Most of the time these days, when we hear about a brewery using a new ingredient in their beer, it’s usually either a new variety of hop, a new strain of yeast or perhaps some type of fruit or vegetable (Pumpkin, Peach Ale, anyone?) For the most part, the bulk of the main ingredient that makes up the beer, the malt, gets overlooked.
Pike Brewing Company wants to change that. They’re working with local craft maltster, Skagit Valley Malting, to create a malt with fuller flavor, as opposed to the high protein but lower flavor malts available from the maltsters who supply most macrobreweries.
Here is the full press release from Pike Brewing Company:
Seattle, WA – June 1, 2015: Malt is the soul of beer; akin to grapes in wine. Brewers have an incredible diversity of hops to brew with and yet since Prohibition have been limited in malt choices. Now Pike Brewing Company is working directly with Skagit Valley farmers to grow barley varietals specifically for craft beer malt. These varietals will bring new, full and complex flavors that today’s craft beer drinkers want. We are introducing this with Pike Locale, a series of beers made with 100% Washington State ingredients that define our local terroir.
The first beer in the Pike Locale series is Skagit Valley Alba. Just in time for summer, Skagit Valley Alba is light and citrusy with a clean, earthy and nutty malt finish. Subtly seasoned with Yakima Valley hops, Pike Locale Skagit Valley Alba pours a beautiful spun gold color with crisp, pale foam. This limited release beer is available beginning June 1 on draft and in 22oz dinner bottles at local pubs, restaurants, grocers and bottle shops.
“We know that craft beer drinkers are passionate about drinking locally,” said Art Dixon, Pike Brewing Lead Brewer. “As brewers we’re excited to introduce them to all new flavors with these locally grown malts.”
Since Prohibition the barley grain supply for brewers has been dictated by macrobreweries, who prefer high protein, low flavor grains. There are over 11,000 varieties of barley and yet only a handful are used for malt today. For this beer, Pike Brewing is working with Skagit Valley Malting, a new craft maltster. They are able to malt barley in smaller quantities, tailoring their process to the exact specifications each varietal needs to bring out its fullest flavor in craft beer.
“With Pike Locale we are reviving the pre-Prohibition tradition of sourcing quality ingredients as close to the brewery as possible,” notes Pike Brewing Founder and President, Charles Finkel. “Prohibition dealt a blow to brewers and small farmers alike. And since that time craft brewers have done an admirable job brewing delicious beers with a very limited palate of malts. Pike Locale ushers in a new chapter with these locally grown, varietal malts that will introduce beer drinkers to new flavors.”
Skagit Valley Alba’s base malt was grown by Knutzen Farms (Skagit Valley) and includes malts from Palouse Colony Farm (Whitman County), Washington Bulb Co. and Hedlin Farms (Skagit Valley). Its Cascade, Centennial and Mosaic hops come from the Yakima Valley and its honey from Salish Lodge bees in Snohomish County. It is brewed with water from the Cedar River Watershed and uses Pike #1 yeast.
Future beers in the Pike Locale series, featuring other heritage and varietal malts, will be available as the grains become available and as Pike Brewing Company’s brewers create new recipes for them.
Pike Locale Skagit Valley Alba
ABV 5.5 %
About Pike Brewing Company:
The Pike Brewing Company is a family owned brewery located in the historic Pike Place Public Market neighborhood. It was founded in 1989 by craft beer pioneers, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel. Pike Brewing handcrafts beers of character including the Pike Pale Ale, Pike IPA, Naughty Nellie, Space Needle IPA, Kilt Lifter, Monk’s Uncle, and XXXXX Stout along with seasonal offerings such as Harlot’s Harvest, Old Bawdy, Auld Acquaintance, Derby Lager, Saison Houblon, and Octopus Ink. The Pike Pub is known for local, sustainable and seasonal pub fare and for housing the world-famous Micro-Brewery Museum, illustrating 9,000 years of beer history.
Pick up some Skagit Valley Alba today and, as noted above, watch for other new limited edition beers from the Pike Locale series coming soon. They’ll feature other heritage and varietal malts, keeping things local.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.