Join with us on our adventure as we build East Alstead's first brewery and what is quite possibly the only off-grid commercial brewery in the United States. We feel that what we brew and how we brew it are equally important. If you would like to help out with this project, contact me at:

The Belgian Mare Says Hello!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Brewery Vision

We have been receiving quite a few questions about what type of brewery we will be building. So I decided to dedicate this posting to our vision for our brewery. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

The brewery we are building will be an independently owned brewery built and operated in the tradition of the Colonial and European farmhouse breweries. It is intended to fit into the lifestyle and culture of Alstead. Its primary product will be bottle conditioned “real ale”.

The term “real ale” denotes beers that are brewed in a traditional style and naturally carbonated. This style of production results in a smoothly flavorful and lightly carbonated beverage of low to moderate alcohol content with a character unique to the brewery. Our brewery will be one of the few “real ale” producers in the region.

As a small farmhouse brewery, we do not intend to compete with regional and national breweries; we will offer a locally-produced alternative to their product. Instead of a filtered, pasteurized, and force carbonated beer, we will offer a wholesome traditional product that is unlike anything many customers have ever tasted before. As Alstead’s only brewery, it will have a unique appeal to the local population. Our goal is to establish a strong local customer base and within two years of opening be producing 200-plus barrels of ale per year. This situation is analogous to small winery and maple sugar operations.

The brewery system is designed along traditional lines. The boiler will be wood fired. The majority of fluid transfer will be gravity powered; the remainder by hand pumps. Fermenters will be in an underground cellaring area that will maintain a constant temperature. Thus the brewing apparatus itself will require no electricity or gas. A “green cleaning” system will be used that allows the near complete capture of waste water and its reuse for irrigation.

As an added bonus, the brewery is designed so that it can function as a sugarhouse. So for a few months each year it will be producing maple syrup. Once sugaring season is over, it is back to beer.

Can this business model work? We believe it can.


  1. Tim,
    This venture sounds absolutely extraordinary. I'm so glad you're doing this in Alstead! What sort of brewing equipment are you acquiring to accommodate syrup production, or are you building your own? As I mentioned before (when we met briefly at your house that chilly evening), I would love to volunteer my time in the late spring to help you build or do whatever grunt work you need to create the brewery. Looking forward to some Belgian Mare beer!
    Owen Miller

  2. I'm also offering up my services to help - building, whatever! If you ever need PR coverage, I'm there, too. Best of luck!

  3. Howdy!

    Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement. We plan to start building this spring and I will take you up on your offers!

    To answer your question,Owen, the equipment we are using is very basic, almost a big homebrew system: a series of big stainless steel pots. This makes it very flexible as to the syrup/beer changeover. My brother-in-law is a metalworker/welder and will make some modifications that will streamline the process.