Making a Truly Local Beer
I want to start building the foundation for a truly local beer-brewing infrastructure in Georgia. The craft beer market is exploding. Existing Georgia breweries are growing and new local breweries continue to open. These breweries are producing beer locally but the majority of their ingredients (besides water) are being imported into the state.
While hop varieties exist that are more adapted to our climate, barley just isn’t a strong crop here. In a search for grains that would produce a tasty brew and grow well in our climate I turned to traditional beer production in parts of Africa. I identified finger millet (Eleusine coracana) and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) as great candidates. Georgia is already a large producer of pearl millet and sorghum (sweet and grain) so it wouldn’t be a huge departure from the norm. Colorado also just started a similar initiative in January, providing malted millet to local brewers to use in beer production.
The program I’m envisioning would involve working with local farmers on pilot growing programs, creating a pilot malting/kilning process, and testing out new brewing recipes. Eventually production would increase, a processing and malting/kilning facility would be created, local brewers would buy malt, and I’d work with them on recipe development and market creation. Ideally I would like this to be organic production inter-planted with other crops and beneficial plants.
In case you were wondering, there is a long list of things that make me uniquely qualified for this program. I’d be happy to share this with you but it just sounds a little boastful in a blog post.
What do you think? Am I crazy or am I really on to something here?