Mexican Lager season 2024

Happy Mexican Lager season!

It delights us to say that there’s now a ‘season’ for this formerly more obscure lager style! Mexican Lagers are having a moment in the lager Renaissance sweeping the Southeastern states, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

The Mexican Lager beer style, loosely defined, tends to mimic traditional German and Austrian-style Vienna Lagers made with corn additions in Mexico in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This article by Casket Beer gets into Mexican Lager’s history if you want a deep dive. 

This spring, breweries across the South are releasing Mexican Lagers made with our barley and corn malt across the map— adding another layer of local terroir to the rich cultural history of the evolution of the style. The use of malted corn in place of the flaked corn offers the opportunity to explore unique flavors that each variety can impart.

Our malted corn portfolio includes Cumberland Corn, which delivers the classic creamy sweetness of homemade cornbread. Hickory King Corn goes in the opposite direction, contributing the crisp, earthy notes of hearth baked tortillas. Bloody Butcher Corn brings a mix of chai spices not typically associated with Southern grown corn. 

“I think this style is gaining more and more popularity because of the “state-of-mind” experience these beers tend to offer, as well as their drinkability,” says Yee-Haw Brewing Co. Head Brewer Dan Rowe. “They lean into being slightly malty, yet very approachable light-bodied lagers, with a dry finish. That earthy touch of corn in the flavor and reduced bitterness differentiates it from its counterparts from Germany, the Czech Republic and your standard American macro lager. Circling back around to that “state of mind” experience, they’re a perfect companion to virtually any outdoor activities, especially during all warmer weather months.” 

From May 3 to 5, Yee-Haw Brewing Co. will host Cerveza Fest at the brewery’s taprooms in Johnson City, Knoxville, and Nashville, Tennessee, as well as Greenville, South Carolina. Don’t miss their spotlight, the flagship Mexican Lager Cerveza, and the lime-infused Cerveza Lime made for the occasion. Find full menus for Cerveza Fest at each location here

Yee-Haw’s Cerveza is made with Riverbend Cumberland Corn, produced with Tennessee-grown corn. “The corn creates a lager with more complexity,” says Rowe. “You start finding more and more slight nuances of sweetness and depending on the level of bitterness you’re going for as a brewer, it can potentially be the key ingredient to providing balance.” 

Marlow Artisanal Ales agrees. The folks at Marlow are ‘massive nerds about tortillas’, reporting they can taste the variation between homemade tortillas made with different corn varieties. “So, we sought out heirloom varieties that would make the biggest impact in our beer,” they explained. They chose Bloody Butcher and King Hickory corn malts for Marlito, a drinkable experience with slight corn perceived sweetness in the finish, although the beer finished quite dry.

Explore even more Mexican Lagers made with Riverbend malted corn varieties, and other malt styles too. 

Akademia Brewing Company Alma Mexican Lager is bright and effervescent with low bitterness and a subtle sweetness from the malt and flaked maize grain bill. 

Alga Beer Co. El Sur is a highly anticipated release made with our Vienna and Hickory King Corn malt styles. This light, bright, warm weather lager will be available in cans and on draught on Sunday, May 5.

Crooked Culture Esta Bien Conmigo is an effervescent Mexican Lager; a refreshing and easy-drinking beer that embodies the spirit of Mexico’s warm and sunny climate. 

Homeplace Beer Company recently collaborated with Big Pillow Brewing Company on Los Vecinos Mexican Lager with Riverbend Chesapeake Pilsner and Bloody Butcher corn malts. Served with a lime and salted rim upon request. 

NoFo Brewing Co. Collateral is a thirst-quenching Mexican Lager brewed with Bloody Butcher corn that helps to impart an earthy aroma. This crisp tasting and clean finishing beer is eminently drinkable, especially with a squeeze of lime.

Riverside Rhapsody It’s Cohn! Mexican Lager is brewed with our Chesapeake Pilsner and Cumberland Corn malts, fermented long and cold, and spunded for natural carbonation. 

