Small-scale maltsters supply microbreweries

Photo by hexion via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

NPR’s food blog, The Salt, recently ran a nice piece on the growing connection between breweries and local farmers. As April Fehling writes,

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….

Malt is an essential element in beer, along with water, hops and yeast. But while most beer drinkers know that malt comes from grain, many have no idea how it’s made.

That’s where the maltster — yes, that’s the name for people who malt — comes in: between the farmer, who grows the grain, and the brewer, who makes the beer.

Head here for the fascinating full piece, along with links to related stories.

(Also worth checking out is this St. Patrick’s Day piece from NPR on the continued growth of craft beer in the U.S. in the face of corporate consolidation that has yielded a mere two giant international brewery conglomerates controlling 90% of the market.)

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