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, October 17, 2014

Hemlock Stout: The First Beer

The Belgian Mare Brewery's first born!

Greetings Dear Reader!  This is the second in our series of posts about the individual beers created here at the Belgian Mare Brewery.

Today we are focusing on the yet another of the uniquely flavored ales and lagers has found its niche in the beer market; all the while giving beer raters and the style police fits! It is the very first beer brewed at the Belgian Mare Brewery: Hemlock Stout! 

Hemlock Stout gets it name from the ubiquitous New Hampshire hemlock tree.  Traditionally, tips cut from the branches of the hemlock tree have been boiled to make a tea that was believed to have healthful or even healing benefits.  Also, inhaling the vapors of boiling hemlock tea was believed to relieve the symptoms of respiratory distress.  The stout part comes from it being based on an old cream stout recipe that I had always enjoyed. Combining the two: Hemlock Stout!

Like our other beers, this beer is created in a very traditional manner employing bottle conditioning and extended cellaring. By design, this beer is very lightly carbonated (think "real ale"), so don't over chill it, or it may seem flat. Serve at about 55F for the best results. The interplay between the hemlock and the dark roasted barley creates a strong flavor and the long cellaring keeps it smooth.

The Hemlock Stout is also a good beer for ageing in the cellar.  While all bottle conditioned beers undergo some level of taste evolution, this beer is a real treat for those that patient.  Over the course of a year, the interplay of the hemlock and dark roasted barley will slip and turn with often dramatic results.  Several customers (individuals and restaurants) have purchased multiple cases so as to take advantage of this characteristic.In some cases, they are storing cases at different temperatures, room (70F) vs cellar (55F), and comparing the resulting flavors on a monthly basis.  Getting reports back from these customers has been one of the joys of running this brewery.

Approach with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised!