Florida SMaSH

LONGWOOD, FLORIDA— The eighth annual Florida SMaSH Beer Festival is the official kick off event for 2024 Orlando Beer Week. Thirty breweries will serve single malt, single hop beers made with malt from Riverbend Malt and hops from Yakima Quality Hops on Saturday, February 17th at Reiter Park. 

The 2024 beers on tap at Florida SMaSH were made with Riverbend Avalon Pilsner malt. “With subtle notes of melon, honeysuckle and a mouthfeel reminiscent of coconut water, Avalon Pilsner can excel in a wide range of styles from American Lager to Belgian Farmhouse ales,” says Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brent Manning. “Avalon barley is a new variety bred to support the needs of brewers and distillers. We’re beyond excited to sample what will undoubtedly be a full-color spectrum of expressions of Avalon from so many different brewhouses at Florida SMaSH.” 

Last year,  the Florida SMaSH Beer Festival raised $16.027.74 for A Spoon Full of Hope. These funds support Second Harvest’s no-cost 16-week Culinary Training program, which provides qualified, economically challenged adults with the culinary and life skills training to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. ‘This donation was over 42% higher than our previous highest donation. We were thrilled, to say the least,” says Eric Garbarczyk of Hourglass Brewing Co. “We aim to top our donation to A Spoonful of Hope again in 2024!” 

Florida SMaSH  is presented by the Brewers Establishing Altruistic Regional Development (B.E.A.R.D.) nonprofit organization, Hourglass Brewing, and the City of Longwood. This festival was created to celebrate the creativity and camaraderie of breweries in the Sunshine State. Each year, a people’s choice beer wins the coveted, ever-evolving Florida SMaSH Festival Champions Lamp; and the Judge’s Choice competition awards first, second, and third place medals. 

Tickets to the festival are available via Eventbrite, and festival details can be found at www.flsmash.com


Brewers Establishing Altruistic Regional Development (B.E.A.R.D.) is a non-profit organization created by brewing industry professionals with a mission to serve their communities. Over 7 years, B.E.A.R.D. has successfully donated more than $60,000 to local charitable organizations such as A Spoon Full of Hope.


Hourglass Brewing is now serving their 11th year, producing Seminole County’s first small batch craft beer. With two locations in the Orlando area and no less than 30 beers on tap they continually push for innovation while holding on to nostalgia, with a thirst for good times. Visit Hourglass online at hourglassbrewing.com. 

Contact Bill Murphy at bill@hourglassbrewing.com with media inquiries about Hourglass Brewing. 


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.

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


YQH is a family-owned business focused on quality and service. Founded in 2013, Yakima Quality Hops provides the highest quality hops to breweries throughout the United States and abroad. Based in Yakima, WA, we work directly with growers, allowing us to offer the best pricing and quality control. We work with breweries of all sizes and in all stages of growth. Whether you’ve been brewing for decades or are just getting started, let’s connect so we can get to know your hops needs. Learn more at yakhops.com.

We know you have many options, and we aim to make you proud with your choice of malt provider. Here are seven ways you can really make your investment in craft malt count in 2024.

1. Put Your Craft Malt Manual To Work

Use our Craft Malt User Manual to gain a deeper understanding of how your investment leads to innovative products, supports local, family-owned farms, and protects the environment. You’ll also find out how the use of high-quality, locally sourced malt can enable you to sell more beer and spirits at a higher price.


2. Use the #madewithRiverbend hashtag

We love to hear about beers and spirits #madewithRiverbend malt! Use the hashtag to be featured on our Instagram account, and fill out this form to land your products on our website.



3. Get Creative With Custom Malt

We love custom and smoked malt projects! Last year we worked with our customers to create signature base malt, estate malt, fig wood smoked Pilsner, and malt steeped in custom water profile designed to mimic the hard water from Belgium– among other exciting flavor and process explorations. Let us know how we can turn your vision for a special beer or spirit into a reality.



4. Craft A Truly Southern Lager

We’re inspired by and hope to propel the Southern Lager movement! We love to help our customers build recipes that are “true to style,” but still with a touch of Southern terroir.


