The Cask & Keg


It all started with a beer.

Actually, a lot of beer. Good ol' Poppah Hoppah was big into home brewing, and the Homestead Husband (HH) picked up the tricks of the trade growing up. Frankly, it is all thanks to him that we're even together, as HH used to con me into helping him cap bottles in his dorm room way back when..... anywhoo.......

Fast forward to today, and we've done many batches, of all different styles and scales - IPAs, belgians, stouts, and then some. The Homestead Husband even spent some time as a brewhouse employee at Stoneface Brewing Company, in Newington, NH.

The love for beer was displayed in a collection at the Harper house, until it was bestowed upon HH and is now proudly displayed in a room dedicated to the craft!

ABOVE: Bottles and cans of varying ages, no two the same. Unfortunately, all are empty.... trophies.

Our taste buds expanded into wine and other spirits. Bottles of wine or whiskey were collected every time we went on a trip somewhere, or had a special occasion. We then began making our own wine and hard cider. The bottles were piling up, so we deemed it necessary to create ourselves a unique space where these crafts could be appreciated and stored appropriately.

This was all done on a budget. The cost of the wine cellar, now formally known in our household as the, "Cask & Keg", came down to the paint, chairs, and flooring. All other materials were sourced for free (or almost free) or we already had them on hand. Before, this space was just a regular old basement - concrete floors, unfinished walls, and cobwebs.

ABOVE: Yes, we were watching the bachelorette - guilty pleasure.... What better place to watch it, though?

Reused our old living room TV from our apartment - it used to look so big in that tiny place!! The BAR sign was purchased on clearance at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for our wedding 2 years ago... You never know when you might use something again (I am a borderline hoarder).

ABOVE: Dinner at the Cask & Keg, complimentary homemade bottle of wine with the meal! Paint color is Sherwin Williams, "Red Barn". This will prove to be a fantastic place to enjoy our AGH charcuterie!

The bar mounted to the wall (seen in the far right of the above photo) was actually a big oopsie - that was originally our island countertop. We ordered it too short the first time (ouch), but instead of that becoming an expensive loss, we opted to cut the countertop in half, and use it in here and in our living room computer nook. Think outside the box and you can salvage almost anything! Now, we have a coherent look throughout our home.

The barrels were sourced from a local brewery who had used them for aging beer (FOR FREE). The barrels were originally from various whiskey distilleries, including Four Roses and Jack Daniels (a household favorite).

All of the candles are battery-powered from the Dollar Tree. They create beautiful ambiance - I have them all over our house, and break them out for various parties or holidays. They're cheap, pretty, reusable, and safe for when the dog runs into the table and knocks things over. The glass vases around some of the candles are from there as well. Best part, is when the battery wears out, it's a low cost to replace. I've had these ones for over a year. However, you can purchase better quality battery powered candles, some with a remote control or color changing options, on amazon (click the link).

The Homestead Husband took a trip over to Lowe's and asked the manager if they ever disposed of pallets (think of how much they have shipped in on a regular basis, people!) - the manager said absolutely and to take as many as we could haul (FOR FREE). We saddled the trailer up to the truck, and took a big load back home (so many that we have even begun using them for bonfires...).

Taking the pallets apart, I will say, was work. And, as pregnant as I was at the time, it all fell on HH - he was a good sport. Using a saw, he was able to cut the pallets apart to get full boards out of them to use for the wall (and eventually the baseboards for the room).

The only downside about utilizing these previously used pallets, was that they were not all identical, and some were a little more wide, or warped than others. We really had to hand pick the boards that would work - almost like a jig-saw puzzle.

If you wanted a bit more of a polished look, I would recommend new pallets, and staining them, or purchasing wall siding products to reproduce this look (available at Home Depot, or Lowe's). In the end, we like the little bit of whimsy the puzzled-together look provided.

The chairs we found on a yard sale site - $20 for both. Real, genuine leather, antique chairs. Perfect for chatting over a glass of scotch, wine, or aged beer. We'll often hunker down in them and check out a wine documentary and pretend we know how to talk about tasting wine (it's actually just an excuse to split a bottle... or two).

The table between the chairs was actually hand crafted by dear family friends - they left it blank for me to do some design work to - I plan on wood burning a checkers/chess board into it!

The biggest point here, is that you never know until you ask. We probably never would have considered the pallet wall had it not been for free. Purchasing barrels can cost upwards of $150 (each) - but we asked, and found out that it was possible to get them at no cost. We did have to budget for the flooring - that hurt a little. Having everything else free though, offset the cost enough. We also completed the space as a Valentine's gift to ourselves, so it felt like a good excuse. This space will provide a great adult get-away for us, and a really enjoyable place to showcase anything home brewed or fermented. We look forward to sharing evenings with family and friends down in the cellah'!

As with any other homesteading or renovation venture - think creatively, don't be afraid to try something new, and do what you love. Life's short - why not?

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