cretors, we were able to enjoy a night in complete with popcorn and movies! 

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G.H. Cretors popcorn roots date back to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where the very first commercial popcorn maker was unveiled by Charles Cretors. Today, the passion for obsessively delicious popcorn continues, with all popcorn varieties made with high-quality, real ingredients, like premium aged cheddar cheese, at the G.H. Cretors facility in Waukegan, Illinois.

Popcorn is naturally gluten-free, and G.H. Cretors is committed to keeping it that way. They don’t process gluten in their facility, and all of their products are Certified Gluten-Free. 

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G.H. Creators uses Non-GMO popcorn and Non-GMO ingredients whenever possible in all flavors, and only organic ingredients in the Organics line. Aside from its rich flavor profile, brown rice syrup has other pros—which is exactly why we use it instead of sugar. Unlike other sugars that cause “sugar highs,” brown rice syrup offers a steady supply of energy over a longer period. Bonus: It also has a wonderful, crisp sweetness. Most caramel corns still opt for corn syrup. Most, but not us. 

Flavors include:

  • Organic Chile Jalapeño White Cheddar
  • Organic Dill Pickle
  • Just the Cheese Corn
  • Just the Caramel Corn
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • The Mix

You can find G.H. Cretors at Target, Star Market, Shaws,Walgreens, and Rite Aid to name a few retailers. Click here to find a retail location nearest you.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Cider & Artisan Beverages offered at the Hyper Local Brewfest

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On June 9th and 10th The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts will be hosting it’s 6th Annual Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest. So you are probably thinking, “I can’t drink beer!”. I know!! The Briefest is not only about beer. Over the years it has grown to include a number of cider and artisan beverage companies and this year there are quite a few gluten free beverages available at the Fest for you to try!
 
This year there will be an abundance of cider at the festival, which just so happens to be one of my favorite drinks. From cider to cold brew, there is plenty for the non-gluten drinkers to sample. 
 
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Green Bee hand crafted beverages are made with real ingredients, real flavor and the natural sweetness of honey.  Green Bee beverages harness the power of local bees to offer a healthier alternative to mass produced beverages (this soda but healthier). 

Say Hello To The Green Bee Way:

  • Only use fresh squeezed juices and real ingredients.
  • Ingredient lists are short and clean.
  • You will never find refined sugars. Just pure honey.
  • Made without chemicals and preservatives.

I love that I can drink soda that tastes real and doesn’t make me feel bad after drinking it. The flavors are strong – in a good way – and so fresh tasting! Green Bee Craft Beverages can be found in natural food stores, fine restaurants, leading supermarkets, gourmet shops and fine pubs, including Boston-area Whole Foods, Cambridge Naturals, Allandale Farm, and Luke’s Lobster restaurants. Green Bee Craft Beverages is handcrafted and bottled in Brunswick, Maine.

Prospect Ciderworks was founded in 2015 as Harvard Cider Company, located out in Harvard, Massachusetts. One of the founders, Mark Finnegan, grew up in the area which has a plethora of orchards–fairly common for Central Mass. The idea at the start was to do something different and to push the boundaries of craft cider while still using and showcasing local apples, and in the first full year of business they launched three flagship ciders as well as a summer seasonal. The drive of their ciders is to experiment with new flavor profiles that haven’t typically been used in traditional cider-making.  

Last fall, Prospect Ciderworks moved to a 6,500 sqft facility just south of the South End in Newmarket Square. With the move they decided to change the name to respect the fresh start: Prospect Ciderworks is an homage both to Prospect Hill in Harvard, which has a beautiful view of the Nashua River Valley, and to the street that the three founders first lived on in high school. Prospect Ciderworks will be on shelves come the end of May-early June.

DrinkMaple was founded by two dedicated triathletes in May 2014, DRINKmaple Organic Maple Water is a premium, plant-based hydration beverage containing one single ingredient: maple sap. Boasting 46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and prebiotics, the functional beverage is naturally low in calories and sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, organic, Kosher and non-GMO, as well as being naturally subtly sweet and refreshing with a hint of maple. DrinkMaple is available all over Boston including, Whole Foods, CVS, Wegmans, Stop & Shop.

Other gluten free beverages to look out for at the festival:

Commonwealth Coffee Co.‘s craft cold brew coffee is micro-roasted, micro-brewed, and fairly traded specialty coffee from the best coffee farmers in the world.

ParTea Infuse the Booze is made in Somerville, MA. Their infusers are made up of of dried fruits, herbs, and spices packed into paper tea bags. Add any spirit of 80 proof or higher and get delicious results. Each kit comes with flavor-specific recommendations, and you can have fun experimenting!

Stowe Cider is handcrafted and made in small batches from local apples in Stowe, VT.

Artifact Cider is a brewery based in Everett, MA that crafts ciders of distinction from the superb apples of New England. Unfortunately they don’t have a tasting room but you can find their ciders at various locations in and around Boston!

Lookout Farm Cider is a true craft cidery. They use modern fermentation and traditional aging techniques to produce a uniquely refreshing hard cider since 1651. Lookout Farm is located in South Natick, MA, and is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the U.S.

Bantam Cider is a modern, craft cider made locally in Massachusetts from fresh pressed apples and all natural ingredients. The brewery is located in Somerville, MA.

A handful of beer vendors also have gluten-free beer, but I am currently not 100% sure as to what flavors will make an appearance at the festival.

There are a whopping three unlimited sampling sessions over two days. To purchase tickets, click here

Time & Dates:

  • Session 1 – Friday, June 9th  (6:30 – 9:30 PM) 
  • Session 2 – Saturday, June 10th  (3:00 – 6:00 PM)
  • Session 3 – Saturday, June 10th  (7:00 – 10:00 PM)

The event will be held at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA. Tickets are $48.00  for general admission and $89.00 for a pair. The Brewfest will gather nearly one thousand local craft brew fans to celebrate together with dozens of vendors over two days, and three sessions, of unlimited drink samples, food, and fun!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review and all my thoughts and opinions are my own.