Local Grains Give Local Flavor to Microbrews
You may already know about the role terroir plays in flavoring the wine you drink... it only makes sense to extend the concept of climate- and geography-influenced tasting notes to your pint of beer too! As both the local, sustainable foods movement and craft beer mania gain more coverage in mainstream media, we look to the small-batch maltsters to learn more about the regionally-specific flavors represented in our microbrews!
Brent Manning is a maltster on a mission. The co-founder of Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, N.C., wants people to be able to taste local grains in North Carolina's beers, just as vino aficionados can identify the provenance of fine wines. "In the wine industry ... they will tell you that the No. 1 Syrah grape grows on this hillside over here because it's a bit rockier," Manning explains. "It's that very same connection to the soil and the underlying geology that creates these nuances in flavors." And a critical element in creating beer with truly local flavor, Manning contends, is malt made from local grains.
Photo Courtesy of Throwback Brewery