Our #Riverbend10 film is live on YouTube!

This film documents a decade of craft malt at Riverbend Malt House. Thanks are in order to our friends at DSSOLVR, Fullsteam, and Fonta Flora Brewery, and the Asheville Brewers Supply homebrew shop who let us crash their work days with our cameras.

Catch this film at our Craft Brewers Conference BrewExpo booth, number 136!

Thanks for watching! 

Happy Women’s History Month!

Thank you to the many women who incorporated Riverbend craft malt into their recipes in celebration. It was exciting to see Riverbend go into so many Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day brews across the Southeast. Here are a few beers to track down, made in support of Pink Boots Society.

Have You Hurd? 

We also had our friends from the newly formed Athens Pink Boots Society chapter to select flavors in a custom batch of malt that we made them for their Pink Boots brew, naming their new beer after their first female brewer and current Brewing Supervisor, Jess Hurd. “Have you Hurd?” is a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) IPA. They tell the story better than we do– check out their artfully articulated blog post about the whole process.

Enter Erin Mellenthin, one of our Assistant Maltsters. Erin traveled to Athens for International Women’s Brew Day, and gave a hot steeping demonstration to the whole group to boot. Terrapin really wanted to highlight their women employees in this process, she says. “One of the ways they did that was buying a custom malt from us that honored the states from which each of their women brewers was from.”

Look for Have you Hurd? on tap at Terrapin in April.

Shake The Table

Inspired by not being “well-behaved women,” Shake the Table Fruited Sour Lager is more of a mantra than a beer. Mason Jar Brewing Co. Lead Brewer Hannah Parris says this beer was designed to misbehave, to push the standard definition of a lager. She and the team used Sunset Wheat Malt and Chesapeake Pilsner to create the its complex flavors. “I love being able to brew beer with ingredients that showcase our local agriculture,” she says. “The grains play well with the fruit additions of peach, pink guava, and red prickly pear.  The Sunset Wheat provided a soft, crisp, and lightly sweet template that really lends itself to warm weather refreshers. Finally, we ferment using a Czech lager yeast for an exceptionally clean and dry finish.”

Look for Shake The Table on tap at Mason Jar in coming weeks.

Ninkaski’s Nectar 

Plankowner Brewing brewed an ode to the goddess of fermentation on International Women’s (Brew) Day with pink guava hibiscus and our Southern Select malt variety. Ninkasi’s Nectar IPA will be available in April.

Pink Boots Are Made For Brewin’

Fireforge Crafted Beer created a Hazy IPA with the help of our Streaker Oats for Pink Boots Brew Day this year, for which many women from upstate South Carolina gathered to make it possible. Get it on tap now while supplies last!

Craft malt makes the difference, especially when it comes to beer and spirits competitions. Congratulations are in order to two of our customers for some recent big wins.

Our friends at Crooked Can Brewing in Orlando cleaned up at the Best Florida Beer Championship with five medals. Among the winners was the Common Ground California Common that Crooked Can made to celebrate our 10 Year Harvest. The recipe, which emulates a traditional Steam Beer, includes two of our specialty malts— the 10 Year Harvest Sunset Wheat and the Flo-Rye-Da Florida-grown rye malt– as well as our Dark Munich malt, Amarillo hops, and classic San Francisco Lager yeast. Bready, floral, and spicy notes are balanced with a clean lager finish in this easy drinker.

Congratulations to all of the Florida breweries who took home medals at the Best Florida Beer Championship!

Another of our Southeastern customers was just recognized at another prestigious quality competition across the country. Weldon Mills was honored with the Spirit of the Year, Best Bourbon Whiskey, and Distillery of the Year titles at the 2022 San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge. We’re proud to say that all of Weldon Mills Bourbons are made with Riverbend craft malt!

Get your Craft Malt User Manual and read Our Year in Review!

You’ve made the savvy business decision to use craft malt. Now what?

Working with a craft maltster means making a purchase is only the beginning. Your investment leads to innovative products, supports local, family owned farms, and protects the environment— and those are stories worth telling!

Our new Craft Malt User Manual has tools and resources to help you produce and sell the highest quality beer and spirits made with Riverbend Malt. It includes malthouse tours and employee trainings, media support, event support, and more.

Check out the Riverbend Craft Malt User Manual.

