A year ago,  Chris Cates of Little Animals Brewing visited Belgium and came back inspired. After visiting through some of the worlds best breweries, drinking classic and carefully crafted saison, he wanted to make a beer that not only paid homage to those beers but to also impart a sense of place from Eastern Tennessee. 

After trying a few recipes that didn’t yield the results he wanted, Cates reached out to Brent Manning of Riverbend Malt House in neighboring North Carolina to help him create a pilsner malt that would mimic those from Belgium. 

The idea, he said was to a local malt “tailored for diastatic and mixed fermentations, with higher protein and beta-glucans and built in minerality and buffering capacity.”

Riverbend achieved this by creating a water profile that was rich in minerals that was used during the malting process.  Manning of Riverbend says the results yielded a malt that resists ph drop slightly better than usual, and allows for additional laxtic acid and potential ester precursors. 

The malt has been put through the paces and Cates, as well as Andrew Zinn of Leveller Brewing, have brewed several different beers with the specialty grain, all imbued with a sense of place.

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