Local influences everything we do. We support local people and local businesses. We source ingredients as locally as possible. That’s in our mission statement right after Serving Chatham County One Pint at a Time.
We buy the vast majority of our grain from Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham, NC. This week, we were lucky enough to spend a day with the team at Epiphany and see their malting process, AND get a tour of one of the farms that grows grain that we turn into beer.
Our day started at Epiphany where we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility where they process 550 TONS of grain every year!! By our calculations, we only use just under 0.7% of their grain. The first step is to steep the grain with water and air for 4-6 hours to start the germination process. This is done in the large conical tanks that look like fermenters.
Next we got to walk in one of the big boxes where the grain is germinated. It’s about the size of a tractor trailer and holds 10 tons of grain. The augers in the first picture spin and move from one end of the box to the other, constantly stirring and moving the grain so it doesn’t clump and weave together. We got to crawl down into one and stand on the grain. The air was cool and smelled delicious…. a bit like bread. It takes several days of sprouting and drying before the grain is ready to roast.
Grain is roasted in a huge customized coffee roaster! This is where the magic happens…. the Epiphany team roasts grains to different levels of roastiness…. from light roasted Foundation to a medium Vienna malt to a a dark Icarus malt! And yes, Sebastian reports that every once in a while, there’s a little fire.
But where does this all REALLY start?
This is Tim Kuhls. He’s not only out standing in his field, he’s outstanding in his field! We are so thankful that he opened his family farm (Perry Farms) to all of the beer nerds for a tour. One day, this entire field of barley will be harvested and malted, and sent to breweries to be brewed into delicious beer!
Perry Farms owns and farms fields in 3 counties; Wake, Granville, and Franklin. The farm is what you call a pocket farm because the fields aren’t contiguous, but spread out in pockets north of Raleigh.
We’re grateful for generational family farms like Perry Farms who continue to grow crops year after year!
The pictures below can’t capture the beauty of these fields of grain. It was calming to stand in the middle of the field and listen to the wind rustling through the stalks of grain. Can you tell the difference between the 2-row barley, the rye, and the wheat? We had a great time, learned a lot, and got to hang with our neighbors from Red Moose Brewing Co….. 2 Chatham County breweries in a picture taken by a brewery (Fullsteam Brewery) owner who lives in Chatham County (thank you, Sean Wilson)
Epiphany Craft Malt. You can’t miss the yellow bag with the distinctive blue stripe! Locally grown. Locally malted. Locally brewed. It doesn’t get much better than this.
And stay tuned. We’re cogitating some really fun brewing ideas!