05 October 2016
From Jester King:
Monday was a very special day! We brewed our first beer with 100% Texas grown malted barley from Blacklands Malt in Leander, Texas! The day was nearly four years in the making. Back in 2012, Blacklands began its mission to revitalize native malted barley in Texas, and yesterday, that mission saw a major milestone with the brewing of the first 100% Texas malted barley beer in modern history!
The first Texas malted barley came from Brownfield, Texas, located not far from Lubbock. It’s a two row, winter barley called “Endeavor” that was planted in 2015 and harvested in 2016. Blacklands used the Endeavor barley from Brownfield to make a 20 SRM Munich malt. They chose to make a Munich malt from the barley given its relatively high protein content. The high protein makes the malt conducive to more color and flavor development. The name of the first Texas malted barley in modern history is “Brown Field 20”.
Blacklands Malt’s road to this milestone has been fraught with setbacks and challenges. Events like drought, heavy rains, and hail have led to crop failures throughout the last several years. Brandon Ade, founder of Blacklands Malt, has had to be very patient and persistent along the way. “It has been an ongoing consistent battle against the random, uncontrollable elements of the universe”, says Brandon. But finally, after nearly four years, the first Texas malted barley is here, and we’re very grateful and appreciative of Brandon’s remarkable drive and determination to make this day happen.
Why is this important? We think it’s important for several reasons. Perhaps most importantly in our opinion, it falls in line with a beer making philosophy of working with what nature gives you, so as to make beer that’s unique to a time and place. Science, technology, and transportation have made it possible to access high quality raw ingredients from around the world at practically anytime. It’s now possible to bypass the limitations of time and place when it comes to making beer, which has many positive attributes.
But what we find worthwhile and meaningful is to strike a partnership with our natural surroundings and allow them to dictate to us the type of beer we make. For example, Brandon at Blacklands Malt didn’t set out to make the first Texas malted barley a 20 SRM Munich malt. Nature dictated to him what the first Texas malted barley would be, and we followed suit by making a beer with a malt character inextricably linked to a time and place. This to us is very exciting! In a world that’s dominated by commoditization and homogeneity at the macro-level, poking small holes in this system is something we consider to be a worthwhile endeavor.
The first 100% Texas malted barley beer in modern history was brewed at Jester King on October 3rd, 2016. We mashed with raw well water and a grist of 100% Brown Field 20 malt. We boiled and hopped the wort with a relatively small amount of hops, so as not to overwhelm the malt character. The beer is presently fermenting in stainless steel with our mixed culture of brewers yeast, native yeast, and native bacteria. We don’t plan on extended fermentation and maturation time for this beer. We plan on releasing it while it’s still relatively “clean”, before the yeast and bacteria fundamentally transform it over time.
We want to thank Brandon Ade of Blacklands Malt very, very much for all his hard work and persistence. This accomplishment of his has been a true labor of love, and he has now made a major leap forward toward revitalizing a dormant industry in Texas. We consider Brandon to be a true pioneer, and we’re very grateful he’s allowed us to work with him along the way.