little beach street bakery

Review: The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Ok, I’ll admit it.

littlebeachstreetbakery

It took me entirely too long to finish The Little Beach Street Bakery, not because the book wasn’t enjoyable, but because a million other things got in the way. I started it after finishing Dark Matter in Mexico, and read about half of it the last day of our trip. After that, I needed to finish Arthur Pepper, then my library hold on You Are A Badass came through, then I had to read If There’s No Tomorrow, and then my library hold on Jenny’s newest, The Cafe by the Sea came through (spoiler – I only made it like 25% of the way through before my hold expired, so now I’m waiting again). Excuses, excuses, I know. All that to say, the poor little bakery sat unattended for weeks.

ANYWAY.

I mentioned in my beach reads post how much I loved the first book I read by Jenny Colgan, The Bookshop on the CornerI had high hopes that it wasn’t a one-time love, either; that I’d be just as thrilled with any of Colgan’s other works. While The Little Beach Street Bakery wasn’t *quite* as fantastic as The Bookshop on the Corner, I’m happy to report that Jenny Colgan has won a spot on my must-read-authors list.

Storywise, this one has some similarities, in that it’s a woman looking for a fresh start. She finds it in an unexpected town, where she knows no one, and somehow manages to turn something she loves into a way to earn a living. There’s a love interest, but that’s not the central part of the story. There’s a best friend, and best of all, there’s a PUFFIN named Neil.

Seriously, how much more could a girl want?

puffin

What I imagine Neil the puffin looks like. And now I want my very own puffin.

Paperback: 416 pages    Published: March 2014 by Sphere    Source: Purchased

Buy it on Amazon

The Little Beach Street Bakery on Goodreads

Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop.

To distract her from her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, and the local honey-courtesy of a handsome local beekeeper. Drawing on reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes . . . and discovers a bright new life where she least expected it.

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sharonstruth

Blog Tour: The Sweet Life by Sharon Struth

I’d never read one of Sharon Struth’s novels when I agreed to join the tour for The Sweet Life. I’m not a huge romance reader – I enjoy them, but they’re not my go-to genre. However, the premise sounded right up my alley – a woman looking for adventure and change in Italy? Yes, please.

So I said I wasn’t a big romance reader. Keep that in mind, then, when I tell you The Sweet Life is your pretty standard “roll-your-eyes” romance. By that, I mean that the characters are instantly smitten with each other, and over the next 200 or so pages all you hear is why it won’t work or he’s just not into me or I’m still raw from love gone wrong or so on and so forth. I have absolutely no problem with this, but it’s why you’ll never see a romance rated higher than 3 stars for me. The drama that’s necessary to create a good romance story gets on my nerves!

Please don’t think I’m criticizing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Sweet Life, and for me, that makes a book a winner. I was engaged, I rooted for Mamie, I rooted for Julian, and I rooted for Italy. I loved the cast of characters and they way they bonded. I loved the setting – if anything, I’d have loved more of it – and I loved/hated the food descriptions. (Hated, because now I want nothing but Italian food.) Mamie is a lot of fun, if a little…rash? The contrast between her and Julian is interesting, and it was fun to watch them sort each other out.

Bottom line? Likable characters, a gorgeous setting, and a cheesy-good romance? I’ll take it.

Paperback: 225 pages    Published: September 2017 by Lyrical Press    Source: Publisher via TLC

 

The Sweet Life on Goodreads

In Italy, the best attractions are always off the beaten path . . .

Mamie Weber doesn’t know why she survived that terrible car accident five years ago. Physically, she has only a slight reminder—but emotionally, the pain is still fresh. Deep down she knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life again. Now she has an opportunity to do just that, spending two weeks in Tuscany reviewing a tour company for her employer’s popular travel guide series. The warmth of the sun, the centuries-old art, a villa on the Umbrian border—it could be just the adventure she needs.

But with adventure comes the unexpected . . . like discovering that her entire tour group is made up of aging ex-hippies reminiscing about their Woodstock days. Or finding herself drawn to the guide, Julian, who is secretly haunted by a tragedy of his own, and seems to disapprove any time she tries something remotely risky—like an impromptu scooter ride with a local man.