5. Dust Off The Homebrew Equipment

Hey homebrewers! Finding that forgotten equipment might just be a good New Years Resolution, especially now that so many homebrew supply shops sell Riverbend malt… just sayin’.


6. Join The Craft Malt Certified™ Seal

If 10% of the malt you purchase or the malt you use in at least one recipe comes from craft maltsters, you’re eligible to join the Craft Malt Certified™ seal. Usage of the seal on products and in other marketing helps bridge the “grain to glass” divide, connecting your customers with family farmers.

Become a craft malt convert! Apply and learn more here.



7. See You At #MaltCon2024

Join us at the world’s only craft malt conference in Davis, California (or virtually) next month! MaltCon2024 takes place February 22-24. It’s a great opportunity for our brewery and distillery customers to learn more about malting, malt usage, flavor, and so much more.

Our Appalachian Wheat malt is made using a new regionally adapted variety of soft red wheat called Oakes. With flavors of baked artisan bread and toast, it’s no surprise that this wheat malt was developed for use in the artisan bread industry. However, with an aroma and flavor that is more pronounced than traditional wheat malts, we’ve found it makes a tremendous malting variety that promotes head retention and body in the finished beer. 

Check out these mainstay beers made with Riverbend wheat malt, Appalachian Wheat, by craft breweries across the Southeast.

Appalachian Wheat

Biscuit – Fullsteam Brewery, NC

Fullsteam’s mission is to craft distinctly Southern beers that celebrate the farm and food traditions of the American South. With their award-winning Biscuit Wheat Beer, they’ve done just that.  

Biscuit is wheat-forward with light clove and banana bread notes that don’t overpower the brew. Just enough banana and clove to know it’s a wheat beer, with restrained yeast phenolics to ensure the local grain bill isn’t overshadowed. Says Fullsteam of this Made With Riverbend Mainstay, “We get lots of “I normally don’t like wheat beers, but I love this” reaction.”

End Of Days Bourbon – End of Days Distillery, NC

End of Days Distillery was born from a legacy of hard work and hustle, where creating something with your own two hands meant a day well lived. 

End of Days Bourbon is Wilmington’s first legally produced Bourbon since prohibition. This whiskey was produced and barreled prior to the grand opening of the distillery. Behind the scenes, it was quietly aging in new American Oak cask by Black Water Cooperage. Made with Riverbend Appalachian Wheat, Smoked Appalachian Wheat, and Southern Select 2-Row Barley Malt, the temperature variations within the distillery that occur naturally through the season helped to develop the deep characteristic of the whiskey within.

For-scythe Wheat  – Cherry Street Brewing, GA 

Cherry Street Brewing was the first legal craft beer brewery to open in Forsyth County in 2012. 

A 2022 World Beer Cup Gold Winner, For-scythe Wheat is a crystal clear, bright gold American Wheat that stays dry and crisp until the last drop. Featuring Riverbend Appalachian Wheat Malt, Caroline Rye malt, orange peel, lemon peel, and coriander, this beer offers a subtle spice character and citrus zest notes. For-scythe also gets a healthy addition of Lemondrop Hops for added fresh citrus undertones.

All Malt Bourbon – Weldon Mills – NC

At its inception, Weldom Mills Distillery set out to become the most accomplished distillery in North Carolina. They surpassed that mark by becoming the #1 Micro-Distillery in America two years in a row, and they’ve only been open for three! 

All Malt Bourbon is a Double Gold 2021 John Barleycorn award winner, limited-production, ultra-premium, barrel-proof bourbon whiskey, and it’s the only bourbon in America made with all malted wheat and grains, Riverbend Appalachian among them. This spirit has a buttery mouthfeel and golden tone of sweet vanilla, honeycomb, and dry oak with notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla. 

Floyd’s Humor Raspberry Wit – Lookout Brewing, NC 

Lookout Brewing prides itself on creating small-batch craft brews with love on the front porch of Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. They love to experiment and explore new styles and perspectives, combining creativity with tradition. 

Floyd’s Humor Raspberry Wit is fruity, quenching, and bright pink. Brewed with Belgian Wit yeast,  juicy, organic raspberries, and Riverbend malted wheat style Appalachian Wheat, Floyd’s Humor is the ultimate summer sipper with a unique and funky twist.