Senoia Beer Company Muertos Viventes is a year-round offering made with Chesapeake Pilsner and Hickory King Corn. Its flavors of freshly baked bread, tortillas, and earthy spice are especially nice during Mexican Lager season.

Shellring Aleworks Chela De Playa is brewed with our Vienna, Pilsner, Cumberland Pilsner and Hickory King Corn malts. It’s brewed to pair with the South Carolina summer heat. This year, Chela De Playa Noche Dark Mexican Lager joins the lineup— Caramel malt and Hickory King Corn deliver a crisp, malty version of Shellring’s Mexican-style Lager. 

South Main Brewing OSCURO is another Mexican-Style Dark Lager that starts with a canvas of Cumberland Pilsner, Vienna malts in order to elicit hints of slightly sweet kettle corn, slightly roasty caramel, and a grassy crispness. Cumberland Corn smooths out the dryness for a rounded finish. Deep amber in color and robust in flavor, it’s also snappy and refreshing. Think LALO’s Lager & Dark Horse had a baby.

Is your Mexican Lager #madewithRiverbend malt? Submit it here so we can include it on this list.

Seashore Black Rye Malt

Here at Riverbend, we’re passionate about rye malt. That’s why all of our malted rye styles are made with heirloom varieties that can be traced back hundreds of years. With four distinct malts offering flavors from earthy to spicy, we have a rye that fits your next project. Thanks to all of these Riverbend customers who told us why they love our malted rye.  

Meet our Rye Malt Lineup

Carolina Rye

Made from an heirloom rye grain variety called Wrens Abruzzi that has been grown in the south for over 200 years, this malted rye has a classic herbal spice blend flavor of earthy black peppercorn and citrus. 

Newgrass Brewing in North Carolina uses our pilsner and rye malts in their lineup, and of that, brewmaster Lewis McCallister says, “We could get malt from the Upper Midwest or Europe with a more neutral flavor, but we appreciate the rustic, grainy character of Riverbend rye malt.”

South Main Brewing, based in Georgia, loves all things Carolina Rye. According to Nic Farley, Co-Owner and Head Brewer, “We use Carolina Rye in a few of our recipes, including 53 & Rosemary Saison and That’s Rye’ght Hazy IPA. We love how the spiciness of the rye plays with citrusy hops.”

Munich Rye

Also crafted using Wrens Abruzzi, the Munich Rye malt is an evolution of our Carolina Rye malt that’s kilned at higher temperatures. Produced in much the same way as Dark Munich and Light Munich 2-Row malts. The rye is stewed while holding a higher moisture content in the kiln.  This process braises the grains and brings forth a more profound expression of the rye with flavors with notes of pumpernickel, wildflower honey, cardamon, and allspice.

“I was lucky enough to try Munich Rye right as it came out of the kiln, and I immediately thought of Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal,” remarked Jennifer Currier, Head Brewer and Blender at Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funk House. “Its warming, spicy, brown sugar notes are a perfect match for a beer we brew called Pompoen, a sour amber ale fermented with pumpkin.”

Georgia-based Beacon Brewing Co. uses eleven of our craft malts throughout their brew lineup, but Dave Hash, Head Brewer, says he does have a favorite. “The Munich and Carolina Rye malt in our Red Rye DIPA. The spicy rye characteristics pair really well with English crystal malt and citrusy hop bitterness, and you can really get that tingling, slightly cooling mouthfeel that you’d get from a rye whiskey.” 

Seashore Black Rye

This rye malt (featured in the photo above) is produced using another heirloom variety native to Edisto Island, South Carolina. 

This rye can be traced back to the original landrace varieties and is a testament to why we work with these classic grains. Full of flavor and finesse, the Seashore Black Rye moves away from the Abruzzi’s bitter bite and instead brings notes of chicory and coffee flanked by a sweet marshmallow-like body expression with a little touch of dried dates at the finish. 

At Yazoo Brewing, Head Brewer Quinn Meneely and the team recently collaborated with Leinenkugels on a rye lager recipe. “Man, this one might be my favorite collaborations yet for this year,” he says. “It’s a 5%, 20 IBU lager. 11.5% Seashore Black Rye. 100% Riverbend Malt. Super aromatic, with white grape notes and rose, maybe? This is not your standard rye— it’s much more herbal and aromatic. Be damned boring old black pepper!”