As they explore the hilltop towns of Tuscany, Mamie knows that when this blissful excursion is over, she’ll have to return to reality. But when you let yourself wander, life can take some interesting detours …

 

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Purchase Links

Amazon | iBooks | Google | Kobo

 

About Sharon Struth

Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best first Book, and her Blue Moon Lake Novels include the bestseller, Share the Moon.

When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More.

Connect with Sharon

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

 

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour stops, and show your fellow readers some love!

 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Lyrical for the chance to participate in this tour! 

Bookings: September 18, 2017

BookingsOh my goodness, I’m ready for Fall. Bring me all the sweaters. Last week I mentioned I made my first ThredUp purchase. It arrived, and the verdict is in: I’m a fan. I ordered two sweaters, a wool skirt, and a button up, for a whopping $45. Everything fit (I only shopped brands I was aware of, and I paid attention to the measurements), and I liked 3 of the 4 items. The skirt was most definitely NOT the color listed on the website – it said it was grey, and it’s definitely tan – but I can deal with that. I’ll send the one shirt back and get store credit for something else. It’s definitely a site to search when you have an item in mind, otherwise it’s a little overwhelming. Use my link and you’ll get a $10 credit to spend!

This past week I traveled to Charleston, WV, for work. Work trips are fun because they give you a chance to scope out a place without a commitment – you have to be there anyway, so you might as well enjoy it. I’m not sure Charleston is a place I’d make a point to go back to, but I enjoyed my time there. I’ll try to get some pictures up for you soon. And while I’m at it, Mexico posts. Oops.

In other news, our septic tank backed up (again) last weekend, so we’ve been dealing with that. We’re working with contractors to repair the damage. It’s a blessing in disguise, actually – we needed to reno the basement, and now we’re sort of forced to.

Tonight is the season premier of Dancing with the Stars, and I’m beyond excited. Anyone else tuning in?

Don’t forget to like She’s All Booked over on Facebook for more book goodies and fun travel news!

Last Week’s Posts:

Bookings

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Club: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

I Just Finished Reading:

 

  

I’m Currently Reading:

     

I’m Traveling To:

Atlanta this weekend for the Misterwives tour, then camping at Bandy Creek.

 

 

 

Linkups

bookdatesundaypostKathryn over at the Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What are you reading! It’s a way to share what you’ve just read, are currently reading, and are reading next.

Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly meme, The Sunday Post. It’s a chance to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

arthurpepper

Book Club: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

August Theme and Book Selection

Our July/August theme was Firecracker or dynamic characters. When we started looking at books for that theme, we realized it was a whole lot harder than we’d thought. Most characters, or at least most good characters, are dynamic! So we decided to go with a character who experienced a life change, and that led us to The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. We all thought it sounded fun.

Paperback: 331 pages    Published: January 2016 by MIRA    Source: Purchased

Buy it on Amazon

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. It reminded me some of A Man Called Ove, one of my favorite books. Ove is a little darker though; Arthur Pepper has that same goofy stuck-in-a-rut lovableness, but he’s less grumpy. Safe to say if you liked Ove, you’ll probably enjoy Arthur.

Arthur’s journeys are somewhat less exciting than I’d hoped for, or perhaps less adventurous by my standards. I could have read more of them – I didn’t need more in terms of telling the story, but I wanted them to keep going. In particular, there’s a story about a man who owns a bunch of tigers. I could have read a whole book on that, I think. Truthfully there’s not a whole lot of depth to Arthur Pepper, but in this case, it works. You’re left with a light, uplifting read.

Book Club Discussion

Everyone who read book liked it (summers are hard!), and we all kind of agreed that it was a fluff read. One of the girls mentioned that she’d expected Arthur to go traipsing all over the world and was a little disappointed that he doesn’t.

We talked some about what would be on our own charm bracelets, and that quickly led us away from the book discussion as we talked about our travels and dogs and hobbies. One girl described her grandmother’s charm bracelet, and wondered if she’d had any fun secrets like Arthur’s wife.

September Book Club Theme: Bucket List, or a Book You’ve Always Wanted to Read

September Book Club Book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper on Goodreads

In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

darkmatter

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

darkmatter

Drinking a mudslide while totally engrossed in Dark Matter

Holy Hell.

Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter is a total mind-f*ck, guys.

It’s also incredibly absorbing.

Dark Matter intrigued me from the moment I first read the description, and I picked it up in the bookstore at least three times before finally deciding to buy it. I knew it would make a great beach read, and as soon as my toes hit the sand I plopped myself down and got to it. Two days and 27 mudslides later, I was finished.