Using 2-Row barley sourced directly from Tennessee, we developed Cumberland Pilsner as part of our custom craft malt program. After numerous tweaks and trials, we were able to create a blend of sweet aromatics and bread dough from Calypso barley. It’s a little less floral than our Chesapeake Pilsner, and a little sweeter than our original 6-Row Pilsner. Cumberland’s light color and subtle flavors work across a wide range of Lager styles.

See what our Southeast brewers have done using Cumberland Pilsner craft malt!


Homegrown Lager – TN

An ode to homegrown brewing, Orange Hat Brewing Company’s Homegrown Lager is everything we love about local craft beer.

Orange Hat brewed this premium lager with Cascade hops from Knox Hops and Riverbend’s Cumberland Pilsner malt. Roughly 75 pounds of fresh Cascade hops were used in the whirlpool to add a distinct hop character to this easy drinking and crisp finishing Lager.


Church Parking Lot – TN

Dedicated to the mundane, everyday places we find ourselves in, Harding House Brewing Company’s Church Parking Lot is a liquid encapsulation of the way special moments make anywhere memorable.

Because of that, this beer is light, crisp, and easy drinking. It features 100 percent Tennessee-grown corn from Teeter Farms and Riverbend Cumberland Pilsner malt. At 4.75 percent ABV, it’s perfect to enjoy with family and friends—and make memories that turn the normal into the extraordinary.


Believe in the Breeze CZECH Pilsner – NC

Crisp and soft as a North Carolina gale, DSSOLVR’s Believe in the Breeze is a subtly floral, velvety smooth beer with a touch of Pilsner bitterness.

This Pilsner starts with a Czech water profile and a base of 100 percent Cumberland Pilsner malt. Then, Believe is hopped with German Saaz hops for an earthy, herbal, and spicy flavor. A traditional Pilsner through and through.


Withered Foliage Biere de Garde – WV

A combination of roasted pepitas, Tettnang, Magnum, Saaz hops, and local malts, this October saison is a seasonal staple crafted by Weathered Ground Brewery

Beginning as a more traditional Saison, Withered Foliage is rich in body and full malt flavor. The integration of our Cumberland Pilsner and a touch of our Streaker Oats in this grain bill create a mosaic of malt flavors. The combination keeps this Saison scintillating till the last sip.

Check out our new malt varieties to experiment with in your brewhouses and distillers!

What 2022 looks like for maltsters and farmers. Have questions?

Hard to believe we are about to close the books on 2021! I always enjoy going back through our social media feed and photos…remembering the conversations and beers that defined this roller coaster of a year. The list below is presented in a loose chronological order, capturing the seasonality that plays a large role in defining experiences for me.


Munich Rye Lager – Hi-Wire

2021 kicked off with this beautiful release from Hi-Wire. This beer hit all the right notes for me in late winter. Perfect for that time of year when you’ve had enough “big” stouts but your palate is not quite ready for that first light beer of spring.

Their choice of malts created layers of biscuit, graham cracker, and toast at an approachable alcohol level. Noble presence was just enough to cleanse the palate and set the table for another sip. Bonus points for including recipe details in the packaging design!


VR Pizza Boy (Dortmunder Lager) – DSSOLVR

This was a fascinating and nerdy exploration into the terroir of barley varieties and malt house character. We received 2 tons of Talisman barley from our friends at Skagit Valley Malting and we sent them some of our Violetta. We applied our Southern Select recipe to the Talisman and the results were noticeably different. Lab analysis revealed lower levels of modification and corresponding color development. On the flavor front, we noticed more light cracker and less bready sweetness…..a malt stuck between Pilsner and Pale Ale profiles.


The good folks at DSSOLVR took this profile and ran with it! Tweaking water and mash profiles to highlight the malt character. The result was a thirsty quenching success!


Your Juice Sire (Sour/Wild IPA) – Little Animals Brewery

It isn’t everyday I have a “moment” with an IPA. Most leave me longing for the old days of crisp citrus and pine notes found in the classic West Coast examples. We hear tropical, mango, guava, etc. thrown around quite a bit when it comes to describing the modern IPA. To me, those bright and tantalizing flavors are often dulled by the overly sweet and creamy mouthfeel of the NEIPA style. 


 Ah, but this example from Little Animals lit me up! 


