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Collaboration Update Pt. 1 – Revelry Brewing+Jolly Pumpkin

Local malt and Riverbend swag heading to Revelry Brewing.

Local malt and Riverbend swag heading to Revelry Brewing.

This year’s Brewvival brought together some of craft beer’s finest to Charleston for an epic weekend of tastings, dinners, and boozy brunches. If you weren’t able to make it down, don’t despair. Several of the visiting rock star breweries joined forces with the local talent to create something special and uniquely southern!

The first collaboration features our new friends at Revelry Brewing Company who teamed up with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Needless to say I was super excited to get the call from Ryan at Revelry asking us to take part in this one! Jolly Pumpkin’s beers helped get me hooked on sour beers several years back. Maracaibo Especial remains a favorite!

The crew at Revelry put together an amazing array of local and foraged ingredients. Red Bay leaves, longleaf pine needles, and juniper berries. Geechie Boy Mill provided Indigo Blue and Jimmy Red Corn to mash in addition to a blend of barley, wheat, and rye malts from Riverbend!

Ingredient mix for the collaboration

Ingredient mix for the collaboration

This one will be bottled conditioned with a brett blend to add a nice tart finish. Stayed tuned for information on release date and pricing!

 

Meet the Brewer: Luke Holgate of Hi-Wire Brewing

Luke Holgate Hi-Wire Brewing

Luke loads our malted wheat into the grist mill for the Uprisin' Hefeweizen brew day.

To celebrate this week’s bottle release of the latest seasonal from Asheville’s own Hi-Wire Brewing, we’ve got a quick Q&A with Hi-Wire’s head brewer Luke Holgate. Uprisin’ Hefeweizen was brewed a couple weeks ago using our Appalachian Wheat Malt and it’s a damn good beer. Kick back with an Uprisin’ and enjoy!

When did you start brewing? What was the first beer you ever brewed, and how did it turn out?

After receiving my BS in Biotech from RIT in 2007 I moved home and took a bar tending job at a local microbrewery. After really just hanging out and bugging the brewer who has since moved on to become the Head brewery engineer for a 100,000+ bbl/year brewery, I began to discover the parallels between my education and the science of brewing. I brewed my first home-brew in a brewery and have never truly home-brewed outside of a brewery atmosphere. My first brew was an all-grain (also never made an extract brew) grapefruit pale ale that was essentially a Sierra Pale clone with grapefruit rind in the boil and juice post ferment. It may just be because it was my first brew but I thought it turned out quite well.

Tell us about your approach to brewing a hefeweizen. What should we expect from Uprisin’?

Hefe’s are a funny style to me because I don’t personally drink them all that often. Although I certainly appreciate a good representation of the style it’s not typically on the top of my beers to order. That being said, I do appreciate the fact that a whole lot of people love them and so when I set out to write this recipe I was trying to make it for a hefe lover and not necessarily to my own palate. Finding the balance between the estery and phenolic flavors and aromas is to me the most important part of producing a good hefe. I have had examples that are completely banana laffy taffy, as well as ones that are thin and have no depth of character. My goal was to make a simple recipe that let the complexity of the yeast come through with a tightly controlled ferment so as not to over do the ester profile.

Tell us about your team of brewers at Hi-Wire.

Our brew team here at Hi-Wire is a great group of hard working individuals. We all have the same approach which is that we are doing this job because we want to learn more and more everyday. We have differing approaches to things like recipe formulation which is enormously important in us coming out with new and exciting brews. I am very analytically minded and need a number or a graph to correlate everything that is happening in my brewhouse whereas Brandon and Nick (two of the other brewers here) have a much more artistic approach to things like recipe formulation which keeps them from being buried in the data that I sometimes find myself blinded by.

What excites you the most about your recent expansion?

Our recent expansion has given us the ability to produce more of our flagship brands but possibly most exciting is the ability to fit more fun and experimental brews into our yearly repertoire. This means more Ringmaster’s Reserve brews as well as new and exciting seasonals.

If you had to drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I had to drink one beer for the rest of my life I think I’d keep it simple. Pabst Blue Ribbon for all eternity.

 

Craig & Brent Riverbend Malt

Uprisin' Hefeweizen - maltster approved!

Meet the Brewer: Todd Boera of Fonta Flora

We’re starting a new series on the Kiln Blog: Meet the Brewer. The Meet the Brewer posts will introduce you to some of the special people that make what we do possible. They’re the ones crafting delicious brews out of our malt.

Todd Boera, foraging brewer extraordinaire

Todd Boera, foraging brewer extraordinaire

Though Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton just opened last fall, they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with their unique, locally-focused craft beer. Head brewer Todd Boera has made a wide range of beers that you just can’t find anywhere else: a dandelion brett saison, a local carrot IPA, a Belgian blonde with local kiwi. In anticipation of this weekend’s State of Origin beer festival (where Fonta Flora will debut their NC grain/NC honey honeysuckle blonde), we asked Todd a few questions to get a better sense of what he’s all about.

How does using Riverbend malt fit into your brewing philosophy?

The main brewing philosophy at Fonta Flora Brewery is to create a menagerie of complex, creative and rustic libations while utilizing local flora. Riverbend provides us with malted grain, which is obviously a huge component to creating the beer itself. The unique grain that Riverbend manipulates through malting is perfectly suited for the vast range of Belgian beers being created at Fonta Flora Brewery.

