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!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Of Concrete and Cut Worms


I apologize for the lack of photos in today's posting. I promise more soon. To recap recent events, the floor of the cellar was poured. I had not realized what went into pouring a floor. I had assumed that being something of a liquid, concrete would seek its own level and then set. In this way a perfectly level floor could be had with a minimum of effort.

I was wrong. Floor concrete is amazingly heavy and likes to form lumps. So one must race about attempting to smooth the potential floor as best they can while the concrete truck driver continues to pour the heavy, sticky mass at a pace just slightly above manageable, all the while cackling evilly.

Once the last of the concrete is poured, the work begins. Making a floor of concrete involves one hour of pouring and six of smoothing. Fortunately Larry, our concrete guy, had sent one of his workers. In the end, he did an excellent job.

I am now working on building the wood deck that the brewery floor will be poured on. I will blog on that later.


Today brought to light a most depressing realization. I had had a few of my hop plants break off. I guessed that I had simply accidentally cut them while weeding. Today it was confirmed that we have cut worms in the hop yard. This could spell disaster. For those of you unfamiliar with cut worms, they eat around the base of a plant and eventually cut it off completely. So far we have lost three plants and a fourth is badly cut. I have sprayed with Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew, hopefully that will help.

I will keep you posted.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Last Sunday's post was preempted by my brother-in-law's wedding.

Since my last post I have put in most of the foundation drain and finished putting down gravel for the cellar floor and compacting it. If you have never used a compactor before, it is a memorable experience. The model I rented bore something of a resemblance to a lawnmower. It was supposed to be bi-directional, but in reality it wanted to go in only one direction. That made heading into corners a bit of a trick. If one failed to execute a sufficiently sharp turn to avoid getting stuck in a corner, the machine would begin digging down into the gravel while knocking chunks out of the concrete footer. Nice!

I spent about three hours with the compactor. When I was done, the gravel was so compacted that it did not move as the compactor passed over it. However, I was also numb from the elbows down and my eyes could no longer focus.

So one can imagine my pain when I went out to check on things after today's thunderstorms, only to find that one part of the compacted gravel had sunk! How could this be? Alas, it was. An area that only a short while ago had been solid was now three inches lower and mushy. What to do? I guess add more gravel and compact it by hand.

After all, I need to be ready by Tuesday when we pour the floor!