There is a reason that two of the biggest brewing companies in the world have grain elevators within a few miles of our farm. Our climate and soils are perfect for the highest quality barley in the world. That also means the farmers in our area are the best of the best at raising the best of the best barley.
Quality malt is our top priority and we will not compromise on sourcing the best barley. Sometimes that will be from our farm and sometimes from the farms of our friends and family. Either way all malt is fully traceable back to the field where it was grown, linking the field to the pint.
It all starts with Barley
The big industrial malthouses typically blend malt batches and different barley varieties together to make generic (we say boring) malts for the masses. We don't like generic and despise boring. All our malt is single variety and single batch, allowing the uniqueness and terroir to stand out. Just like with grapes in wine there are flavors in barley varieties that will stand out in beer/spirits. Sadly, to appease the big breweries, most of the unique and interesting flavors have been bred out of the common barley varieties. This sent us on what will be a never ending search for interesting, flavorful barley. Currently we are working with:
Buzz is the latest and greatest malt barley released by Montana State University. It has lineage coming from Bearpaw, Hockett, Lewis, and Karl. Being so new, there was only enough seed to give out to a few growers. Thankfully we acquired some of that seed and grew 15 acres in 2020. It is likely we are the first to ever malt a commercial batch of Buzz. We couldn't be more proud to feature this amazing barley.
When this malting adventure started I asked Dad if there was a barley variety he remembers from his childhood. He thought for a moment and said, "Unitan". It took awhile, but 10 grams of seed was acquired from a seed bank. Over the last 5 years that seed has been grown and replanted. We now have 10,000lbs. What interesting old world flavors will this 6-row reveal. Cant wait to find out.
Dormancy used to be a big word in the barley world as all barley used to have dormany. Dormancy means that the barley kernel won't sprout until it has gone through a rest of about 6 months in a silo. Farmers like dormancy as it prevents sprouting in the field if there is rain just before harvest. To make faster and cheaper beer, dormancy has been breed out of modern barley. Removing this natural defense, puts the farmer at risk of losing a crop. Plus the drive for faster and cheaper light lagers has also removed flavor from the barley. CRAFT, being an older variety, still has natural dormancy and flavor. While this means we have to take our time before malting, we know the final craft beer/spirit is worth the wait.
other grains we love
Durum, commonly known as pasta wheat, has a very old genetic history. It is estimated the hybridization event that created durum happened between 0.25–1.3 million years ago. Common wheat was hybridized 10,000 years ago.
Purple barley is a grain that comes from the mountains of Tibet, but ultimately can be traced back to ancient Egypt