Flo-Rye-Da

The FL 401 Variety rye is a descendant of the Seashore Black Rye, but as the name suggests, grown in Florida!

When compared to our Carolina Rye, made with Wrens Abruzzi, Flo-Rye-Da is less spicy. Think Melba toast and black tea. It’s a versatile malt style that plays well across recipes, including Baltic Porter, Barleywine, and even Pumpkin Ale. (Back in 2021, Crooked Can used it to make the Flo-Rye-Da Pumpkin Ale with 100 pounds of pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the mash.)

Sideward Brewing has used Flo-Rye-Da in several beers, most notably the Cowboy Crusher. “The rye malt provides a nice spice balance to this Vienna lager leaning beer. Big notes of freshly baked whole grain bread, spice and caramel. While full bodied and complex the beer still remains easily crushable in these cool Florida winter days,” says Co-Founder and Head Brewer Garrett Ward. “Florida doesn’t provide much outside of fruit for raw materials so when we heard about this Florida grown rye we jumped at the chance to brew with it. Local is always on our mind especially now more than ever. Not only do we get a chance to engage with our customers over the story behind the beer but were helping lower our carbon footprint and avoiding all these supply chain issues. We are also very Florida proud so any time we get to scream Florida from the roof tops we will take it!”

 


ASHEVILLE, NC— Earlier this year, Riverbend Malt House became the first malt house to become third-party certified for its supply chain processing and manufacturing, ensuring the segregation and processing of Certified Regenified grains. This certification gives Riverbend, the first craft malt house in the South and now the first Certified Regenified™ malt house on the planet, the unique ability to manage, store, and process Certified Regenified grains while maintaining full traceability.

Regenerative Agriculture focuses on soil health as the foundation for supporting entire ecosystems. Practices such as no till farming and cover cropping minimize disturbance, which promotes carbon sequestration and reduces polluted runoff. It’s also much more than just a set of farming practices; it’s a paradigm shift in how we view and interact with the land. By prioritizing soil health, water conservation, biodiversity and overall ecosystem vitality, regenerative practices offer a pathway to heal the earth and nourish both people and the planet.

Regenified, a practice and outcomes-based land verification and product certification program, recognizes and certifies those who adopt these regenerative practices, paving the way for a healthier planet and transparency across our food system. This group conducted an extensive supply chain audit of the malt house, and Riverbend received certification in March of 2024. Built on transparency and traceability of the Southeastern grain supply chain, Riverbend was well positioned to meet the requirements of the certification process. 

Riverbend’s certification by Regenified underscores their commitment to regenerative agriculture. By achieving certification, Riverbend ensures the implementation of systems and processes necessary to segregate and process Certified Regenified grains. This certification not only upholds the integrity of the supply chain for Regenified products but also supports Riverbend’s goal of achieving healthier soils and waterways while fostering supply chain integrity and supporting farmers and brands committed to regenerative agriculture. “The years ahead will generate exciting results that speak to improved biodiversity, reduced chemical and fertilizer use, and carbon sequestration,” says Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brent Manning. 

Turning towards Regenerative agriculture is “some icing on a wonderful cake of meeting and exceeding our environmental goals, which include agriculture that’s closer to the end-user,” adds Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brian Simpson. “The commitments for Regenified’s certification are a big opportunity for us to really show up.” 

Riverbend will begin processing certified, locally sourced grain for brewers and distillers in the coming months. Long-term, the malt house will work with its existing growing partners in the Southeast to achieve certification. 

Contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer.com with media inquiries about Riverbend Malt House. 

 

ABOUT REGENIFIED 

Regenified is a practice and outcomes-based land verification and product certification program driving the growth of regenerative agriculture and the adoption of certified products. Regenified recognizes and certifies those who adopt regenerative practices, paving the way for a healthier planet and transparency across our food system. Get involved at regenified.com

 

ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE

Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malt house east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.

