CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 84

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M ing, was done in-house at relatively large-scale malthouses. The Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage in New York was launched in 2015 to support growth and innovation in the farm brewing value chain through research, technical support, and knowl- edge transfer. It’s the first facility of its kind, and it is led by Aaron MacLeod, who we heard from earlier, and is a resource for testing, business development, and education for small and mid-sized brew- eries, malthouses, farms, and other craft food and beverage produc- ers. MacLeod explains further, “What we’re trying to do here is economic development. We’re trying to help small brewers, growers, raw material producers, craft malthouses, and distilleries improve their product quality, grow, and be innovative, by providing quality testing services that oth- erwise aren’t available to them. We’re one of the few labs in the U.S. that offer a fee-for-service malt analysis. We work with 75 craft malt houses all over the country and help by testing their product quality both on the ingredient side and on the final product.” Hartwick, along with colleagues, Draught Lab, and more than a half-dozen universities, make up what I would call a pretty serious “get” in terms of adding infrastructure to the seed-sized category of the overall industry. This research and quality control-based sup- port is likely the difference maker in terms of keeping these fledgling malthouses and farms open, productive and competitive. But what about the beer? There seems to be little question that con- sumers are drawn to locally-made products and brands. Will their interest follow where the beer was grown? Will they look beyond hops, the lead singer, and value source-identified malt? Will small- batch regional malt make better beer? Are brewers and customers willing to pay more for the experience? The popularity and spread of regional and local hops has already begun the discussion of terroir in beer. Terroir is a term popular in wine-culture, which is used to describe the experience of tasting the place where the flavor was born. Terrior is agricultural signature to the region, the climate and even the type of soil. Will the reconnec- tion of regional, varietal barley to maltsters and thus brewers, create a new malt-driven terroir? MacLeod takes on this notion by identifying how the agricultural ter- roir of barley is connected through layers of processing. The varietal of barley and whether it was either bred or selected for the growing