There’s a timeless quality to the godfather of the Bing cherry. A quick Google of Henderson Luelling reveals a portrait in which he sports a chinstrap beard, a vest and affected grimace. He’s just as likely to traverse the Oregon Trail as to pick up the new Mumford and Sons on vinyl after brunch.Read More
Jeff and Patrick discuss the next big thing in craft beer ingredients, artisanal malts. They discuss the techniques, the artistry, the beer and the economics of artisal malts and interview Seth Klann of Mecca Grade Estate Malts in Madras, Oregon.
By: Dr. Patrick Hayes for the April 2017 Oregon Wheat Magazine
"In companion experiments, sensory panels at the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Center, Deschutes Brewing, and New Glarus Brewing assessed a range of beers. In addition to the genetic component of flavor, Dustin identified an “environment” component. The growing environment can affect flavor – a phenomenon known as terroir and a feature that Mecca Grade Estate Malt is capitalizing on. All of this work constitutes part of a PhD thesis for Dustin Herb, but it is only the beginning."Read More
By: Parker Hall, Willamette Week
That's what it takes to stand out in today's market. And Mecca Grade doesn't come cheap. It costs more than twice the wholesale price of malts typically used in Oregon beer.
"At the end of the day," Klann says, "it has to be something special for the brewer to want to take a chance on it."
"We definitely try to use them whenever we're going after something special," Andrus says. "They are one of the best maltsters in the United States."Read More
By: Nicole Vulcan
"If hops were salt and pepper, malt would be the steak."
In case you were curious about the relative importance of each ingredient in your beer, that quote from Madras resident Seth Klann should set some things straight. Here's another way of putting it: Barley–and its resultant product, malt–is the bulk that makes up most of your beloved pint.
"That's what I'm excited about," tells Klann. "Getting back to less ingredients, better ingredients, and more flavor." Mecca Grade will plant 300 acres of Full Pint barley and 40 acres of malting rye this spring, with all of those acres concentrated as closely as possible. That way there is consistency in the grain, allowing any genetic and terroir differences to stand out. He is also growing test plots of 130 experimental varieties he got from Hayes, and if any of them perform well, Mecca Grade will purchase them for Oregon State University.Read More
"Jason O’Donnell described Mecca Grade’s malt as “peanutty,” and I definitely agree. This is a surprisingly rich spirit for its young age. While it won’t fool you into thinking that it’s a 10-year-old Scotch, for fans of the American Single Malt category, this is an interesting release and a fascinating window into the new world of craft malting."Read More
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!”Read More
"So, for the finale of the series, we're going to do something that I personally feel is a special opportunity; we will brew a beer strictly using ingredients from our profiled growers. Every ingredient going into this beer was grown in Oregon, within 125 miles of my home brewery in Beaverton. The end result will be a truly local beer."Read More
At the end of a long dirt road against a backdrop of Central Oregon farmland, Seth Klann is unlocking the door to what he calls, "The Area 51 of Craft Malt." This is not the place you would expect to find a super secret rebel base designed for a craft malt revolution. Most of the farms out here are known for growing for food, feed and seed. That's exactly Klann's family has done on their land for over 100 years. But a love of homebrewing led Seth to find a way to marry his pastime with his family legacy in creating Mecca Grade Estate Malt.Read More
It’s no secret that here in the Northwest, we take “local” very seriously. It seems like every distiller I know is focused on maximizing their use of local ingredients, from that world-famous Bull Run water in Oregon to locally sourced fruits and botanicals. But one distillery in the Portland area is taking local to a new level with the impending December release of its new Oregon Single Malt American Whiskey, a Scotch-style whiskey made by Tualatin Valley Distilling from barley bred, grown, and malted right here in our backyard.Read More
Brewing isn't particularly technical, right? If one can make soup, one can make beer; just acquire the needed ingredients, follow the instructions and in a matter of weeks, tada … beer! But if one takes a closer look at the process, from the viewpoint of a researcher focusing on a single ingredient, there's more than meets the eye. Pat Hayes, a barley researcher at Oregon State University (OSU), is one of the people who is diving well below the surface of currently available barley and influencing the future of barley, thanks in large part to technology that did not exist even a decade ago.Read More
Towering over the farm are four shiny new silos, each capable of holding a million pounds of grain. “We have two years of barley waiting to be malted, so in case of crop failure, we can still supply our customers,” Seth Klann explained. Besides barley, the farm grows rye and wheat.
Water is important to their operation, too. But Brad Klann noted, “We are on the end of the canal system, so we often don’t have to order water; we use captured water. We have eight ponds on the farm, and each holds enough water to run a pivot for 18 hours.”
Those on the tour got to sample some of the one-batch craft beers made with the estate malt by Seth Klann and head maltster Chris McMillen.Read More
In the brewing world, hops tend to overshadow their teammate malt in the flavor category. Brad Klann and his son Seth Klann are working to change that by growing and malting a particular variety of barley that imparts distinct flavor characteristics and then selling it to craft brewers and distillers. They are betting the farm on the success of Mecca Grade Estate Malt.Read More
"We're the only craft-malt house that is sourcing all of our grain from ourselves on our farm," Klann says. "It's kind of like an estate vineyard and winery in that sense. And that's what we're modeling it after."
Previously, the Klanns grew wheat on their 1,000-acre farm. Now they grow a variety of barley called Full Pint. Developed by Oregon State University 20 years ago, it's loaded with flavor.
Mecca Grade can't compete with the big maltsters on price. "So we have to offer a really unique product," says Klann, "that focuses on the terroir of Central Oregon."Read More
The beer's Full Pint malt from Mecca Grade Estate Malt in Madras, Oregon, and its organic Gargoyle hops from Hops-Meister in Clearlake make it unique — and extremely limited in quantity.
Mad Fritz beer is usually only for sale at the brewery in St. Helena and is available by exclusive membership. Needless to say, the wait list is long.Read More
Does barley matter for beer flavor? That’s one of the main questions OSU’s barley researchers are seeking to answer. One of the school’s grad students is currently involved in a flavor project. Besides breeding barley for flavors specifically requested by craft and microbrewers, other desirable traits include cold tolerance and disease resistance.
As craft brewing continues to grow, barley production is rising in Oregon to meet the increasing demand for local ingredients. With the influx of some new funding, OSU will soon have a lab for malting small, experimental varieties.Read More
He talked a bit about Central Oregon malt terroir and how locally sourced ingredients could create a regionalized drinking area. Aside from a couple of breweries, no one is really brewing with Full Pint yet, but there are some that are pretty excited to try, especially those who are passionate about using local ingredients (e.g. Paul from The Ale Apothecary who brews in the historic way). But in this case it’s not just about growing the ingredients, but malting them here too!Read More
"With roots in local farming dating over a century, Klann family farms take aim at producing gourmet grain for growing brewing industry."Read More