Walden’s Ridge NEIPA –  Albright Grove, TN

Albright Grove Brewing Co. is owned by passionate brewmaster Nick Barron, who has traveled the world to hone his craft on a journey that’s led from Tennessee to London to Chicago and back to Tennessee. 

Created in collaboration with the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, Walden’s Ridge NEIPA is made with Riverbend Appalachian Wheat, as well as locally grown oats. It has a juicy tropical fruit aroma, a surprising punch of citrus, and a light yet silky body, finishing dry and effervescent.

Hazy Day NEIPA – Brewers at 4001 Yancey, NC 

Brewers at 4001 Yancey is the joint effort of Southern Tier, Sixpoint, Victory Brewing Company, and Bold Rock Cidery. Built-in the historic Bower’s Mill building, the fermentation tanks are the original tanks used when Victory opened its doors in 1996.

Hazy Daze is a smooth and juicy IPA featuring Citra and Mosaic hops, and our malted wheat style Appalachian Wheat. Rich in citrus hop character and incredibly easy to drink, it will leave you in a haze and have you coming back for more.

We’ve seen lager styles gaining popularity across the Southeast over the last few years. During that time, we developed several different products, like Czech-style Pilsner, to help our customers build recipes that were “true to style”, but still with a touch of Southern terroir.

We’re thrilled to see more and more producers with mindfulness around expressing a sense of place in their beers, especially in malt-forward lager recipes. As 2023 comes to a close, we’re pleased about the momentum that the Southern Lager movement gained this year and excited for what’s to come in the New Year. Here are some of our 2023 highlights—

The Inaugural Southern Lager Invitational

We got an early start on the year when our friends from Bootleg Biology invited us to co-sponsor the inaugural Southern Lager Invitational late in 2022. The idea of pouring locally-sourced lagers for a large audience at the Craft Brewers Conference seemed like a perfect fit.

In the ramp up to CBC, we helped pull together close to two dozen beers from around the South. The folks at Harding House Brewing Company were incredible hosts, taking great care of everyone in attendance. The event was incredibly successful, and we’re grateful to everyone who attended.

Exciting news! We’re bringing the Southern Lager Invitational to Asheville in 2024. Stay tuned.

Southern Lager Invitational 2023


State-Level Lager Collaborations

Tampa Beer Week generated another opportunity to showcase our expanding catalog of Pilsner malts. I found myself chatting with Jason from Gulfport Brewing Company about the recently released Avalon variety from Virginia Tech. Specifically, the Pilsner batches Riverbend had released that featured a rich mouthfeel (think coconut water!) while keeping color low. The conversation turned to the Florida Brewers Conference beer collaboration that was currently underway. They were kicking around the idea of a Vienna Lager and I jumped at the chance to get involved in the project. Our Vienna Malt is one of my favorite products that doesn’t often get a chance to shine. In short, I couldn’t wait to see how this beer would turn out. 

We packed our bags and headed back to Florida for their conference in July. Randy Mosher gave a great keynote address on his latest book that dives deep into the world of beer sensory. We also got a chance to sit in on a presentation about thiolized yeast strains that helped me understand how to balance that ingredient in a recipe… very cool stuff! We also got a chance to share the Avalon story with several brewers in attendance while enjoying the Vienna Lager. It’s always helpful to have an example of a finished beer that features the ingredient you are talking about!

Next up, was another collaboration with our friends from Bootleg Biology. This time we partnered with Atrium Brewing to create a Southern Lager recipe for the Beer CANvention that was happening in Louisville. Turns out there is a fervent group of beer can collectors from around the world that get together every year to talk shop and trade memorabilia. Old school pull tab cans, coolers, t-shirts, basically anything you can think of from breweries large and small was on display at this event. 

This Southern Lager recipe featured our Cumberland Pilsner, Cumberland Corn Malt, and Great Chit. Zuper Saazer hops from Hop Head Farms that deliver a nice herbal punch and the ARL strain from Bootleg that was propagated from a site in Virginia, round out this beautiful beer. It was poured as part of the pre-conference beer festival that kicked off the festivities. A majority of the breweries in Louisville were also in attendance, so it was a great opportunity to check out their beer scene.