Jason’s story is so crazy, so compelling, so….OUT THERE… that I just couldn’t put it down. I had to know, even when I suspected I already knew, what was going to happen. I had to know how Crouch would resolve the situation, how he’d manage to explain what was going on in terms a non-science-geek like me could understand. And he managed that well enough – I won’t say I grasped everything, but I caught enough to keep up.

Similar to Andy Weir’s The Martian or Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, Dark Matter is a sci-fi lover’s dream, but it’s one that can also appeal to just about anyone. It’s a great adventure mystery with a bit of the impossible thrown in. The story is grounded in science, real science, and that goes a long way in helping you suspend disbelief. It also makes it somewhat easy to predict, but the best part is – I didn’t care in the slightest.

Paperback: 342 pages    Published: July 2016 by Crown    Source: Purchased

Buy it on Amazon

Dark Matter on Goodreads

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Bookings: September 11, 2017

BookingsLast week was busy! My mom had cataract surgery (it went well!), and I lost Jimmie to Destiny 2. (In all seriousness, he’s been enjoying the game and is not actually ignoring me.) We drafted our Fantasy Football team – we had 14th pick out of 14 teams, so it was a challenge. I think we’ve got a decent team, if not a breakout one. We actually watched the Green Bay/Seahawks game last night and it gave me a near heart attack.

I went to a painting class Friday night, taught by a friend of mine, and then spent the rest of the weekend dealing with septic and plumbing issues, and crafting and blogging and playing around with Adobe Spark. I’ve been working on a knit shawl for months, and I’m determined to finish it so I can wear it this Fall. It’s not difficult, I’m just a super slow knitter. Speaking of Fall, I’m so ready for it. I’m a Summer girl through and through, but it’s been a loooong summer, and I’m ready for some cooler weather.

I didn’t end up ordering a desk for my craft room/office, but I did order a bunch of clothes with all the Labor Day sales. I made my first ThredUp purchase, and I’m really excited to see how that turns out.

You’re going to see a new review format starting this week, with Dark Matter on Wednesday. Let me know if you like it – I’m still torn! And lastly, don’t forget to like She’s All Booked over on Facebook for more book goodies and fun travel news!

Last Week’s Posts:

Bookings

Tour and Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout

Travel: Flying Saucer in Nashville, TN

I Just Finished Reading:

little beach street bakery

I’m Currently Reading:

    

I’m Traveling To:

This week, Charleston, WV for work, Atlanta in a few weeks for the Misterwives tour, then hopefully camping at Bandy Creek. I also all of a sudden want to book a trip after we get this plumbing situation under control, but haven’t decided where yet.

 

 

 

Linkups

bookdatesundaypostKathryn over at the Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What are you reading! It’s a way to share what you’ve just read, are currently reading, and are reading next.

Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly meme, The Sunday Post. It’s a chance to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Travel: Flying Saucer in Nashville, TN

Ready for the last post about our recent trip to Nashville? First, we had Sammy B’s, then we had Crawdaddy’s. After that it was Mantra Artisan Ales. And rounding out the Nashville posts, I bring you…Flying Saucer.

We also saw a concert while we were in Nashville, but it wasn’t all that exciting. It was One Republic, their third show of the tour. We were there to see Fitz and the Tantrums, who either pulled out of the tour or were never supposed to be on it in the first place….even though I’m 99.99% positive they were listed when I bought the tickets. I’m still bitter about it.

Moving on. Here’s photo proof that we did do something besides eat. And drink.

Nashville Flying Saucer

One of our friends recommended we stop in Flying Saucer while we were in Nashville (he knows us well). Since the concert was over at 10:00pm and neither of us was tired, we made the stop! It turned out well, since we were also both hungry. (We’d grabbed a quick Aldi chicken salad dinner in between Mantra and the concert. While yummy, it didn’t have much staying power!)

We parked in the lot behind the building, and I snapped a few photos of the back side of Union Station Hotel . The light hitting it was breathtaking. I didn’t actually know what the building was when I took the picture – just that it was beautiful!

The back of Nashville’s Union Station Hotel

The inside of the Flying Saucer is a beer lover’s dream, with dark wood, lots of saucers (more on that in a moment), and a tap wall that made me swoon.