When it comes to beer and spirits competitions, craft malt is king. Just ask the Riverbend supporters who took home hardware from the latest awards programs!

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2023 Great American Beer Festival 

Our first shout-out goes to Rock Solid Brewing Company for taking home the gold in the International Dark Lager category with their Midnight Trucker at last year’s Great American Beer Festival®!

We’ve always said that we’d make overalls for any GABF gold medal beers made with our malt! Fonta Flora Brewery and Barrique Brewing are the first two breweries to do this, followed by Rock Solid Brewing at the 2023 festival. Check out the overalls!

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2023 NCCBC Awards 

The NC Beer Industry Awards Banquet is held each year during the NC Craft Brewers Conference; this year was the 10th annual event. Congratulations to Happy Valley Filling Station for being named Best New Brewery

For bringing home the gold, a big congratulations goes out to Archetype Brewing, who won with Cowboy Poet (American-Style Lager) and Talking to Plants (European Wheat Beer). Fullsteam Brewery reigned supreme with Coffee Is For Closers (Field & Spiced Beers), and Happy Valley Filling Station placed tops for Appalachian Aroha (Juicy or Hazy Style IPA).

In the Silver category, Fullsteam Brewery placed with Brumley Forest (NC Home-Grown), Riverside Rhapsody Beer Co. scored with Mountain Chain Kolsch (European Hybrid Styles), Cellarest Beer Project won with Cellarveza (Pale European Lager), and The Glass Jug Beer Lab placed with Tasman Bay (Other International Origin Styles). 

Bringing home the bronze, a round of applause for Whistle Hop Brewing Company for Ilaria (Smoke Beers), Lookout Brewing Company  for Native Sun Pale Ale (Other International Origin Styles), Hi-Wire Brewing Leisure Time Lager (American-Style Lager), and 1718 Brewing for Ocracoke Ramp 72 (Juicy/Hazy Pale Ale).

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2024 Good Food Awards finalists

The Good Food Awards are committed to honoring exceptional crafters who produce quality beer while demonstrating a deep commitment to sustainability, environmental, and social responsibility. Each year, they receive more than 2,000 entrants from all over the United States. We could not be happier to celebrate Fullsteam Brewery’s 11th year of this nomination, this year for their Dark Lager, Bethania. Way to go, Fullsteam! 

The 2024 Good Food Awards winners will be announced this month!

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2024 South Carolina Brewers Cup

The South Carolina Brewers Guild (SCBG) hosted this year’s SC Brewers Cup Awards Ceremony on March 1, and plenty of Riverbend supporters came home with hardware. 

In the gold category, congratulations are in order for Plank Owner Brewing for John Paul Jones (Brown Ale) as well as their Gravity Storm (Belgian Ale). Fire Forge Beer claimed the IPA category with Spirito Santo, New Groove Brew placed for Wheat Chin Music (Specialty & Alternative Fermentables), and Low Country’s Regional Collab, Top 5 Hazy Pale Ale, grabbed the gold in the Collab Beer category. 

The Southern Growl brought home three medals, scoring silver with Quad Bless Your Heart (Belgian Ale) and Dog Left Lager (Standard American) and bronze for Made My Family Disappear (Spiced). Kite Hill Brewing scored silver twice, once with Latitude Change (IPA) and again for Amplitude Modulated (Strong American). Pangea Brewing brought home the silver for their Rhinos Love Pumpkins (Spiced), and they placed bronze for Clever Girl IPA (Strong American). Tideland Brewing placed silver for Banana Hammock (German Wheat), and New Groove Brew grabbed the silver with Pageantry Pils (Specialty & Alternative Fermentables).

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2024 Florida SMaSH Festival 

For the Florida SMaSH festival, our Avalon Pilsner malt was chosen as the featured single malt. ⁠We were beyond excited by the brilliant expressions of Avalon we tasted from so many different breweries at the festival!

In the People’s Choice awards category, Tactical Brewing placed gold. Little Wekiva Brewery scored the silver, and Intracoastal Brewing Company went home with the bronze. For the Judge’s awards, Gatlin Hall Brew grabbed the gold, Homestate Brewing Co snagged silver, and The Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. won bronze. Congrats to all; you honor us with your creativity and style!