For our final collaboration of the year, we joined the NC Brewers Guild and Southern Pines Brewing Company to create a beer that would honor our veterans and serve as the official beer of the 10th annual NC Craft Brewers Conference. We decided on an Italian Pilsner that would feature Chesapeake Pilsner, Southern Select, Vienna, and Great Chit. Idaho Gem and Triumph hops were provided by Mill 95. Southern Pines hosted a brew day for all veteran-owned breweries in NC. The beer made its debut at the NC State Fair in October and took center stage at the awards ceremony during the conference.

Each of these projects took great strides towards establishing a place for local malt in recipes that were previously walled off for European ingredients. Our sincere hope is that fresher malt grown just a few hundred miles from the brewery will support continued innovation, elevating the idea of Southern Lager as a unique style in the years ahead.

Many thanks to everyone for supporting us this year— it means the world to us!

– Brent Manning, Co-Founder

With giving season upon, we put together a maltster-inspired 2023 holiday gift ideas list for you. 

Maybe you’re holiday shopping for a homebrewer who would love to tote their supplies around in a malt bag, or perhaps you want to treat a whiskey lover to a crate full of Bourbon made with North Carolina ingredients. Enter your local malt house to hand-select gifts made by our partners across North Carolina. May they bring craft malt and joy to your holiday season.


Holiday Gift Ideas

Malted Chocolate

The Malted Milk bar by Asheville’s French Broad Chocolate is made with our Heritage Malt, a Riverbend original; this malted barley brings notes of melted caramel and toasted bread to this one-of-a-kind confection.

Find this milk chocolate bar alongside bonbons and five other types of milk and dark chocolate bars in French Broad’s French Broad Chocolate Factory, Lounge, Boutique, and Ponce City Market locations are ideal for festive family outings.


Malt Bag Bottle Carriers

Beer To Bags, another local North Carolina company, is on a mission to transform spent malt bags typically thrown away during the brewing process into unique upcycled products.

Beer to Bags has both 2-bottle and 6-bottle carriers with our malt bags in their online shop. They’re sturdy and sharp additions to the bottle you’re bringing to share at holiday parties.


Customized Crates 

Impress whiskey lovers with the customized engraved crates by End of Days Distillery. You can personalize this gift with an array of intricate engravings and fill it with EOD’s award-winning spirits, like the Survivor’s Cut Series Rye Whiskey that features Riverbend malted rye.

For that matter, any bottle of locally distilled spirits makes a great holiday gift— especially if your spirits of choice were made with Riverbend malt!


Thank you for supporting small businesses this holiday season. Happy Holidays, everyone!



For Southern proud LaGrange, Georgia-based Beacon Brewing Company, the choice to switch to Southern malt to brew Southern beer was essential to their brand. The decision fell perfectly in line with their desire to provide patrons with a fusion of local flavors accompanied by local lore.

Why the Switch?

According to Dave Hash, Head Brewer at Craft Malt Certified™ Beacon Brewing, “For us, it was a combination of the efficiency and flavor we get from the malt as well as the mission of supporting our local southeastern beer economy. That, coupled with the bulk grain pricing we were able to get, made the switch very enticing.”  

Beyond flavor and price, Beacon strives to “be a part of the community, not apart from the community.” Hash went further to say, “Applying this philosophy on a macro scale makes perfect sense for us and gives us a chance to support our local southeastern farmers and maltsters. Switching to Riverbend is the perfect way for us to do that.” 

Beacon Brewing

Malt Selection

Of Riverbend’s available standard malts, Beacon Brewing uses a whopping eleven. Their base malts are created exclusively with Chesapeake Pilsner and Southern Select.  For their specialty malts, Beacon incorporates Light and Dark Munich, Vienna, Great Chit, Appalachian Wheat, Munich Rye, Carolina Rye, and Cumberland Corn. Their Sweetland Light uses exclusively Chesapeake Pilsner and Great Chit and the Vienna, and according to Dave, “The Vienna Malt and Cumberland Corn really shine in our Mexican Lager.”

