Hops are known as the “sexy” ingredient in beer. Brewery staff members line up to be included in the hop harvest and love to smell, touch and rub hops (see, pretty sexy, right?!?), to choose the best ones for future contracts. You don’t hear much about grain. We see barley and wheat waving whimsically in the wind but don’t really connect that vision with beer. The process of malting grain dates back to ancient times. In some places, grain is still floor malted by hand, turned, and mixed over heat to get that perfect roast for various varieties.
Not only are malts very important to our brewing process and are what provide the sugar source needed for the fermentation process (yeast eats sugar to create alcohol and carbonation), they are critical to the mouthfeel, flavor and color of your favorite beer.
One of the breweries we admire for creating amazing and unique beers is Allagash Brewing Company, so when the opportunity arose to collaborate with a brewery for the sponsored beer of SAVOR, a culinary and beer paired event in Washington D.C., Veronica Vega, one of our Brewmasters, said she thought they would be the perfect partner as “we respect them for their innovation and quality”. As the conversation went along, it was decided that instead of creating a big, powerful beer with a multitude of flavors and ingredients, we’d collaborate on a beer that highlighted local maltsters in respect to each region, and that would pair well with food. “Something simple yet elegant” – Veronica Vega.
Allagash Founder, Rob Tod, and Head Brewer, Jason Perkins flew out to Bend to meet Veronica and our Bend Pub Head Brewer, Robin Johnson, to create a test batch of “Sparkling Pale.” This beer uses Pilsner malts from Mecca Grade Estate Malt from Madras, Oregon, and Pale 2-row malts from Buck Farms in Mapleton, Maine. In addition, we’re adding dried Crystal, Cascade and Sterling Hops from Oregon and a rustic farmhouse yeast strain for a light bodied, delicate malt forward beer. Veronica adds, “it’s gonna be bubbly!”
The experimental version will be on tap at our Bend Pub in about 3 weeks, then Veronica and Robin will make the trek to Maine to brew the final version at Allagash to be bottled and gifted to SAVOR attendees. You may also see this beer on tap around D.C. at post SAVOR events. Find out how to get tickets to this exquisite event by clicking here. Cheers to collabration beers!