Admiral Maltings operates with a pure love of malts, the soul of beer. In its first 18 months of production, Admiral Maltings has resurrected the age-old art of traditional floor malting and has catapulted premium craft malt to the forefront of California’s modern era of brewing and distilling. Admiral has changed the game for West Coast brewers and distillers who now have access to freshly-kilned malt sourced from sustainable barley from the Sacramento Valley. With 750 tons of malt kilned since August 2017, an avalanche of 400 unique, new beers have been brewed with Admiral’s top-shelf malt varieties by 165 of the foremost California breweries. A dozen premier regional distillers are using Admiral malts for a new wave of California single malt whiskies.
“The response has been absolutely incredible,” says Ron Silberstein, co-founder of Admiral Maltings. “Not only are we experiencing the rebirth of an industry with 1,000 acres of barley production currently growing 90 miles north in the Sacramento Valley. We are seeing a shift in brewers and distillers rediscovering the importance of malt. There’s definitely a pivot towards artisanal malt, which is really exceeding all of our expectations. We get to do what we love, procure amazing malt for all our favorite brewers and distillers. It’s a dream come true.”
California’s malt craze is proliferating into a national phenomenon with iconic beer brands across the country sourcing small-batch malts within their own local regions. Allagash Brewing Company brews with malts from Maine Malt House and Blue Ox Malthouse. Dale’s Pale Ale’s Texas brewery is sourcing from Blacklands Malt.
For the first time in over 35 years, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Anchor Brewing are utilizing local artisanal malts in select beers. Admiral Maltings supplied malt for Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Oktoberfest — Weihenstephan Collaboration 2018, Anchor Brewing’s Baykeeper IPA (January 2019, charity beer for non-profit San Francisco Baykeeper), and Lagunitas Brewing’s The Spawn of Kashmir, Wet Hopped Fusion 26, and Sacramento Beer Week Fusion. California’s top independent breweries (Modern Times, Fieldwork, Drake’s, Alvarado Street, HenHouse, Seismic, etc.) are leading the charge by releasing an array of highly anticipated new beers featuring Admiral malts, most of which debut on tap at Admiral’s onsite pub, The Rake.
Admiral’s revival of the greater appreciation for artisanal malt’s character with its incomparable flavor and aroma strengthens California farmers’ ties with the craft brewing/distilling communities. Farmers have grown upwards of 800 tons of barley for Admiral’s dozen varieties: Admiral Pils, Feldblume, Maiden Voyage, Gallaghers Best, Pacific Victor, Red Seven, Kilnsmith I, Kilnsmith II, Kilnsmith III, Admiral Hearth, and Yolo Gold malted wheat. To firsthand witness Admiral’s malting process is a picture of beauty. The story is best told overlooking the floor malting in action while enjoying a beer brewed with Admiral malts at The Rake.
Unlike any other pub in the world with its intimate view of the germination floor, Admiral offers a dynamic beer list (20 taps) at The Rake that continually showcases the ingenuity with which their brewery customers deploy the company’s malt. Since opening in January 2018, The Rake has premiered nearly 300 specialty beers brewed with Admiral malts making The Rake a mecca for beer geeks and general beer lovers alike. San Francisco Chronicle put The Rake on its short list of “The Bay Area’s Best New Places to Drink” in 2018. With its cured meats, cheeses, pates, hot sandwiches, snacks & bites, and soups & salads, The Rake is a must-visit destination for locals and out-of-town visitors (menu: therake.admiralmaltings.com).
Reaching beyond The Rake to exclusively feature beers brewed with their malt are Admiral Showcases presented at bars up and down the West Coast. Admiral Showcases exhibit the seemingly endless options for brewers to employ Admiral malts in their brewing practices. For SF Beer Week 2019, Admiral Showcases will be hosted across the Bay Area, including at The Cooler (Feb. 4: San Leandro, California), The Alembic (Feb. 5: San Francisco, California), three bars along Ocean Avenue in San Francisco (Ocean Ale House, The Ave Bar, Randy’s Place: Feb. 9-10), and additional locations to be announced.
All five SF Beer Week 2019 collaboration beers will be brewed with Admiral malts, which have been donated to the Bay Area Brewers Guild. Host breweries will tap their regional collaboration beers at the SFBW “Opening Gala” at Pier 35 (Feb. 1: San Francisco, California), and then will be available at select venues across the greater Bay Area. The five host breweries include Fort Point (San Francisco), 21st Amendment (East Bay), Bear Republic (North Bay), Strike (Silicon Valley), and Half Moon Bay (Coastal). All five collaboration beers will be available at The Rake during SF Beer Week 2019.
Camaraderie is at the heart of the brewing community, a will to work alongside one another to advance independent practices to their greatest potential. When the tragic Camp Fire caused 86 civilian fatalities and displaced thousands of people, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada announced the Resilience IPA benefit project, a fundraising effort with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the Camp Fire Relief Fund. Admiral Maltings has donated 5,500 pounds of malt to Almanac, Modern Times, Standard Deviant, Ocean View, Sacrilege and Secret Trail for the brewing of their Resilience IPAs. Across the country, 1,400 breweries have banded together to raise funds for Camp Fire relief.
Admiral Maltings is hard at work trendsetting the local malt movement throughout California with their eye on the prize to encourage craft brewers/distillers in all corners of the country to embrace locally sourced, high quality and eco-friendly ingredients.