Beer, Wine & Spirits in Fitchburg

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The Boston Wine Expo’s Grand Tasting event unites varietals from nearly 200 wineries around the world with cuisine from more than 40 local eateries during four hours of culinary harmony. Attendees can sip more than 1,000 red and white elixirs culled from the grape-producing and wild-cork-taming regions of North America, Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, and the Mediterranean. Samples from Boston-area restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Sandrine’s Bistro complement each swig as vintners enlighten enophiles on current winemaking trends. Throughout the afternoon, top gastronomic maestros tread two stages during live demonstrations that divulge recipes and directions for finding the secret compartment hidden inside every wine bottle. Lifestyle exhibits and a full schedule of seminars enlighten guests on topics ranging from cheese-and-wine matching to the diversity of Italian varietals (not included with this Groupon). A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit local charities.

200 Seaport Blvd
Boston,
MA
US

With three haunted houses, a spooky hayride, and a bustling carnival, Witch’s Woods is a Halloween theme park that rises from the mist for only one month a year. Ferried along by a sputtering tractor, Haunted Hayride passengers cower for 20 grueling minutes as they are assailed from all sides by zombies, werewolves, ghouls, and cows trying to nibble the hay. At the end of the ride, three paths lead to additional attractions, including Castle Morbid, in which medieval spirits chase interlopers through the halls and into the depths of the keep, where it becomes increasingly apparent that the weapons that once kept intruders out are now employed to keep them in. Nightmare Mansion is inhabited by a cursed family whose eternal life has left them as withered husks driven insane with rage at visitors who still possess the ability to die. The final path leads to the 3-D Keeper’s Crypt, where the undead shamble and scream as they pursue their prey, and where the walls themselves seem to be closing in.

A creepy carnival awaits survivors with rides, games, and more attractions. The Horror wood Chamber of Chills puts favorite Halloween and horror-movie characters on display, including such icons as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, and Mary Shelley’s original version of Shrek. Meanwhile, the Jack O’ Lantern Jamboree displays rows upon rows of professional carved pumpkins, eerily glowing at self-guided passersby.

79 Power Rd
Westford,
MA
US

Sea Dog Steak & Ale's menu catalogs hearty pub food and a deep well of beer. Every item on the menu pairs almost perfectly with one of the pub's 10 locally crafted brews served on tap, whether it's the milky Sea Dog Stout and the marinated grilled steak tips, the malty Winter Ale to wash down the chorizo-crusted haddock, or the crisp flavor of the Raspberry Wheat Ale as a palate cleanser after dinner. Sea Dog's chefs also grill 8-ounce filets mignons, which are as heavy as Willy Wonka minus his candy weight. The patties of seven specialty burgers blend ground beef, short rib, chuck, and brisket, all piled with toppings ranging from balsamic-marinated onions to root-beer barbecue sauce.

The alehouse's nightly crowd adds to the convivial ambiance of the pub by sharing drinks on its outdoor patio or in its rustic wood-paneled, chocolate- and almond-colored dining room. Frequent visitors can join the wine or mug clubs, which toss in benefits such as personalized mugs, T-shirts, and a spiritual connection with America's most famous beer drinker: Benjamin Franlin, the inventor of both mugs and T-shirts.

318 Main St
Northborough,
MA
US

In addition to introducing customers to the intricacies of brewing beer and wine with instructional books and DVDs, Strange Brew can actually train customers in the fine art of making booze from scratch during its monthly in-store classes. During these small-group sessions, brewers divulge the necessary pieces of equipment, explore the core ingredients, discuss their roles in the brewing and fermentation processes, and lead a tasting of the final product. Even when they aren't applying this hands-on approach, the staff excel at helping customers ready their first batch, whether for a party or as a way to make taking a bath more fun. Starter kits for beer and wine include essential tools, such as fermenting and bottling buckets, siphon hoses, and hydrometers. To help customers fill these components with the requisite ingredients, a range of basic and specialized recipe kits feature pre-measured selections of hops and malts or juices and yeasts. Other kits are suited to more specialty brewing projects, such as mead or sake. For the more serious craft-brewers, Strange Brew also carries heavy-duty stainless-steel instruments by Blichmann.

416 Boston Post Rd. E
Marlborough,
MA
US

Owner Svetlana Yanushkevich has spent the majority of her life surrounded by wine. She grew up on the southern peninsula of Ukraine, in a territory renowned for its 2,000-year-old winemaking tradition. After moving to the US in 2002, she built upon that foundation by managing wine programs at prestigious restaurants and earning a diploma from the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust in London.

In 2010, Svetlana added "wine-shop owner" to an already impressive résumé when she opened the doors to WineNot Boutique, winner of The Hippo magazines Best Wine Shop in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Today, WineNot Boutique's visitors gather to enjoy tastes from around the globe and, perhaps most importantly, benefit from Svetlana's wealth of knowledge. This year, Svetlana has partnered with local merchants to host a 7-night guided tour of one of the world's most renowned winemaking regions, as well. Collectible wines, artisan cheeses, and gourmet foods parade across the shop's shelves, and wine education events, such as weekly complimentary tastings, let novices ingest loads of wine-related facts without having to eat the pages of their Wine for Dummies book.

170 Main St
Nashua,
NH
US

Operated out of Chelmsford Nail and Spa, Dracut Luxor Nail and Organic Spa pampers clients with a wide range of nail services. From organic gel colors to manicures for men and kids, they beautify fingers and toes in whatever way meets a person’s needs best, unless of course that person needs to get a paraffin wax while typing their thesis. Waxing also appears on the technicians' portfolio of services and is available for both men and women.

245 Boston Rd
North Billerica,
MA
US

Fitchburg Scene