They start with a mash bill that includes our Pilsner, Munich and Oats, add Idaho 7 and Belma then ferment with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces. The final twist is where this beer takes flight…..a blend of barrel-aged blonde sour is added prior to packaging. This really sets off the aromatics and gives this beer a crisp, satisfying finish.


Biere de’ Riverbend (Belgian Dark Strong) – Fonta Flora

You knew this one would be on the list. Crafted as part of our 10th anniversary series, our homies at Fonta Flora really put something beautiful together. The mash bill brings in both of our Munichs and Sunset Wheat to build layers of complexity. Traditional Belgian yeast and dark candi sugar all contribute to rich fig, raisin, and toffee character in this one. The finished beer is disturbingly drinkable despite the 10% ABV. 


They followed this release with Druidsickle, a bourbon barrel aged spiced ale….can’t wait to try that one!


Honorable Mention

Polotmavý Ležák 12º – Cohesion Brewing Company 


I’ll admit, I had never heard of Cohesion when my friend Jen Blair mentioned them as a potential meet up spot in Denver during CBC. Thirty minutes later I’m in the taproom geeking out with her and the brewer (Eric) about his decoction schedule!


Everything about this place is focused on traditional Czech-style lagers. Each of the beers were complex and beautifully presented via side pull faucets. What made the evening even more special was learning about the role craft malt plays in their brewhouse….turns out our good friends at Troubadour Maltings created several special malts designed to work with the decoction heavy approach.


This intersection of local malt and old-world craftsmanship is an excellent example of the innovation that will continue to propel craft beer forward in the years to come!


Happy holidays everyone!



It’s only natural to look out over a field of barley and think back to this time last year, or the year before that. This year we’re feeling extra nostalgic about our 10 year harvest that we’re now enjoying in craft beer across our region, toasting to a decade in business in what’s become a burgeoning agricultural industry. The craft malt story is unfolding, and we’re proud to help tell it.

How have the crops improved?

When we started, 6-row barley was the only game in town. A variety called Thoroughbred is where we got our start. Notoriously challenging to work with due to high beta glucan levels. We worked steadily to tease out the perfect blend of moisture, temperature and time required to promote proper modification. Now, in the twilight of its career, this variety continues to hold a place in our year-round lineup!

As we have gotten better, so have our farmers. They’ll tell you that they only get 50 or so chances in their lifetime to produce a quality product. We’re happy to report that most have been quick learners… developing programs that have increased test weight and yields over the years.

We’ve also gained access to several 2-row varieties that really helped open the doors at large-scale breweries for us. Violetta, Calypso, and Flavia all consistently yield >80 bushels an acre.

How did they look this year?

Mother nature was good to us! She spared us a late season frost and rainfall levels were manageable. Late season rains can often lead to pre-harvest sprout damage, but that was not the case in 2021. Most of our growers reported high overall quality and solid yield numbers. This gives us a solid foundation to work with until next summer!

Our friends out in the Western United States were not as lucky, dealing with drought conditions. Rainfall of only 5-6 inches was reported in some areas, which creates stressful growing conditions for barley. The end result is high protein and corresponding lower extract levels in the finished malt.

How have relationships with farmers gotten stronger?

Open and honest communication has been a cornerstone for us. Each year our “crystal ball” comes into a bit better focus, this helps us provide better estimates on raw material requirements to our network. Early on, our estimates varied wildly depending on what sale opportunities were falling into (or out of) the picture. Combine that variability with a fledgling grain growing effort, and you get a recipe for disaster.

2018 was probably the toughest year for all of us. We were ramping up production with a harvest that was less than stellar. Our growers and seed cleaners worked hard to get us the best material they could at an accelerated pace. It was a challenging time; frayed nerves were the order of the day. When 2019’s harvest arrived, we breathed a sigh of relief and went to work.

Our growth has allowed us to expand contracted acreage throughout our network and strengthen our commitment to #maltwithamission.

What’s next?

New varieties and new partners throughout the South. Early on, we built relationships in 10 acre increments, which equates to a truckload of grain. The need to scale shifted our focus to 50 and 100 acre increments to ensure adequate supply of craft malt. As we look to our second decade, we want to return to our roots and support small-scale pilot projects that offer access to a broader array of stakeholders in our region.