Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pilot Malt House in Zeeland to produce artisan malts for area brewers

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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Pilot Malt House in Zeeland to produce artisan malts for area brewers

Brewing 101 will teach you the 4 basic ingredients of beer: barley, water, hops, and yeast. Being a Great Lakes State, one large reason for the great success of Michigan breweries is certainly a tremendous abundance of one of the key brewing ingredients: water. In recent years Michigan-grown hops have become quite a commodity as well, with many local breweries seeking out the freshest and best ingredients wherever they can be found. One essential ingredient in Michigan that is in the greatest demand: malt. Malt is the scientific process of altering grains, most often barley, to develop the enzymes that are required to turn starch into sugar. This process ultimately creates the alcohol found in craft beer and spirits.
Erik May originally conceived the idea of a small craft malt house over some homebrews with friend Paul Schelhaas last summer. In the pre-prohibition days, malt houses were as common as breweries. In recent decades, breweries have made a substantial comeback whereas malt houses have not. By processing the locally grown grains, a malt house will help encourage and transition yet another key ingredient of the brewing process back to local supplies and increase demand. The goal of Erik and Paul’s Zeeland-based Pilot Malt House is to source all malts locally within the next 2 years; a lofty but attainable goal. Additionally, aligning with local hop growers will give Michigan breweries no excuse not to be able to utilize 100% Michigan ingredients in their beers provided the same level of quality is achieved. Quality and consistency are everything to breweries and Michigan malt and hops producers need to provide a high-quality, consistent product.

While commercial breweries will certainly provide a significant customer base for the new malt house, a growing number of Michigan distilleries as well as the large homebrew community will also appreciate having a local and high quality source. The malt house will eventually feature an extensive line of products including 2-Row, 6-Row, Pale, Pilsen, Munich, Smoked, Caramel, Chocolate, Black, Roasted, Rye, Wheat, and Organic options. More information can be found on the Pilot Malt House Facebook page and website at the links provided below, including contact information if interested in a product catalog.

Pilot Malt House on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/PilotMaltHouse

Pilot Malt House website:

http://www.pilotmalthouse.com

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.