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A food blog from NHPR news, digital, & programming staff, exploring food & food culture around the state & the New England region. On-air features air Thursdays on All Things Considered and Saturdays during Weekend Edition.

Foodstuffs: Concord Brewer Plans to Harness the Power of Steam

Peter Biello
Dennis Molnar of Concord Craft Brewing at the future home of the microbrewery on Storrs Street in Concord.

The City of Concord approved Wednesday Concord Craft Brewing Company’s request to put in a microbrewery and tasting room in the city’s newly renovated downtown. That part of the city can be heated with steam, and that, says brewery owner Dennis Molnar, is a huge advantage when it comes to making beer. 

"So that’s where the steam comes in for this part of the building," Molnar says as he shows off a closet filled with pipes in the back of what will be a beer production room. He says the steam from those pipes will reduce the risk of burning the beer as it brews.

"If you homebrew at home, you can use an electric burner or a gas burner, and all the heat is at the bottom. And what happens when you heat up your pasta sauce too quickly? Burns on the bottom," he says. "Same thing happens to beer. And when you multiply that by 400 gallons…”

You could burn a lot of beer—not what you want when you’re trying to launch a craft brew company. But with the right equipment, you can surround your enormous brew kettle with a layer of steam.

"And that actually applies heat all around the kettle," he says. "So it’s quick because steam is right at the temperature you want it, and it’s more efficient than either gas or electric."

Molnar says Concord Craft Brewing will start off with simple pale ales that have wider appeal than the heavier brews, and they’ll change their offerings each season. If financing for the equipment comes through, he’s hoping to open the tasting room and distribute his steam-brewed beers to local bars and restaurants in April.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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