CALIFORNIA’S FIRST SMALL-BATCH BARLEY MALTING FACILITY TO OPEN SINCE PROHIBITION ADMIRAL MALTINGS’ EXPANSIVE PRODUCTION IS BREAKOUT SUCCESS WITH UC DAVIS LYNN GALLAGHER’S MALTING BARLEY
**For Immediate Release***
CALIFORNIA’S FIRST SMALL-BATCH BARLEY MALTING FACILITY TO OPEN SINCE PROHIBITION
ADMIRAL MALTINGS’ EXPANSIVE PRODUCTION IS BREAKOUT SUCCESS
WITH UC DAVIS LYNN GALLAGHER’S MALTING BARLEY
Lynn Gallagher’s Experimental Barley Malted by Admiral Maltings
“Feldblume” and “Gallagher’s Best”
Receive High Praise Among
California’s Premier Craft Breweries & Distillers
Alameda Point, CA – An overwhelming industry and consumer response is taking shape for California’s first small-batch barley floor-malting facility to open since Prohibition. Admiral Maltings now ships its premium malt with 100% sustainably grown barley procured from California family farms to more than 75 of Northern California’s finest breweries and distillers. At the height of craft beer and spirits drinkers’ – and brewers and distillers alike – desire for deeper connections to the source of fundamental materials in their beverages, the local maltsters at Admiral Maltings and regional farmers are thrilled to have pioneering barley breeder Dr. Lynn Gallagher (UC Davis) as a pivotal member of the artisanal malt movement.
Through a test agreement between Admiral Maltings and Dr. Lynn Gallagher at UC Davis as well as Frank Endres (President, the Northern California Barley Growers Association; Organizer, NFO), local farmers were initially contracted to grow malting quality barley for Admiral Maltings. Gallagher provided NFO growers contracted with Admiral Maltings with sufficient seed from his UC Davis plots (approximately 2,500 lb, in 2015) of his experimental barley variety Butta12 for farmer Bob Shaupp (Woodland, CA) to provide grain for a malting test at plant-scale. Shaupp ultimately planted and harvested premium barley on a commercial scale in 2016-2017. Two of the most touted malts made from Lynn Gallagher’s experimental barley Butta12 are Feldblume and Gallagher’s Best. For comparison, two top Canadian malting barleys ‘AC Metcalfe’ and ‘CDC Copeland’ were grown in California and malted by Admiral Maltings.
On February 10 the newly opened onsite pub The Rake at Admiral Maltings held an open house where craft beer aficionados, while overlooking malt production, could taste 20+ beers on tap that California breweries have brewed with Admiral malts. The expansive beer list and rustic pub food menu have quickly established The Rake as a top-tier Northern California destination for singular craft beers and artisanal foods.
Gallagher’s barley malted by Admiral Maltings is uniformly being hailed for its freshly kilned aroma and depth of taste that the base malt contributes to the beers. More than 100 people enjoyed the tastings and tour of the malting plant. Many brewers and tasters were very curious about how a new malting barley was developed for California growers, maltsters, and brewers. Dr. Gallagher was on hand and answered their questions. His story begins some 20 years ago when it became clear that craft brewers and local companies had a desire for locally produced malt in order to produce a truly California beer. He related that a unique breeding effort was needed and he hybridized an experimental malting barley from Oregon State University with a barley introduced from the international research center based in Mexico. Through almost a decade of selection among hundreds of lines for barley progeny with disease resistance and productivity for dryland production in California, he finally had good two-rowed barleys that were subjected to malting quality evaluations at the USDA Malting Laboratory at Madison, Wisconsin. This resulted in identification of the high quality experimental Butta12 line. He provided seed to Anheuser-Busch for evaluation in Idaho. They grew Butta12 in southern Idaho and produced malt for comparison with their standard ‘Merit’ in 2008. Butta12 outperformed Merit by a wide margin. The USDA and Anheuser-Busch malting tests were done at the micro-malting level leaving a plant-scale test still to be done.
Large-scale plant malting must be done followed by a robust brewing evaluation. Lynn waited nearly 10 years for the opportunity to see such large-scale activity. Fortunately Admiral Maltings was conceived and opened for operations in 2017. Evaluations have been completed on a scale that has generated confidence among barley growers, maltsters, and brewers. Dr. Gallagher is understandably proud to have had a vital role in establishing a rising industry in California. His work was supported financially by California farmers (NFO), the California Crop Improvement Association, the USDA, the international research center ICARDA, and the American Malting Barley Association.
Since the opening of Admiral Maltings on August 25, 2017, an array of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed breweries have released craft beers brewed with Admiral’s malt, including Russian River, Fieldwork, Magnolia, ThirstyBear, Alvarado Street, Speakeasy, Almanac, Faction, Sierra Nevada, Pizza Port, Armistice and others. Notable distillers purchasing the grain include St. George Spirits, Sutherland, Do Good Distillery, Venus Spirits, Wright and Brown, and others. Eight out of the 10 signature SF Beer Week 2018 collaboration beers were brewed with Admiral malts, with many brewed with Gallagher’s Best and Feldblume. Admiral malts are produced from grain of one farmer, one field at a time as they focus on the specific terroir of the region. Consistency in the modification of the malt leads to better efficiency and less waste. Butta12 barley which was created by Lynn Gallagher at UC Davis and malted by Admiral Maltings provides proof of concept that malting barley may be successfully grown in California, malted at plant scale, and satisfy both the local craft brewing industry and the consumers.
Ron Silberstein, co-founder of Admiral Maltings notes, “Brewers, distillers and consumers are all excited about and feel privileged to have someone like Lynn Gallagher at UC Davis. He has a dedicated track record of breeding disease-resistant barley for our state. Our hope is that UC Davis will become a steward of Butta12 so that it is available to all farmers, brewers, distillers and maltsters as a California variety.”
Admiral Maltings co-founders Ron Silberstein (Owner, ThirstyBear Organic Brewery), Dave McLean (Founding Brewmaster, Magnolia Brewing Company), and Curtis Davenport (Head Maltster) are available for interviews.
About Admiral Maltings
Admiral Maltings produces premium, freshly kilned malt using traditional floor-malting methods and sustainably grown, locally sourced grain. With our focus on process, terroir and grain variety, Admiral Maltings seeks to meet the changing demands of a growing craft beer and spirits industry by offering creativity, choice and innovation to craft brewers and distillers. Admiral Maltings fosters a robust connection between craft brewers and distillers and their local agricultural community.