2024 Florida Brewers Ball

The Florida Brewers Ball is always a great bash, and this year, we were proud to sponsor the event and announce the Small Brewery of the Year award! Barriehaus Beer Co. in Tampa took home the honor, with Suncreek Brewing in Clermont scoring first runner-up and Magnanimous Brewing, also of Tampa, earning second runner-up! 

There were also plenty of Riverbend customers who came home from the event with hardware. Gatlin Hall Brewing scored the Gold for Rye Beer and Belgian-style Quadrupel with Tribute and Quadrupel Bogey, respectively. Grand Central Brewhouse grabbed gold in the American-Style Light Lager with their St. Petian. Alga Beer Co. placed gold in Contemporary American-Style Lager for their Hickory Creek, and The Hourglass Brewery won gold with Wee Peaty in the Unpeated Scotch Ale category. King State & Magnanimous took gold with their collab brew, Venue, in the German-style Koelsch beer category.

Other winners include silver hardware for Redlight Redlight Brewpub, with Side Pull Pils 10º (Bohemian-Style Pilsener), and collab brew Bored Games, a The Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. & Redlight Redlight collaboration scored the Bronze in the Other Hoppy Lager category.

2024 Prowein

International wins are so exciting, and we are thrilled to congratulate End of Days Distillery for their International Gold Award for Survivor’s Cut Bourbon! It just scored 95 points at the 2024 Prowein in Dusseldorf, Germany.

We are so honored to support the makers of some of the world’s finest beers and spirits!

 

HAS YOUR BEER #MADEWITHRIVERBEND WON A COMPETITION? LOCAL, REGIONAL, NATIONAL, OR INTERNATIONAL— WE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT! SUBMIT YOUR BEERS HERE TO BE FEATURED.

Speakeasy malt for distillers

Introducing Speakeasy Malt For Distillers

ASHEVILLE, NC— Secret’s out— after much underground research and development, Riverbend Malt House now offers a malt style designed for distillers. Speakeasy malt for distillers is now available for purchase.

Riverbend has relished their role as a provider of flavorful malts to distillers for over a decade, often providing that “secret sauce” that sets an American Single Malt Whiskey or bourbon apart from the crowd. The release of Speakeasy malt for distillers is our first offering designed specifically for this rapidly growing spirits category. 

The development of Speakeasy utilizes a barley variety that has shown great potential to deliver higher levels of enzymatic activity compared to other winter 2-row varieties. This variety coupled with an extended, cool germination and gentle kilning temperatures create the building blocks for this innovative malt style.. 

“Our Speakeasy malt is a balancing act,” says Riverbend Co-Founder Brent Manning. “It’s not just an enzyme package, but a rich, flavorful malt that is designed to convert corn in a Bourbon recipe while delivering notes of melon and honeysuckle. Speakeasy provides an avenue for craft distillers to explore whiskey recipes with local ingredients.” 

Read all of Speakeasy’s specifications here. Distillers interested in purchasing Speakeasy malt can contact their Riverbend sales representative or place an order online

Contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer.com with media inquiries about Riverbend Malt House. 

 

ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE

Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malthouse east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.

Southern Lager Invitational

ASHEVILLE, NC— After the successful execution of the inaugural Southern Lager Invitational during the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville– in a monsoon no less— Bootleg Biology and Riverbend Malt House are excited to bring this festival to Asheville in its second year. The Southern Lager Invitational will take place on May 25 from 5 to 9pm at The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage’s production facility, just a short drive from downtown. This event will cap Asheville Beer Week (May 16 – 26), themed ‘Craft and Creativity for Community’.

Open to interpretation, Southern Lager, an unofficial but emerging beer style, ​​tends to be a cold-fermented, dry-finishing, lower-ABV beer that pairs well with sweltering heat. At the second annual Southern Lager Invitational, craft brewers from across the South will serve their expressions of Southern Lager made with Riverbend malt and fermented with Bootleg Biology yeast to capture a sense of Southern terroir. 