But Hash says he does have a favorite. The head brewer goes on to say that by far, his favorite usage of Riverbend malts is “the Munich Rye and Carolina Rye malts 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.” 

A Sense of Place

Beacon Brewing Company lives by a local first motto. “In an industry that relies so much on homogeneity in its raw ingredients, it’s refreshing to be able to use an ingredient that allows us to maintain and exceed operational integrity while supporting our local farmers,” Hash adds. “I’m just proud to be using Southern malt to brew Southern beer.” 

Learn more about Beacon Brewing Company’s Southern pride at beaconbeer.com.

 The homebrewing equipment: cleaned.

The grain: spent.

The beer: consumed.

If you can believe it, it’s already been three months since our craft malt (home)brew day and Instagram live. Terminal gravity was achieved in less than ten days, and following a brief cold crash, keg transfer, and carbonation period, our hazy session IPA was ready for drinking.

And I’m here to report that despite high expectations, our hazy session IPA turned out to be even better than anticipated.

Tasting Notes

Tasting a Hazy Session IPA brewed with craft malt can offer some unique characteristics compared to a regular Hazy IPA. If you’re new here, craft malt refers to malt produced by smaller, artisanal malt houses, which can result in more complex and nuanced flavors.


Similar to a standard Hazy IPA, our session homebrew displayed a cloudy and hazy appearance, resembling freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice. One thing I noticed is that there was a slightly deeper and richer hue compared to other Hazy IPAs I’ve brewed in the past using more standard malts.


This was my first time using Galaxy and Idaho 7 hops, and thanks to a generous dry hop schedule, I immediately noticed huge pineapple and berry aromas from the very first pour.


The Riverbend malt introduced flavors like toasted bread, caramel, and honey. I immediately noticed a discernable malt presence cutting through the massive hop flavors. This created a more balanced and rounded tasting experience.


I was surprised by a fuller and silkier mouthfeel that I had anticipated, adding to the “pillowy” and smooth texture typical of Hazy IPAs. I attributed the increased body from the craft malt used, which in my opinion enhanced the overall mouthfeel, making it feel more substantial on the palate.


The finish might be longer and more lingering due to the additional malt complexity. The craft malt left a subtle sweetness that contrasts nicely with the fruity hop flavors, leading to a pleasant and balanced aftertaste.

HomebrewingTips from the Maltster

Riverbend malt comes in a variety of types, including base malts, specialty malts, and roasted malts, similar to the large malt producers you are familiar with. Base malts provide the primary source of fermentable sugars, while specialty and roasted malts contribute specific flavors, colors, and aromas. Choosing malt styles that complement the beer style you’re homebrewing requires a knowledge of the specific offerings of each craft maltster.

Thanks to my friends at RadCraft, I was able to work directly with the craft maltsters at Riverbend Malt when I was building my recipe. Starting with the basic idea of brewing a session hazy IPA, we worked out which specific craft malts to use to achieve the desired flavors. While base malts like the Riverbend Basecamp Pale Malt were familiar to me, others like Great Chit were less so. With the help of the Riverbend team, I was able to learn the similarities and nuances of these small batch grains. (For those that are curious, Great Chit is similar to Carafoam or Carapils dextrin malts, both of which add body and foam retention to the brew without compromising color or flavor.)


Homebrewing checklist with malt




A Homebrewing Recipe for Summer Sipping: Rad River Session Hazy IPA

Below is the 5-gallon recipe I used for homebrewing our session hazy IPA. This brew has been perfect for summer sipping; busting with tons of malt character and hop aromas to keep you coming back for more, while remaining light enough on alcohol for enjoying all evening long.