Inside the Nashville Flying Saucer

Closeup of the Tap Wall at the Nashville Flying Saucer

The Beer

I’d never been to a Flying Saucer. Jimmie had, and I guess they’re all fairly similar. Tons and tons and tons of beer. 200 beers, to be exact. There’s so much beer that it gets its own double-sided menu.

  Beer menu at Nashville Flying Saucer

If you’re a hardcore beer fan, you can join their UFO club and they’ll track your progress. Once you’ve had all the beers, you get a fun reward – your very own saucer on the wall. If you make the rounds more than once, you get a fancier saucer. We saw some that said people had done all 200 beers….9 times. Impressive.

UFO Club Saucers at the Nashville Flying Saucer

UFO Club Saucers at the Nashville Flying Saucer

We ordered a Ghost Flight, which is 4 unknown beers. You rate them on the restuarant’s website, and then whichever beer ends up getting the highest rating gets added to the taps. We weren’t super impressed with any of them. We knew we had a Mexican style lager, and one of the others was a honey pale ale, but the third was pretty unremarkable. (They ran out of the 4th ghost beer, so gave us more gose.) Regardless, it was a fun experience, and yes, we did rate our beers! Our second flight had a Scotch ale, a Gose, and two IPAs. The Anderson Valley Gose was our favorite.

Ghost flight at the Nashville Flying Saucer

Ghost flight at the Nashville Flying Saucer

The Food

The menu at the Flying Saucer has about a million delicious-sounding things on it, all of them designed to pair extremely well with beer. Pretzels, brats, cheese…I wanted all of it.

Eventually we settled on a pepperoni and mushroom pizza and the Saucer Bratzel, which is a pretzel topped with cheese and beer brats. The pretzel was definitely the star of the show. The pizza wasn’t terrible either, but don’t go for the pizza. Go for the pretzel.

Pizza, beer, and saucer bratzel at Nashville's Flying Saucer

Pizza, beer, and saucer bratzel at Nashville’s Flying Saucer

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of just the pretzel because you really should see that in all its glory. Guess you’ll just have to take a trip and try it yourself!

That wraps up our two-day Nashville trip – hard to believe we ate so much in two days, huh?! I’m sure we’ll be back that way soon, so where else should we try?

Blog Tour: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout

About If There’s No Tomorrow

Hardcover: 384 pages
Published: September 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Jennifer Armentrout

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia.

When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories, therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.

Connect with Jennifer

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts

I’ll just start off by saying that If There’s No Tomorrow is one of those books I love to hate and hate to love. It reminded me so much of how I felt reading Beautiful Disaster or Ten Birthdays – I couldn’t put them down, but I also wanted to throw them across the room. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Seriously, though, despite some of my better judgement, I really enjoyed If There’s No Tomorrow. It’s YA through and through, from the overly dramatic characters to the adorably-naive conflicts. There are friendships and boys and summer jobs, and there are bullies and bad things and fights with parents. Really, what more could a girl want?

What drove me nuts, though, was the way Lena’s parents – and half the other adults in the book – handled what happened. (Which I can’t really tell you because it’d be a spoiler…) Anyway, there seemed to be a lot of disappointment and blame going around that frankly seemed inappropriate and unrealistic. Having never been in the situation Lena finds herself in, I could be totally wrong – but I can’t imagine any of the parents I know reacting quite the way Lena’s did at first. Shrug.

Even that wasn’t enough to keep me from reading If There’s No Tomorrow in one night. Like I said, I couldn’t put it down! Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in what makes a book good or bad or whathaveyou. The best stories transport you to a different time and place, and that’s what this one did for me. For one evening, I forgot everything and just lost myself in Lena’s story. If that’s not a book worth reading, I don’t know what is.

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour stops, and show your fellow readers some love!

 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Teen for the chance to participate in this tour! 

Bookings: September 4, 2017

Book Bites is now Bookings! I had an epiphany late one night last week and realized even I was bored with the Book Bites format. It felt….repetitive and boring. And, part of me feels like we’re not really getting a chance to connect, and that’s no fun. So expect some changes in the next few weeks and months!

Speaking of connecting, if you’re over on Facebook make sure you’ve followed She’s All Booked! I’m still learning how to do social media “right,” but there’s all sorts of fun things there that won’t make it onto the blog. Book news, things I’m excited about, fun pictures of my dogs…you know, the usual!