Tickets are now on sale for the Southern Lager Invitational at devilsfootbrew.com. Festival entry includes samples of beers from more than 20 Southern breweries, including— 

1718 Brewing Ocracoke

Akademia Brewing Co.

Alga Beer Co.

Barrique Brewing & Blending  

Cahaba Brewing Co.

Cherry Street Brewing

Cellarest Beer Project 

DSSOLVR

Fait La Force Brewing (bonus collaboration with Leveller Brewing Co.

Fonta Flora Brewery

Fullsteam Brewery

Grand Central Brewhouse

Honor Brewing Co.

King State 

Little Animals Brewery

Oklawaha Brewing Co. 

Skeeta Hawk Brewing

Soul and Spirits Brewery

South Main Brewing Co.

The Southern Growl 

 

The beer menu and food truck list for Southern Lager Invitational will be published in coming weeks. 

This second annual celebration of local lagers is made possible by our sponsor Boelter, who are providing custom 2024 glassware for festival participants.

Media interested in attending and or covering the Southern Lager Invitational can contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer.com.

 

ABOUT BOOTLEG BIOLOGY

Bootleg Biology is a full-service yeast lab for professional brewers and homebrewers. 

From our location in Nashville, TN, we’ve earned a reputation for creative cultures that meet the rigorous demands of a brewery while still satisfying brewers’ goals to push the envelope.

From crispy lagers and juicy IPAs to complex mixed fermentations, Bootleg has a culture for every brew. All of our yeast is made fresh, ensuring optimal viability and keeping you on schedule.

Our lab offers a wide range of quality control testing to ensure your product meets your high standards, including PCR testing for common contaminants, IBU testing, selective media plating and more. 

 

ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE

Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malt house east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 square foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.

ASHEVILLE, NC– Riverbend Malt House came home from MaltCon2024 with new hardware last month. The Craft Maltsters Guild awarded silver to Riverbend’s malted wheat in the new wheat malt category of the Malt Cup, a prestigious malt quality competition that rigorously judges entries from all over the world.

2024 is the seventh year of the Malt Cup, which recognized craft maltsters for the quality and consistency in six malt varieties. Entries were submitted from 26 malthouses in five countries, and evaluated in three rounds by 70 industry judges. 

Riverbend’s Appalachian Wheat, popular among both brewing and distilling customers, received the silver medal in a brand new Wheat category. This wheat malt is produced using soft red winter wheat and kilned with elevated temperatures to enhance aromas of freshly baked bread and toast. It’s a versatile style that augments grain bills across categories— from Lager to IPA to Wheated Whiskey. 

Appalachian Wheat malt flavor wheel

“Appalachian Wheat malt is like fresh baked bread,” says South Main Brewing Co-Owner and Head Brewer Nic Farley. “We use it in many of our beers for which we want a good haze, or to improve head retention.”

South Main and many other producers such as End Of Days Distillery, Fullsteam Brewery, Lookout Brewing, and Weldon Mills use Appalachian Wheat to craft their mainstay products

“This product has been a part of our lineup since the early days and we are excited to take home a medal for it,” says Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brent Manning. “We initially experimented with several heirloom varieties, but after several years of testing and trials we recognized that our process was driving more of the flavor than the variety itself. Definitely a surprise to both us and our customers!”

The flavor and performance of this wheat malt have helped Appalachian Wheat take part in numerous trends over the years— from Hefeweizen to Gose to NEIPA; this malt has stood the test of time.

Order Appalachian Wheat or any other of Riverbend’s malts for brewers and distillers, email orders@riverbendmalt.com

International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

This year Honor Brewing in Virginia crafted an International Women’s day beer, Inspire Inclusion Kölsch, with Riverbend malt. We are proud to donate ingredients to this brew alongside Jasper Yeast and the New York Hop Guild.

Inspire Inclusion will be exclusively sold through Hop & Wine Beverage distribution. A small batch will also be available at Honor Brewing on tap during their upcoming four-course, paired Irish Beer Dinner on March 13.

