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!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Looking Back

Wow. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since my initial dealings/tussles with the state and feds. Those, of course, lead to my go round with the town. Sometimes those meetings seem like a million years ago, sometimes they seem like yesterday.

The real question is what did I expect? I knew that, given our philosophy, this brewery idea would not move quickly. One cannot be as debt averse as we are and expect to move quickly - unless you happen to have large bags of money lying about the house. Deep inside I knew that we needed to be in this for the long haul. Perhaps that is part of the attraction of this project. Throughout the course of my life I have never been more than six years in one place, and that when I we quite young. Due to that, I have developed a tendency to feel a sense of urgency in all that I do. I try to do things alone, get them done quickly, and plan for mobility. Now I find myself part of a project that can only be long term in its establishment and, by nature, defies mobility.

Did I mention that this is a project I cannot do alone? That became apparent pretty early on. The beautiful part is that I never was really alone. OK, let me back up a bit.

My most significant action with regard to this brewery project was buying a book. True story. That is all I did. I bought a book and left it on the couch. Tracy found the book and read a bit of it. The book was about farmhouse breweries of Europe. She decided we could build one. It was all her idea.

Then things got interesting. At first, I feared telling anyone about this idea. Past experience had made me hesitant to express my ideas and face the, seemingly inevitable, ridicule of the homoboobian masses. But I did mention it a bit, here and there. That was when we experienced a great non-happening. Nobody laughed. Nobody thought it was a stupid idea. In fact, many people, some of whom I would have never guessed, thought it was a great idea.

I did not realize it, but the word was spreading to unknown quarters. That point was brought home when a total stranger knocked on my door and told me he wanted to be a brewer and that he had heard I was building a brewery. That was how I met Owen.

Owen would prove to be one of our most passionate supporters. Owen is a smart guy who wants to brew beer. I want to brew beer, so by extension, I too am a smart guy. External validation is nice.

The high point was when the town had the public hearing on our idea. So many of our fellow Alsteadders showed up to support us that one town official had to stand for the first part of the meeting. Noteworthy is that none of the threatened opposition materialized. All who spoke, spoke in our favor. It turns out that a lot of people, not just me, like the idea of starting a brewery.

So where are we now? Nearly a year later, we do not even have a hole in the ground. Are we losing momentum? I fear so, but hope not. The decision not to start construction last fall was a difficult one to make. I believe it was the right one but recognize the risks it entailed. In the end our strongest supporters did not abandoned us.

So now we move forward with our core support intact. Soon we will have a hole in the ground and the rest will follow. I promise.

Thanks to all who are along for the ride. The seats are hard and the road bumpy. In the end, no matter what happens, we will all have a story to tell.

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