A seminar and farm walk organised by Crisp Malting Group and NIAB TAG Morley Centre, aimed to ensure that the nation’s beer will benefit from the very best malting barley.
More than 120 cereal farmers gathered in Norfolk (part of the UK’s best barley growing region) to hear the latest news on the beer market, malting barley varieties and the changing requirements of brewers.
Dr David Griggs, project director at Crisp said: “The beer brewed in this country is now higher quality than ever. Brewers, and craft brewers in particular, are really driving the heightened interest in ingredients – traceability, quality and variety – and they’re very exacting about the malt they’re prepared to buy. This in turn means that maltsters are always scrupulous about the barley quality required from cereal growers.
“Maltsters need each delivery from farms to be made up of a single variety of barley with grains all of an optimum size and quality. They mustn’t contain significant levels of pre-germinated, split or skinned grains – because that affects the quality of the malt and its performance in the brewing process.
“Quality control is key to each part of the supply chain. That’s why our seminar discussed disease resistance, disease-control – and varietal susceptibilities and differences – at some length. Top quality barley means top quality malt which in turn means top quality beer. That is something we can all raise a glass to!”
Farmers who attended are all part of the ABC Growers’ Group, formed seven years’ ago by Crisp to improve local sourcing.
Bob King, commercial director of Crisp, said: “Our aim is to help growers with their decisions on barley varieties. ‘Flagon’ and ‘Venture’ will make up the majority of our winter barley buying requirements with ‘Concerto’ and ‘Odyssey’ heading up the Spring barley varieties most in demand. Venture and Odyssey have both recently been awarded full approval by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. In addition to these mainstream varieties, the group will continue to contract grow Maris Otter, Husky (proanthacyanadin–free) and other niche crops which we know craft brewers like to use.
“We produce more than 50 different types of malt, including organic, for customers from award-winning micros and regionals to international brewers. The recent increase in craft brewing is having a marked effect on nitrogen specifications. We need to make sure that farmers are fully versed on how that affects them.”
Further info: Frances Brace
31% of malt produced in this country is supplied to brewers.