Notch Valley Malt BSA Launch

Going: 0 | Watching: 0 | Invited: 0
The Brewer Supported Agriculture (BSA)
program was created last year by Valley Malt in Hadley, MA as a way to
encourage farmers to grow grain for brewers. Notch pre-pays for the
grain at the beginning of the growing season, which provides an
incentive and guaranteed customer for the farms growing the grain.

This year's barley was grown in Northampton, at Slow Tractor Farm,
harvested on July 22, malted in late August at Valley Malt and brewed
that same month. Some harvest beers do not conform to a two million
barrel brewer's "seasonal" schedule, they conform to nature's seasonal
schedule. So, rather than conjure the gods of the Massachusetts
harvest to quicken the growth of our barley, we changed the name. The
style of beer does not help our schedule at all, the Valley Malt BSA
is a farmhouse ale, brewed with a pain in the ass yeast that has a
long fermentation time, so from mash tun to bottle takes well over a
month. So here we are in October, and the beer is finally ready for

Each year the Valley Malt BSA will be a little different, as we are
relying on one field and the unpredictability of Massachusetts
weather. This beer is not about repeat-ability year in and year out,
it's about taking what nature gives us and making a beer with it. We
hope it will always be a farmhouse ale, but maybe some years the
barley may be better suited for something else, so we are always open
to change.

After some discussions with Andrea at Valley Malt, we decided pale
malt and a bit of crystal malt would work well with this year's grain,
so this year's beer is shaping up a little bit more like a Belgian
Pale Ale, but unlike the big sweet versions that are popular, our
saison yeast dries this beer out. For hops, we'd love to use all
local, but the supply simply is not there yet. So we used all US hops
instead - Chinook for bittering, Centennial and Ahtanum for late
kettle flavor hops, and Centennial for dry-hopping. We hope all these
elements come together for a fun beer. Look for a distinct malt flavor
(of course!), hoppy dry finish, and a complex spicy, fruity nose from
the play between the yeast and hops.

And when you finish drinking the Valley Malt BSA, envision the money
you spent going back to the Massachusetts retailer, wholesaler,
brewer, maltster, and farmer. All of these businesses take that money
and pay their employees, many of whom will go out to their local bar
or retail store and buy beer. It's a cycle of commerce we can all
benefit from.

Submitted by: cloverfoodlab
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