A portion of sales of Inspire Inclusion will be donated to the Loudoun Abused Woman’s Shelter (LAWS). Since 1985, LAWS has been providing emergency shelter and help to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Beyond shelter, LAWS can also provide counseling, legal services, support groups, parenting classes, advocacy, and community outreach.

Thank you Honor Brewing for including us in this beer for an important cause. We call that malt with a mission!

 

2023

ASHEVILLE, NC— The first craft malthouse in the South had a strong year of business growth, community development, and customer engagement in 2023. Here is the Riverbend Malt House 2023 Year In Review.

Production and Capacity

In 2023, Riverbend Malt House malted almost 4 million pounds of craft malt, which included flagship styles as well as custom and smoked malt for specialty projects.  This number represents a growth of more than 20 percent over 2022.

The malt house added conveyance equipment that allowed for the filling of its first bulk truck orders in 2023. This exciting upgrade will allow them to fill silos across the region with top quality local malt.

In response to the growing demand for smoked malt, Riverbend additionally installed an unloader that will allow for more seamless transportation of smoked malts from their retrofitted shipping container smokehouse⁠. 

Local Farmers and Customers

 

In 2023, Riverbend sourced grain from family-owned farms across the Southeast region, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky  Virginia, Georgia, and Florida—  all within 500 miles of the malthouse. Learn more in Riverbend’s video Craft Malt Powered By Family Farms. 

Riverbend sold malt to more than 300 breweries and distilleries in 2023, a figure that includes more than 70 new customers. 

Malt Innovation

Riverbend’s malt portfolio grew to include seasonal products that included the Hickory King Corn variety as an addition to Riverbend’s malted corn products. The malt house’s ongoing experimentation with kilning regimes coupled with customer demand yielded a new year-round Crystal 50 product as well. 

Riverbend’s ​​stock of Avalon 2-Row barley bred by the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center increased exponentially in 2023, which allowed for the malt house to craft both a Pale and Pilsner styles of this variety.  “Adoption of Avalon has happened quickly throughout the Southeast and we were excited to have lots from North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee to work with this year,” says Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brent Manning.

2023 brought many custom malt projects to Riverbend Malt House, including a malt made with a custom water profile to mimic the water chemistry found in Belgium. This custom malt, Farmhouse Pilsner, was first crafted for Little Animals Brewery and Leveller Brewing collaboration beer. 

Malt With A Mission 

In total, Riverbend redirected approximately 200,000 pounds of waste from landfill in 2023.

In partnership with the local cattle operations, Riverbend composted 15 tons of organic waste and diverted 30,000 pounds of polywoven plastic from the landfills this year; a malt bag recycling program activated by the Asheville Brewers Alliance and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. 

Also in 2023, Riverbend was pleased to become the first malt house licensor for Beer To Bags, a North Carolina-based innovator in the upcycling space turning spent malt bags to create stylish totes.

Riverbend upgraded all 141 of our light fixtures to LED panels in September. Installing these panels will result in a 64% reduction in power consumption associated with factory lighting. These efficiency improvements resulted in a 12% reduction in energy consumption in Q4 2023 compared to 2022.

Riverbend Malt House made a donation to Waterkeeper Alliance for each of the 2023 customer surveys they received. 

Finally, Riverbend was pleased to donate Calypso barley seed to Community Malt spearheaded by Harlem Brewery. This is a collaborative initiative for Black and BIPOC farmers in North Carolina and Virginia who are cultivating small grains as a viable crop. ⁠

Events & Community

Riverbend Chesapeake Pilsner malt was selected as the single malt in the recipes at the 2023 Florida SMaSH Festival. This annual gathering, hosted by Hourglass Brewing and B.E.A.R.D. to raise funds and awareness for A Spoon Full of Hope, raised $16.027.74 in support of sustainable careers in the food industry; all the while showing off the prowess and creativity of Florida craft breweries. 

Riverbend Avalon Pilsner is the feature malt of the 2024 Florida SMaSH Festival. “We’re beyond excited to sample what will undoubtedly be a full-color spectrum of expressions of Avalon from so many different breweries,” says Manning. 