I hope you’re all having a lovely Labor Day weekend, and hopefully are enjoying a break from the daily grind! We’ve had a quiet but relaxing few days, full of good food, quality time, and of course, lots of reading. This week is another busy one, with Book Club tomorrow night, and a painting class on Friday. Jimmie’s also super excited because Destiny 2 comes out this week, so I’ll be a video game widow for a while. Not that I’m complaining – just means more time to read, knit, sleep, and other thrilling things!

I’m also browsing around online for office/craft room furniture so I’ll finally have a dedicated blogging/painting/quilting/tyedying/escaping space. I’ve had a vision for the room for about two years, just haven’t found the time to make it happen. Hopefully soon I’ll have pictures to show you!

With that, here’s what’s happening.

Last Week’s Posts:

Book Bites

Review: You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Travel: Mantra Artisan Ales

I Just Finished Reading:

 cafebythesea little beach street bakery

I’m Currently Reading:

    

I’m Traveling To:

Atlanta in a few weeks for the Misterwives tour!

 

 

 

Linkups

bookdatesundaypostKathryn over at the Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What are you reading! It’s a way to share what you’ve just read, are currently reading, and are reading next.

Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly meme, The Sunday Post. It’s a chance to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Travel: Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin, TN

If you’ve been here a while, you know I’m a big beer fan. If you’re new (welcome, friend!), I write about beer a lot – some of these posts are really old, though, so be gentle. Check out our trips to Yazoo, Jackalope, Asheville, Asheville again, and Asheville a third time. Better yet, search my page for “Beer” (there’s even a tag at the bottom of this post), and enjoy.

Anyway, surprise! Here’s another brewery post!

A few months ago I discovered Mantra Artisan Ales when I had their Guru Gish at a book club meeting. It tasted like a Reese’s cup in a pint glass. I immediately decided I was in love with Mantra. I tried their Saffron IPA at a local beer garden, and from that moment on, knew it was just a matter of time before I’d make it to the taproom. So, when we traveled to Nashville recently and found ourselves with a few extra hours before our concert, we made the 30ish minute drive south to Franklin to check it out.

Mantra Artisan Ales

Mantra Artisan Ales is in perhaps the most unassuming location I’ve ever seen. It’s a business park. And then there’s this little brewery.

Outside Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin, TN

We weren’t really expecting much on that first glance, but as soon as we walked inside we realized you should never judge a taproom by its location.

The Taproom at Mantra

They’ve got all their beers (all 20-something of them) listed on televisions above the bar. It made for terrible photos, sorry.

Tap Wall at Mantra

I loved everything about the taproom, from the tap handles to the bathroom mural.

Mural at Mantra Brewing

And yes, they have lots of t-shirts with that fantastic Mantra logo. They’re super soft and I bought a tank top.

Merchandise at Mantra

The Beer

We didn’t know before we got there, but Mantra is known for their sours. Roughly half of their taps were sour beers when we visited. I’m not a huge sour fan, but Jimmie is. We started with two flights, one each.

Jimmie had the Cherry Love (sour red), Tacenda (sour), Cassis (sour red), and ReinCOWnation (milk stout). Cherry Love was my least favorite – it tasted like medicine. Cassis was reminiscent of wine, so I enjoyed that one. ReinCOWnation was yummy, and Tacenda was very heavy on the muscadine.

I had Annika (wild ale), Chocolate Wit, Randall (IPA), and Roots (IPA). Annika was one of our favorites. I was really disappointed I couldn’t taste the carrots in the Roots IPA. Randall was ok, and the chocolate wit wasn’t my thing.

For our third flight we had Imli (sour), Noueveau (Belgian Dubbel), La Tian (peppercorn saison), and Big Juicy Dank (IPA). I liked La Tian, and Jimmie liked Imli. We were three flights in, so I forgot to take a picture until after we’d finished.

Tasting all the beers at Mantra

We really enjoyed our afternoon tasting at Mantra. We sat in the taproom and played Valley of the Kings, a fun little card game, and drank beer after beer. They know their beer at Mantra…even the ones I wasn’t crazy about, I could tell they were done well. And the atmosphere was perfect, laid back and friendly. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

What other breweries do you know and love? I’m always on the hunt for a good one, so let’s hear your recommendations!