We may be familiar with the word “terroir” being associated with wine or some specific foods. But is this a thing for beer? Well, yes it is, and craft maltsters and craft brewers are well-positioned to use single varieties of barley or wheat for their malty characteristics, which provide the flavor profile for terroir. In addition, single hop varieties can impact specific flavor and aroma profiles. Yeast will also impact flavors and aromas, but for terroir in beer we think more about single-variety grain types.
Wednesday, the 2nd of March, saw Dr. Missy Begay from Bow and Arrow Brewing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ron Silberstein from Admiral Maltings in Alameda, California, joining Professor Glen Fox for a Robert Mondavi Institute Savor discussion on the Terroir of Beer. On Thursday the 3rd, Missy, her business partner and wife, Shyla Sheppard, and Ron visited the brewery to watch the FST102B brewing students.
Bow and Arrow Brewing Company is the first craft brewery in the USA owned and run by Native American women. They brew innovative beer recipes using a mix of traditional raw materials but also specific native plants. They are focused on working with their community in foraging for these plants which is a significant factor for terroir characters in the beers brewed at Bow and Arrow.
Admiral Maltings is an award-winning craft malthouse using the old-style floor maltings process. This process adds to a flavor profile for terroir. Ron and the team work with California grain farmers to source specific varieties that will contribute to unique malt flavors. Part of the Admiral Malting philosophy includes ensuring varieties are grown sustainably and where possible Ron will source organic grains.