Riverbend Malt House (L) and Bryan Simpson (New Belgium) and Brian Simpson (Riverbend) hang out
We recently had a chance to visit Riverbend Malt House in Asheville and hang out with Brian and Craig – awesome good times! When we returned to Fort Collins, we reached out to Matty Smooth who develops beers for our Hop Kitchen series to learn more about our pending collaboration with Riverbend. Here’s how it all came together in Matty’s words:
So, I heard of these guys during Asheville Beer Week last year. We set up a visit and were pretty blown away by their “lil” operation. They were doing batches of 1000 lbs at a time, floor malting (a practice nearly lost to antiquity), and doing everything by hand. The two of them were running a 24/7 operation. We were thrilled when they let us shovel up a batch of barley malt and transfer it to the kiln.
We left totally inspired. 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- that shit was awesome.
It was good enough to want to use that rye again, it has the perfect softly spicy character we want for a Hop Kitchen release, so… we’ll be using Riverbend rye in our 2014 Hop Kitchen offering, Rye IPA, set for release in spring of 2014.
"Having been grown by farmers in North Carolina for over 200 hundred years and hand crafted utilizing traditional floor malting techniques, the Carolina Rye malt embodies the terroir of the southeast,” said Riverbend Founder and Maltster Brian Simpson. “Riverbend Malt House is excited that New Belgium will bring this taste of the South to so many new palates."
We’re super excited to share this beer this spring and celebrate Riverbend Malt’s superfine grain handling skills!