Can brewing beer help the environment? Admiral Maltings, a California Malt roaster thinks so!
Admiral Malting is California’s only craft-malter, focusing on California grown malts for brewing. WoW (homebrew club) and friends met one Saturday for a tour of the Alameda Island facility. The phrase “One farmer, one field” came up frequently, exemplifying the spirit of the enterprise. Certified Organic, Admiral Malting works with researchers and farmers to use crop variants that are created for, and grown in California. The farming practices associated with these malts focus on long term agricultural sustainability, controlling erosion, using less water and restoring soil biomes and topsoil.
Who knew brewing beer could be so good for the environment!
We were lucky enough to have Rob Silberstein, one of the founders of Admiral Malting, give us our tour. At each stage in the process we munched on the grains to help understand how the malting process modified them. The process started with what my friend Toni referred to as “the Barley jacuzzi”, here the grains are steeped in water to bring up the moisture content and encourage sprouting. They are then spread out on the floor, to air dry and continue sprouting, This “floor malting” is a traditional technique, largely overlooked in industrial scale practices. The grain is then transferred to a kiln for its final drying, before packaging.
Why go through all the effort of no-till agriculture, “one farmer, on field” supply chains, and hand raking malts? Better beer!
Rob drew a comparison between Admiral Malting’s products and commercially available grain- “It’s like bread fresh out of an oven, versus Safeway bagged bread that has been on the shelf for weeks”. At every stage of the process Admiral Malting can select for taste, flavor and freshness, rather than standardization and shelf stability. The grains from Admiral Maltings are likely to be mere months from living plants, creating a more tasty, fresher beer!
The Rake- the taproom and storefront of Admiral Malting sell 50 lb bags of malts, I arranged with friends to buy a pound or two of the larger sacks, so I will be able to test these claims!