The hopped up beer revolution is something we have all been witness to. Don’t get me wrong I love a good IPA here and there but there is way more to beer then just the glorified hops used to bitter up a brew. It seems cascade hops are all over the place but where’s the focus on the equally (and maybe more) important ingredient…the malts. The malts give beer the sugars that are fermented to create the alcohol. They also contribute heavily to the color, flavor and mouth feel. That’s where the specialists at Troubadour Malting comes into play.
The craft beverage market is booming. There is nothing like drinking a local beer at a local brewery but are the ingredients in the beer local? The conversation is changing and more customers are asking where the bones of the beer come from. From the produce to the water to the malts they can all come from closer than you may think. Much like coffee and the question of where beans come from the conversation is now including beer.
Chris Schooley and Steve Clark started Troubadour Maltings in 2014. Chris had a background in coffee roasting, ted talks and community development that led to the world of malting. Steve has a background in home brewing and chemistry and when approached with the question of starting a malting business Steve already had a plan formulating. They met at their kids play date and the local beer world would never be the same.
The name Troubadour comes from the idea of the traveling storyteller telling the malt story on his travels and providing the fabric for wonder and excitement. The names of their malts tell a similar story. Names like Moonlight Serenade, Blue Ballad and Encore give you thoughts of bubbly beer dancing across your tongue. The freedom of experimenting with different malts and flavors is not something some of the big box places can swing. They are taking malts and doing some really exciting and groundbreaking things. For instance they were able to develop malt specifically for a beer brewed at Gilded Goat here in town.
They are the ultimate middleman between local growers and local brewers making the ultimate local product. They are a business that supports other businesses. The next step is getting more into the nuance, variety and freshness involved in the malts. They are talking with Colorado State University about the importance of freshness in the malts ability to provide taste.
Being aware of where the ingredients in your local beer or spirit come from isn’t always as easy as just asking your local beer slinger. Using the local ingredients from our surrounding farms is an important thing to strive for and something hopefully we will see more of in the future. Next time you take that wonderful sudsy sip think about where the nuts and bolts came from. It may give you a whole new perspective.
Photo from @troubadourmaltings