Riverbend was proud to be a part of five beers brewed around International Women’s Day in support of the Pink Boots Society; the Birmingham brewers collaboration beer, BirmingHelles made with the first malting barley grown in Alabama at WK Farms in Hamilton AL, that Cahaba Brewing spearheaded; and a second year of the Brick Store Pub Craft Malt Showcase of Southern beers made with Riverbend malt.  

Riverbend and Bootleg Biology hosted the successful inaugural Southern Lager Invitational at Harding House Brewing Co. during the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville. This celebration of classic and innovative lagers that feature Southern-grown ingredients will return in 2024, slated to take place on May 25 at The Mule in Asheville. 

Riverbend’s Co-Founder Brent Manning presented at the Craft Brewers Conference, providing a summary of the successful Farm To Tap festivals and guidance for successful event management. Manning also took part in several conferences, sharing 10 years of craft malt memories at various trade events, including the North Carolina Craft Brewers Conference and MaltCon2023. 

Awards & Accolades 

2023 marks the sixth consistent year of Riverbend’s Living Wage Certified Employer status from Just Economics. It also marks Riverbend’s second consecutive year named on the  Inc. 5000 list. In August, Riverbend was named number 3,992 of the fastest growing private companies in the country in this prestigious ranking. 

Throughout the year, many of Riverbend’s customers were recognized by multiple awards programs for beers made with Riverbend malt– including the Great American Beer Festival®, the World Beer Cup®, the U.S. Beer Open, the North Carolina and South Carolina  Brewers Cups, the Florida Brewers Ball , and the Good Food Awards

Contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer with media inquiries about Riverbend Malt House. 

 

ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE

Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malthouse east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.

Born from two apartment kitchens, one in Alabama (AL) and one in Georgia (GA), Alga Beer Company (get it?) resides in Pensacola, Florida. The brewery recently hit its second anniversary, and we took the time to sit down with owner Brett Reid to talk malt, learn why Riverbend is the top choice for their House Lagger, why it was featured in several of their two-year anniversary beers, and most importantly, why they’re proud to be Craft Malt Converts.

 

Alga Beer Company

Why the switch to craft malt? 

About six months after opening, they started seeing beers from other breweries around them that featured Riverbend malt. In Owner Brett Reid’s words, “We were, in essence, blown away by the flavor of the product itself, in comparison to anything else we tried.” Once they started working with Riverbend, he says they also found they were “spending less money than we were with other malts but were getting a higher quality product.” Making the switch a win-win for Alga. 

 

Alga Beer Company

Flavor Nuance 

“Other mass-produced malts tend to come out neutral in flavor,” says Reid. “We want to have an option to really showcase the flavor of every single ingredient we’re putting into our beers.”

With malt being the backbone of the beer and its primary flavor-contributing ingredient, Reid and his team found themselves asking, Why would you cut corners there?  

Their first foray into working with Riverbend was a collaboration between Alga Beer Company, another Pensacola, Florida brewery, Odd Colony Brewing Company, and Ferrus Artisan Ales in Alabama. Together, they created a smoked farmhouse Lager using 100 percent Riverbend malt, and the brew quickly became a fan favorite. 

 

More Corn Malt Please

Reid’s favorite Riverbend malt styles are both malted corn varieties: the Bloody Butcher and the Cumberland Corn. “I feel like I have more of a connection to the corn because I had a granddad who used to grow corn in his backyard,” he remembers. “I can remember the aroma of the dried corn and how he would make grits, and so it’s kind of a nostalgic thing for me.”

The Bloody Butcher Corn malt, he adds, “is wacky”— in a good way, of course. “I love that it can be super funky. You can add too much of it; but if you get the balance right, it adds this delicate earthiness and a mild sweetness– which I think is incredible.”

“I remember the first time I stopped to see Brett and his team, we became fast friends, we got each other’s jokes and enjoyed a few pints like we’d know each other for years.” says Brent Manning, founder of Riverbend. “That is what it is all about for me, building relationships and helping to create great craft beer.”

Learn more about Alga Beer Company’s amazing beers at www.algabeerco.com. Don’t miss their stellar reels on Instagram, either!