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, September 22, 2011

Sunday Work Day

We tried for a work day last Sunday.  About one in the morning I was awakened to the sound of the beeping of my computer's battery back-up. I promptly fell back asleep.  When Annie woke me to take her out, I realized that I could not turn on the lights and remembered the previously- forgotten beeping.  We finally got power back a bit after 1pm.  By then, my JKD instructor had arrived and it was time to start kicking and punching each other.

In the meantime, a few brave souls labored with me, by hand, to get a few things done around the brewery. In a way, not having power was a bonus, it made us plan and work more efficiently. On Monday, with the power back on, I made some progress on the loft floor.

Such is life.  Hopefully this Sunday we will have power and be able to inch the brewery a bit further along toward completion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Test

A short time ago I was presented with the rare opportunity for a mass taste-testing.  A friend of mine was having an anniversary celebration and asked if I could brew a couple of beers for the event. I immediately accepted.  This would be an excellent opportunity to test my brews with a wider audience and to promote the nascent brewery.

My friend granted me free rein to choose what I would brew.  I decided to do one traditional style beer, such as we will be brewing when we open, and one more modern style beer.  Both beers started with a basic pale ale recipe of my own creation.  One was lightly hopped and about 3.5% alcohol.  The other was more heavily hopped, along the lines of an IPA, and had about 6% alcohol. Since I was using some of my own hops, I had no way to calculate IBU's  for the beers. When finished, both tasted very good to me. I had hit my intended mark with both efforts.

The night of the big event came. I did not give the guests too detailed descriptions of the beers.  I wanted people to try them without prejudice. I decided to put out the lower alcohol/bitterness beer first.  I was very pleased with the crowd reaction.  I received numerous compliments. Many guests noted that it did not "taste like any other beers". Perhaps the best compliment was the speed with which the keg emptied.

Once the first beer was gone I hooked up the second keg.  These results were very interesting.  The crowd was split right down the middle.  Several guests complimented me on yet another good brew.  However, just as many stated that they liked the first beer better and the second keg took much longer to empty.

What I take away from this is that I am on the right track.  My recipes and style of brewing has a wide appeal. There is real potential for strong sales once we get the brewery up and running.

In other taste testings, I have noticed a definite prejudice against lower alcohol/malty beers. If you don't tell people what they are drinking, the results are 90% positive.  If I say ahead of time "This is 3% alcohol and lightly hopped," I get a 50/50 split.  One rather proud critic of all things beer boldly predicted the failure of our brewery because "Anything other than a double IPA is not worth drinking."

Given the results from my friend's party, it appears that there are beers other than double-IPA's that are worth brewing. The key getting people to taste them with an open mind.