CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 88

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M ground up – the rhythm section -- the bass-heavy low-end, the foundation and soul of beer—malt. It feels like it’s also only the tip of the iceberg, as all of these fresh opportunities exist for the craft distillers who can ferment and distill malt into whiskey or other grain-based spirits. Banks sees the “farm- house distiller, with the maltster as the end-user” as an ideal model, insulated from some of the risks inherent on the beer side. He’s even taken to teaching this model in conjunction with the American Dis- tillers Institute. Breweries and distilleries don’t often reveal much detail about their malt in descriptions and on labels or packaging. It’s more and more common to see farms and varieties on food menus or describing hops in beer, but historically, it is quite rare for a producer to identify the maltster, farm, or varietal of barley, noting unique contributions of flavor, character, and quality. Of course, in many cases, this information wasn’t available, relevant, or consistent enough to consider printing it on a label or six-pack. This is all beginning to change. Malthouses are collaborating with brewers and distillers, helping to co-promote these locally grown products. They’re even hosting events like multi-brewery tap takeo- vers together. Passionate drinkers of beer and whiskey value originality, story, and unique flavors. I hope you’ll take notice of the work being done by these passionate, talented and studious bass players of the beer in- dustry. Craft malted barley malt is laying down some serious new grooves and it deserves a listen. While regional craft malting of farm-identified barley is not capable of serving the entire brewing industry, or even the entire craft brew- ing industry, it is certainly creating flavor, interest, and value for those that are engaging. I believe our world is better when consumers ask better questions, and producers give better answers. I encourage you to ask, listen, and taste. Support the arts by listening to the emerging local bands as well as the national acts. You may not always recognize the bass player, but when it feels good right down to your heels—you’ll know it’s them—in your beer, your whiskey, or your music. Go ahead and ask for the liner notes, and you might get to know the whole band.