  • 8 lbs. of Riverbend Base Camp Pale Malt, milled 
  • 2 lbs. of Riverbend Great Chit, milled
  • 1 lb. of Riverbend Hull & Oats
  • 0.5 lb. of acidulated malt (optional, for pH adjustment)
  • 0.5 oz. of Columbus Hops @ 10 minutes
  • 1 oz of Galaxy Hops @ Whirlpool
  • 1 oz of Idaho 7 Hops @ Whirlpool
  • 3 oz. of Galaxy Hops, 2-3 days post fermentation
  • 3 oz. of Idaho 7 Hops, 2-3 days post fermentation


Heat your strike water and mash in at 1.5 quarts per pound, targeting a mash temperature of 152°F for one hour. Vorlauf the wort by slowly recirculating and then begin the sparge process by slowly adding heated strike water to rinse the grains. Collect enough sparge water to reach your desired boil volume of roughly 6.5 gallons. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hop addition schedule as described above. After a 20-minute whirlpool, chill the wort, transfer to your sanitized vessel, pitch with your desired yeast (for this brew I used Wyeast London Ale III), and ferment for approximately 7-10 days, or until terminal gravity is reached. Package, chill, and enjoy!

And for those curious, the name Rad River comes from the awesome folks at RadCraft Co-op and Riverbend Malt House that made this brew possible!

When it comes to the brewing and boiling, using a craft malt is no different than using malt from larger producers. No adjustments were made to my system and my efficiencies remained nearly the same as any other standard brew day. My mashing, sparging, boiling, and hopping schedules remained identical to any other brew.

Brewing with craft malt can add unique flavors and characteristics to your beer, enhancing the overall homebrewing experience. The best way to learn about the effects of craft malt on your beer is through experimentation and experience. Enjoy the journey of discovering new flavors and creating distinctive brews with craft malt, and cheers to making great beers!

At Riverbend, we dedicate a significant amount of time to sensory training. In these panels, we deep dive into the grain selection, recipe development, and in-house procedures that define our products. As with any great craft beer or spirit, there is a ‘true-to-brand profile that we are looking for in each one. The recent release of our Crystal Malt offered an opportunity to compare this product to other examples currently available on the market.

New Crystal Malt, 50 SRM

crystal malt

Over the years, we have learned that each producer of Crystal malt or Caramel malt developed a “house” character that brewers could recognize as either a positive or negative attribute. Given that preference and history, we were interested to see how our version stacked up. For our comparison test, we selected examples with a similar SRM from the United Kingdom and a domestic product too. 

The colors of all three were very similar. Good to know if you are targeting a very specific style or color range for your beer. We noted distinct differences in each, which supports the “house” character thesis. The two commercial examples presented a bit more toast and coffee character compared to Riverbend’s new Crystal 50 malt. Here are a few tasting notes from that panel:



Riverbend Crystal 50 malt – bright cherry, toffee, with a light syrupy finish

British Crystal malt – dark fruit, bakers chocolate, woody tannins

Domestic Crystal malt – dark fruit, toast, woody tannins

Double Kilned Munich

We also included our Double Kilned Munich in this test, as the SRM is very similar. The goal of this was to explore and define the differences in these two products to avoid any confusion in the market. The most noteable takeaway from this exercise was the difference in mouthfeel. Double Kilned Munich displayed a richer, breadier mouthfeel when compared to Crystal 50, like a mixture of chocolate cake batter and toast. This makes sense when you consider that a higher level of starch conversion has taken place in the Crystal malt, leaving a sweeter, thinner liquid. Some similarities did exist, with both presenting notes of dark fruit and molasses.

Pilsner Malts

Next up was an examination of Pilsner malts. Since the release of our single origin Pilsners, our customers have become more comfortable with the idea of selecting a specific malt from our portfolio for their lager projects. We’ve even fielded a few jabs about the number we offer, which gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about what differentiates them.

The expansion of our offerings of Pilsner malt styles mirrors market trends from the larger producers, with several releasing premium variants or domestic houses advertising the use of barley from Europe. All of which speaks to market demand and the continued rise of craft lager production in the United States market. 

Customers have consistently reported that our Chesapeake Pilsner, made with Violetta barley, is closest to the “Continental” profile from across the pond. Hot take: this comparison did not support that assessment! 

crystal malt

Our comparison of Chesapeake Pilsner to a premium domestic Pilsner malt and a continental Pilsner malt using the traditional hot steep method yielded some interesting results. The continental example delivered a more pronounced bready character than Chesapeake, but with less floral and fruit aromas. In fact, our tasting notes were very similar to our Cumberland Pilsner, made with Calypso barley. The premium domestic sample displayed the least amount of character between the three. Aromas tended to be muted compared to the other two and remained the bread crumb, crust arena with little additional characteristics noted. No flaws or off flavors were detected in any of the three. Always fun when data surprises you, right?!

