As New Belgium Brewing Co. continues to build its new brewery in Asheville, N.C., the company is already taking some of the local N.C. flavor and infusing its latest creation — Rye IPA — with rye grown in the state and malted by Riverbend Malt House in Asheville. This is the first time that a beer made with North Carolina craft malt will be given this degree of national distribution. The forthcoming collaboration will feature a variety of rye that’s been grown in North Carolina since the Civil War.
“Having been grown by farmers in North Carolina for more than 200 hundred years and hand crafted utilizing traditional floor malting techniques, the Carolina Rye malt embodies the terroir of the southeast,” said Riverbend co-founder Brian Simpson. “Riverbend Malt House is excited that New Belgium will bring this taste of the South to so many new palates.”
New Belgium and Riverbend began working together in May, with the development of a special beer exclusively for Asheville Beer Week – a Rye Saison using Riverbend’s Carolina Rye malt. Brewers were so pleased with the beer that they decided to use the Carolina Rye in their series of quarterly releases called Hop Kitchen.
“I heard of these guys when a few of us came down during Asheville Beer Week last year,” said New Belgium Brewer Matty Gilliland. “We set up a visit to their facility and were pretty blown away by the operation. They were doing 1,000 lb. batches by hand. The quality of their craft and their unbelievable work ethic left an indelible impression on us.”
Riverbend’s mission is to provide area craft brewers and distillers with locally farmed, artisan malts, helping to reduce the industry’s impact on the planet. As a founding member of the North American Craft Maltsters Guild, Riverbend Malt House is a leading force in the nation’s micro-malt movement.
Since announcing plans to open a second brewery in Asheville, New Belgium has been an active participant in their new community, investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and partnering with more than 10 regional non-profits, and colleagues in the brewing industry. This partnership with Riverbend is just one example.
The Hop Kitchen Rye IPA will be released to select markets in March 2014.