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.
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.
“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!