My Sunday began MUCH earlier than I care to talk about….up and out the door by about 7AM! Why the early wake up call? I was scheduled to take part in a roundtable discussion at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Greenville, S.C. This discussion featured our friends from the NC State Organic Grains program in addition to Jennifer Lapidus from Carolina Ground, L3C and a representative from Organic Valley Cooperative. We touched on the basics of grain farming in the Carolinas as well as some of the emerging markets for these products. In short, the market potential is tremendous as NC/SC are net importers of grain from around the globe!
After the conference, I met a buddy for lunch at The Trappe Door, just down the street from the conference site. This place was an incredible find! Great belgian beer selection featuring the appropriate glassware…always a plus for me! The food was also well done, although I’ll stick ketchup for my fries (although the array of flavored mayonnaises were interesting). Be sure to check these guys out the next time you are in town.
My third, and final stop was Grape and Grains for a “Meet the Maltster” event. The owners, Ken and his wife Jennelle, operate SC’s only licensed brewery/winery/homebrew shop and are big fans of our malt. I brought in one of my favorite recipes for the event, a beer I call “Bottomland Brown”, which features our Carolina Rye, Heritage Malt, and sorghum molasses.
Soon after my arrival, the place filled up with interested homebrewers, aspiring professionals (Will and Meredith from Brewery85 and Don from Quest Brewing), and some yeast researchers from Clemson University. Plenty of beers were offered up for tasting and comment..some pretty incredible stuff all around! Here is a partial list…
Ginger Cream Ale, Dr. Pepper Stout, Belgian Dark Strong, Belgian Golden Strong, Imperial ESB, Oak Aged Barleywine, local hard cider, and a wild yeast IPA.
The yeast for that IPA was harvested from a nectarine grove (?) in SC and gave the beer a really interesting tart cherry flavor. Not brett driven or bacteria driven, but very approachable. So much so that we decided to use the same strain to ferment 5 gallons of our Bottomland Brown. We used a standard Northwest Ale yeast strain for the other 5 gallons. This should make for an exciting East Coast vs. West Coast comparison in a few weeks!
Many thanks to Ken and Jennelle for hosting me for the afternoon. Stay tuned for details on the release date for Bottomland Brown.