All of this begs the question, do you have a comparison you’d like to try? Our team can bring our hot steep kits to your facility and compare what you currently use with a comparable Riverbend product. This collaboration is a great way to try before you buy!

Give us a shout to learn more



Over the years, we’ve participated in some fun with upcycling projects in line with our environmental objectives; but the Beer to Bags partnership is taking our efforts to another level!

Happy North Carolina Craft Beer Month everyone! This month, we are proud to announce that Riverbend Malt House is now the first malt house licensor for Beer To Bags. Beer To Bags upcycles spent malt bags to create stylish totes.

Why Upcycling?

Due to the amount of polypropylene in malt bags, they are a difficult product to recycle because they decompose at a very slow rate. Beer to Bags has found a solution to that problem by upcycling spent malt bags and turning them into customizable tote bags. Upcycling is preferred over recycling do to the amount of energy recycling takes. Rather than destroying the old bags and trying to make them into a new resource, Beer To Bags is able to modify them and turn them into a cool, useful product for beer lovers.

We’re working to remove millions of malt bags from landfills, but that’s just one material and industry. There is so much work to be done, so I welcome anyone who wants to join to make an impact where you can,” Emily Neville, the Founder of Beer To Bags told Authority Magazine earlier this year. “It takes the small, intentional efforts of all of us to make a difference.”

Upcycling For A Cause

Beer to Bags gives 1% of every sale to a good cause. For the totes made with Riverbend malt bags, they decided to give that 1% to the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) because of the work that they do for us and craft maltsters all over the country. AMBA aims to help with the research and development of public sector malting barley varieties, helping farmers sustain the crops we use.

As part of this license, all totes made with our spent malt bags will include our logo on the inside of the tote. You can shop for totes made with Riverbend malt bags on the Beer To Bags website or you can customize a bag for yourself or your business using their Custom Order Consultation. With the holidays coming up, the timing couldn’t be better to treat the beer lovers in your life to these creative gifts.

Thanks to Beer To Bags and the AMBA for collaborating with us on this exciting partnership!

Oktoberfest Is In Full Effect. 

Since we launched the malt house, Oktoberfest season sales calls were met with a similar refrain…. “I only use German malt for those recipes”. 

Of course this makes sense; these events are wrapped in hundreds of years of history and tradition. Add to this, the relative lack of experience of an upstart malt house and new barley varieties, and you have a recipe for hesitation.

Over the years, we have honed the recipes of our Munich “family”, coaxing a nice mix of bread, sweet aromatics, and floral character from our locally-sourced grain. These aromas combined with consistent color and extract levels have given us a bit more confidence to hit the streets and ask for that coveted Märzen or Festbier spot.

The increase in quality and consistency combined with a global supply chain meltdown helped us gain traction in 2022, and we have built on that momentum this year. Breweries across the Southeast have taken the leap and reimagined these classic lagers with freshly kilned malt from Riverbend Malt House— as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean.

This harvest season, we saw plenty of Chesapeake Pilsner, Vienna, Light Munich, and Dark Munich go in recipes across the region. Heavier on the Munich malts if a richer, maltier Oktoberfest was the target; More Vienna and Pilsner if a Festbier was on the schedule. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve received positive feedback from our customers as these beers have gone into packaging, and gotten tapped for Oktoberfest celebrations. Hearing that makes it feels like we’ve torn down one of the last barriers for craft malt. 

As these releases make their way to the taprooms and storefronts, our hearts are filled with pride. We know there is a tremendous amount of time and effort tied up in this liquid and we are proud to be a part of each of these expressions of the season. If your Festbier (or any other style you might want to tell us about) was #madewithRiverbend, we’d love to hear about it

A sincere thank you goes out to everyone that chose to make their Oktoberfest Lager with Riverbend this season. We look forward to raising a frothy stein with you in the coming weeks!

Prost y’all!

— Brent