Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Upcoming Class: Homebrewing Locally

The last hop on the vine is always the king of the bine.I'll be teaching a class about brewing with local ingredients at Mountain View Farm in Purcellville, VA on Sunday August 14th from 2-5 PM .  The class will cover making beer with ingredients you'd be more likely to find at a farmers market than a homebrewing store.  During the session I'll be demonstrating several techniques while brewing a beer that includes locally grown grain, fruit, and hops. The recipe (even the style) are still to be determined because the farm has not told me exactly what ingredients they will provide.

During the lulls in brewing I'll be discussing how to cereal mash, make herbal teas/tinctures, use wet hops, capture wild yeast, and prep fruit.  There should also be plenty of time to answer questions and tailor the topics to what people are most interested in.  I'll be providing a few samples from my cellar to illustrate the results as well.

It is a perfect time for this class since many brewing ingredients are starting to come back into season here in the Mid-Atlantic.  Over the last few weeks I have picked the first of my hops, and bought sour cherries, blackberries, white nectarines, and methley plums to add to various batches.  It would really be great though if I could find a reliable source for local malt (off topic, but has anyone had a chance to try brewing with anything from Valley Malt? I had a solid beer from Wormtown Brewing that used their malt and had an interesting grainy character). 

If you are interested in attending the class, it is $25/person or $40/couple.  To reserve a spot contact Shawna  at [email protected].  If you either aren't in the area or can't make it then I'll be posting a full report on the recipe and how the class went in a couple weeks.  I may be running an intro to homebrewing class at the same farm sometime this fall, but more details on that will have to wait a couple months.

8/4 There are only seven (of twenty) spots left, if you are interested in coming please sign up soon.

8/11 The class is now sold out. I also found out I'll be using some wheat and local peaches, should be a good combo with the homegrown hops.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Here is a post with some information about what was covered in the class, and the recipe for the beer we brewed.


Tim said...

I keep meaning to try out the Valley Malt. Even considering doing their malt CSA.

The Wormtown Mass Whole I had was pretty good. CBC also made a pale ale with Valley Malt. It had a distracting diacetyl character that made it hard to get a good read on it (speculating here -- maybe low nitrogen malt?).

Unknown said...

You could check out this malthouse in NC - http://riverbendmalt.com/ Haven't used their stuff and don't know if they sell smaller quantities but it might be worth checking out.

ChrisF said...

I think the malt is the hardest component to acquire. I recently met one of the guys from a local upstart brewery called Tired Hands, ( good friends cousin), and honestly that's all I wanted to ask him about. Though we never did get to talking about it. I mean, isn't malting barley for beer making a pretty specific process, and one that only benefits beer and whisky makers? Seems like an odd craft to get into on a small scale. I'd love to know more on this topic though.

ChrisF said...

ugh, I meant to say that Tired Hands is saying they are using only local ingredients. I can see that for hops and what have you, but grain too?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Any idea if they do a malt analysis like the bigger maltsters? Not a big deal for specialty malts, but important if you are using their base malt.

Thanks for the link, I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some of their malt when they get up and running. I've actually used barley from the Copper Fox distillery that they talk about, a couple pounds was a great addition to a stout.

I've actually gotten to try a couple of the Tired Hands sour test batches (a tart saison and a sour red), really good stuff. I wonder just how local their local malt is? Being in eastern PA they aren’t that far from Valley Malt in western MA.

The batch I am brewing for the class will be mostly non-local malt, with some local unmalted adjunct. If you can get good local malted barley it wouldn’t be any different to use than the standard stuff, so I don’t think the effort would be worth it in this case.

Robby said...

Can't make that date, but I'd encourage you to continue the trend, because I'd love to come some other time.

Not only will there be great info, I'm sure, but it's a good way for us readers to show our support.

BrianB said...

I did try Dogfish Head's Noble Rot back in February, and they also used malt from Valley Malt. It was interesting... like a wild version of Midas Touch.

Jorge - Brew Beer And Drink It said...

Not in the area, but would love to hear more about how it turned out...

Eddie said...

Could you leave a rundown of what was taught and discussed and demonstrated? Or perhaps record it and allow us a download of the video at a few dollars per? Just an idea for those of us too far across the country to make it. :-)

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I may be able to pick up some Valley malt while I'm up in Massachusetts, looking forward to giving it a shot.

I doubt the class will be recorded, but the recipe post will certainly include some of the same information (in a distilled form). I imagine the class will also end up covering some of the basics of homebrewing, since I’m not sure what level the attendees will be at.