What’s your favorite beer to brew?

Fonta Flora Brewery focuses on Belgian/Appalachian Style Saisons. I use the term “Appalachian” to help the drinker realize that they are not typical Saisons. The style originated on farms across Belgium and was brewed with a variety of grains available at the time, which often became a multigrain beer. By utilizing their local grown and malted grains, Riverbend is instrumental in the quest for Fonta Flora Brewery to create a style of beer that is truly unique to the Appalachian Mountains.

You recently mentioned you love to brew with rye. Why is that?

I find Riverbend’s Carolina Rye™ to be the most complex and interesting grain I have ever worked with. The taste profile is incredibly earthy, slick, and slightly spicy. While most brewers stick to the traditional wheat addition in their Saisons, I prefer heavy additions of rye. Although a bit more fickle to work with, the taste profile fits with what I am looking for in my Saisons.

Tell us a little about the State of Origin festival coming up this Saturday. What beers are you looking forward to the most?

To our knowledge, this is the first craft beer festival in the state of North Carolina focused on local ingredients. We asked every invited brewer to craft at least one beer with some/all North Carolina grown ingredients. There are a variety of brewers out there who already do this and some who are crafting something special for the festival. We are releasing a highly anticipated Riverbend grain Belgian blond aged on local honeysuckle flowers and also have one last keg of our dandelion saison. The Wicked Weed/Fonta Flora collaboration will also be released at the festival. “Hipster Nuveau” is a Riverbend grain saison aged on local rhubarb. I am personally looking forward to trying all of the North Carolina ingredient beers from all of the awesome brewers in attendance!

Don’t miss the State of Origin festival this Saturday! VIP doors at 1:30pm, GA doors at 3pm, close at 7:30pm. Tickets available here.

 

Brew Day with Sierra Nevada

Brewing with Sierra Nevada in Mills River

Sierra Nevada in Mills River...it's huge!

You may have noticed last week that a few of the Riverbend maltsters showed up in an article on NPR about Asheville’s booming craft beer industry. Just how did we end up in the right place at the right time? Well, we were very lucky to spend the day hanging out with one of our newest neighbors: Sierra Nevada.

Brew Day with Sierra Nevada

We were all pretty excited when Sierra Nevada invited us to come over to their new brewery in Mills River to help brew the Asheville Brewers Alliance collaboration beer. “Tater’s Ridge” is a Scottish-style ale brewed with 1000 lbs. of North Carolina sweet potatoes and 20,000 lbs. of our Riverbend pale malt. The beer will be one of twelve in the Beer Camp Across America variety pack, along with 11 other collaboration beers from some of America’s favorite craft brewers, including Russian River, Cigar City, Oskar Blues, Victory, New Glarus, and Bells, to name a few. Sierra’s head brewer Scott Jennings very graciously showed us around and allowed us to participate in the brew day action.

Though the Sierra Nevada brewery is still under construction, the facility is nothing short of jaw dropping. They’ve been brewing there since the summer, even while hoards of construction workers have been running around painting, laying tile, installing equipment, connecting electrical, rigging up plumbing, and probably a million other things behind the scenes. We got to take a tour of the brewery even though it was still a work in progress.

Our malt getting loaded into the mill!

That's our grain!

Massive grain silos at Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada brewhouse, awaiting some finishing touches.

Brewing on such a large scale was pretty incredible. Sierra Nevada’s 200 bbl. brewhouse is a long ways from a five-gallon homebrew setup! After the grain passed through the hydrating grain mill, it was all automatically pumped into the mash tun, where we got the chance to throw in some of the roasted sweet potatoes.

In go the spuds

After the mash, everything was pumped over to the lauter tun, when the grains get separated from the wort.

200 barrels of mash gets pumped into the lauter tun.

The wort then goes into a wort collector (where wort can be heated using heat recaptured from the previous batch’s boil), then it’s moved to a boil kettle — all without breaking a sweat! This is where we got to throw in some hops. Buckets and buckets of hops! There were about six of these huge trash cans packed full of hops that went into the brew.

Hops await the first batch of Tater's Ridge

From here the beer gets separated from the hops, cooled down, and pumped into a massive fermentation tank (one of those cone shaped object in the ceiling), where the Sierra Nevada team will monitor the beer as it ferments and conditions.

Just one small corner of the cellar at Sierra Nevada

We can’t wait to see how this beer turns out! Look for it mid-July in the Beer Camp Across America 12-pack and don’t miss the Beer Camp Across America Beer Festival!

Thanks so much to Scott and the Sierra Nevada team for having us over on brew day!

 

WHO GOSE THERE?

Catawba Valley Brewing!  Todd and his staff took our malt in a new direction last week by developing a German Gose recipe with 100% Riverbend products.  This style dates back to the 1700’s and is a classic summer sipper for Germans.  While somewhat similar to a Berliner Weisse this style commonly incorporates salt and coriander in the boil for an interesting finish.

Brewing this style takes patience….it begins with a sour mash that allows naturally occurring bacteria on the grain to rapidly multiple over a 24 hour period.  The following days includes the more traditional mash/sparge/boil processes.  Expect low hop flavor and bitterness along with a session friendly ABV.  Read more about the style here.

Hopefully this will be on draft in Asheville sometime in September…we’ll keep you posted.

 

A classic style with a southern twist