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!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Admitting Defeat

I tried.  I tried very hard.  I even dedicated my last couple of days off to getting the task done.  It was just too much.  The task I am referring to is finishing filling in the foundation of the brewery.  I had thought that after all the work done by my friends, I could finish putting down the sand and then it would be a quick job to put in the last of the regular fill.

I made a real effort of it, trying to put in an hour after work each night, and then worked until it was too dark to see on my day off. This got me pretty close to finished with the sand, but drove home the point that trying to get the other fill in would be an enormous task.  Unlike the sand, which was placed next to the foundation, the fill pile is positioned farther away, but still in  such a manner that an excavator can easily scoop and place the fill.  Using my small bucket loader would require driving down to the lower pasture and then back up to the foundation to deliver each bucket.  Then I would have to shovel the fill into place.  I began to have horrifying visions of being the latest unfinished foundation in rural New England.

Knowing that I very much need to get going on the superstructure of the building convinced me that it was time to take drastic measures.  I called my neighbor Lonn.  He came out, took a look around, and opined that he could probably finish the filling in in about a day.  Decision made.

While I feel a bit defeated and deflated by not being able to finish the back-filling of the foundation on my own, I am happy to be getting on with things.  Winter is coming and we need to get the superstructure started.  I know most of my volunteers had expected we would have started on that a long time ago and so did I.

I do not know if we will be able to have things done by the end of October, but at least we will be moving on to the next phase of construction. Now where did I leave my hammer?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Greenhouse & Lager


Well, we did not quite get done but the greenhouse is nearly complete.  We had to overcome missing and damaged parts and instructions so vague as to suggest that their relationship to the task at hand was mere coincidence.  Yet we still managed to get the cover on and one of the roll-ups working.  Hopefully, next year we will be able to get a jump on spring and finally get some good peppers.


On the brewing front I have been in a bit of a lager mood lately.  I know this is a bit of a departure for me, but these new dry lager yeasts work so well that I decided to pursue this avenue.  The first batch was the New England Cream Lager which was such a success when last brewed.  This time I decided to experiment a bit and add an extra ounce of hops with 15 minutes left in the boil.  I bottled this batch last night and was amazed at how much more hop character it has than the last batch.  I expect this will be a good beer in a month or two.

The second lager I brewed was more experimental than the first.  I use a new yeast and a new malt.  The yeast used was the Saflager w-34/70. I bough this on a whim since I had never seen or heard of it before. The new malt was a dark roasted rye malt the homebrew shop had just got in.  I decided to combine the two and see what would happen.

As you can see, the yeast went right to work. Even Socrates P. Qat was impressed. I also bottled this lager last night.  The taste is very strong and malty, almost stout like, but with the characteristic lager tart ness.  I also expect this to be a good brew after a month or so in the cellar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yesterday was a good day for us. We received word from the State of New Hampshire that the Belgian Mare Brewery is now legally recognized as a limited liability company (LLC).  So I am now the owner of record for an unlicensed brewery that has yet to be built. There is a bit more to things than that.

In practical terms, this means that, unlike my wife, the Belgian Mare Brewery LLC  is a legally separate entity from me.  The most important aspects of this separation involve taxes and liability.  However, we can now start using the name for other things such as making mugs or shirts to sell to raise money for finishing the brewery.

So, perhaps, this is not the most earth shaking event, but it does feel like we have passed a milestone and are a bit more real than we were a few days ago.