New Belgium Begins National Release Of RyePA In Asheville
Asheville, NC – Asheville beer drinkers will get first crack at New Belgium Brewing’s RyePA, brewed with Carolina Rye™ from Asheville’s own Riverbend Malt House, when the beer launches locally here in late-February. RyePA, a Hop Kitchen offering from New Belgium, uses rye grown in North Carolina and floor malted by Riverbend Malt House. A handful of other regional accounts will tap the RyePA through the end of the month. This Hop Kitchen limited release will be available nationally on draft and in 22-oz bottles by early March.
Collaboration with Asheville’s Riverbend Malt House, RyePA slated for national distribution
Taste the Beer: A limited quantity of RyePA will be available at Asheville on Bike’s Bike Love, a bicycle advocacy event and fundraiser, at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville, NC, on Saturday, February 22. http://ashevilleonbikes.com/
Meet the Brewer/Maltster: Matty Gilliland, Brewing Process Analyst, New Belgium Brewing and Riverbend Malt House Maltsters– 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 20, 2014 upstairs at Barley’s Tap Room & Pizzeria in downtown Asheville, NC.
“Tapping this collaborative ale in our new home with new friends is a great way to recognize the quality and depth of the Asheville brewing community,” said New Belgium Brewer, Matty Gilliland. “We were really inspired by the operation out at Riverbend.”
New Belgium brewers and Riverbend co-founders first met at Asheville Beer Week in 2012 and developed a beer for Asheville Beer Week 2013 – a Rye Saison using Riverbend’s Carolina Rye™ malt. Brewers were so pleased with the beer, they decided to use the Carolina Rye™ in RyePA which is part of New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen series. Hop Kitchen beers are hoppier experimental offerings that rotate quarterly and are distributed throughout New Belgium’s 37 states of distribution.
“Having been grown by farmers in North Carolina for more than 200 years and hand-crafted utilizing traditional floor malting techniques, the Carolina Rye™ malt embodies the terroir of the southeast,” said Riverbend co-founder Brian Simpson. “Riverbend Malt House is excited that New Belgium will bring this taste of the South to so many new palates.”
RyePA, made with 40% rye malt, is the first time that a beer made with North Carolina craft malt will be given this wide of a distribution footprint. This strain of rye has grown in the state since the Civil War.
This beer is brimming with big hop flavors. Galaxy, Cascade, Simcoe and Mosaic hops round out the hop profile. Big, juicy, fruity hop flavors are complemented by a spicy rye finish.
MEET THE BREWER: Matty Gilliland (aka Matty Smooth) – Brewing Process Analyst, New Belgium Brewing
What’s your role with New Belgium?
I’ve been here 17 years and change. I work in the brewing department as a process analyst – working on brewing processes and making them better and more efficient and sometimes creating new brewing processes. Prior to joining New Belgium, I was at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, CO as a brewer and at Boulder Beer Company before that…before that I wasn’t 21, so I… wasn’t drinking beer.
How was working with Riverbend?
The quality of their craft and their unbelievable work ethic left an indelible impression on us. For this year’s AVL Beer Week I brewed up a special beer in the pilot brewery, a hoppy rye saison using their rye malt, exclusively for beer week events in Asheville. We debuted it at a beer dinner at Wicked Weed that was a sort of a “welcome to the neighborhood” event with New Belgium, Sierra, and Oskar Blues. This beer was totally the hit of the evening- we had to go back for more!
What are your favorite parts about Asheville?
Just being in the Southeast is cool. It’s such a food town – all good, all independent restaurants. Eating my way through town is a lot of fun. The architecture— the mix of old and new, the mountains.
I can be a bit of a mountain snob. I grew up outside of Silverthorne, CO; my house was at about 9,700 feet. Two 14’ers [that’s 14,000 foot peaks, for those not familiar] were framed by my parents’ bedroom window. I did a lot of hiking and biking around that area. To go into town was no big deal, but the ride home was 4 miles and about a 1,000 foot climb. I always used to pooh-pooh other mountainous parts of the US – not anymore. The mountains around Asheville may not be as tall, but they’re as beautiful and rugged as any I’ve ever seen. And: biking around Asheville is no joke.”
The Asheville brewery community is ahead of the game. They’re not concerned about volume, they’re concerned about making really good beer.
What breweries are “can’t miss” when you visit?
There are so many amazing offerings in this town, it’s hard to single any one out. That said, The Wedge is awesome and Wicked Weed really upped the beer game for everyone when they came on board.
MEET THE MALTSTERS: Brent Manning and Brian Simpson (interviewed) – Owners and Maltsters, Riverbend Malt House
How long have you lived in Asheville and when and how did you start Riverbend Malt House?
Brent and I moved our families to Asheville in 2009. Riverbend Malt House emerged from a conversation with a colleague -we were discussing the craft beer “movement” and Asheville’s relevance to that scene. After some research on barley varieties we decided to try some small-scale malting in my basement. These trials empowered us to move forward with developing a business plan and we began seeking investment opportunities in late 2010. In 2011, we received funding and attended a class at the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre and produced our first successful batch shortly thereafter.
Tell us about the art of floor malting?
Floor malting is a traditional way to malt the grain that dates back to the late 1700’s. Each batch it germinated on a large floor and turned by hand with a heavy rake to allow the heat of respiration to escape while incorporating fresh air into the grain bed. By contrast, large-scale operations use machines to accomplish this task. The uniqueness of the flavor profile produced using this method is a result of the subtle adjustments made throughout each batch as we monitor germination rates and moisture levels. These adjustments combined with different kilning techniques allow us to create a variety of different flavors for brewers to explore.
Where are your sourcing your grains? Tell us about the farmer that grows your rye.
A majority of raw materials are sourced from NC farmers. We have a few farmers in upstate SC and Virginia that we work with as well. Billy Carter, of Carter Farms located in Eagles Springs, NC, grew the Wrens Abruzzi rye that we used for the RyePA project. Mr. Carter is an experienced small grain grower that manages both conventional and organic acreage within his operation. In addition to his farming duties he has also served on numerous non-profit boards such as Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. In addition to his acreage of rye, Mr. Carter is also experimenting with growing some 2-row barley that will be harvested later this year and malted by Riverbend. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with him in the years ahead!
How has it been working with New Belgium?
Our experience with New Belgium has been stellar. Everyone with them has been very genuine and focused on producing a great craft beer. They also share our commitment to sustainability, community and family. We are really excited to have them here in Asheville as they will serve as a prime example of what a good corporate citizen can do for our local economy.
Best thing about Asheville?
This is a DIY town and it embraces creativity. These attributes make it a perfect fit for craft beer. In addition to amazing food, beer, and art it is a mecca for outdoor experiences in some of the oldest and most biologically diverse mountains on the planet.
ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE | Malt with a Mission
Founded in 2010, Riverbend Malt House is the only production scale malting facility in the southeast United States. Riverbend’s mission is to provide area craft brewers and distillers with locally farmed, artisan malts, helping to reduce the industry’s impact on the planet. As a founding member of the North American Craft Maltsters Guild, Riverbend Malt House is a leading force in the nation’s micro-malt movement. Learn more at www.RiverbendMalt.com – facebook
ABOUT NEW BELGIUM BREWING
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews eight year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Blue Paddle Pilsener, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel. www.NewBelgium.com/AshevilleBrewery.