Valley Malt: Making Local Beer Possible
When Valley Malt owners Christian and Andrea Stanley decided that they wanted to make truly local beer, they found the closest malthouse … in Wisconsin.
To their surprise and chagrin, they discovered that most malts going into craft beers in New England were being shipped around the country or across the world; consequentially, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring a malthouse to New England.
With the support of local farmers and brewers, Valley Malt was created in 2010, growing 25 acres of spring barley. Later on in the year, Valley Malt started malting their first commercial sized batches of malt. They quickly began a 1 ton malting system and soon realized this was not going to be enough. By only 2012, demand encouraged them to produce up to 4 tons per week. Valley Malt offers unique malts including heirloom, gluten free, smoked with native woods, or roasted fresh.
Starting a malthouse to process locally grown grains allow them to connect with local family farms with craft brewers and distillers, which gives everyone a chance to support a strong, sustainable, local economy.
Valley Malt’s also prides itself in its Brewers Supporting Agriculture (BSA) project; it’s similar to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and is a way to directly link a brewer to a farmer and field. Notch Brewing created the Valley Malt BSA in 2012. This will be a yearly farmhouse ale made from barley grown at Slow Tractor Farm and malted at Valley Malt. They will plan on the Valley Malt BSA being a little different each year depending on the field and the weather. Other craft brewers that are members of the BSA include Ipswich Ale, Cambridge Brewing Company, Wormtown Brewery, and more across New England!
In addition to malting, another passion is farming. In 2012, Valley Malt started farming 35 acres at the Northhampton Community Farm. The goal is to sell soybeans and corn to dairy and animal farmers as animal feed, as there are currently no local sources of organic animal feed. The type of corn can also be sold to distilleries for bourbon, so the malting can continue!
Valley Malt will be at the Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest this weekend! Notch Brewing will be there too so we can get the latest news about this years BSA Harvest Ale. You will be able to drink craft beers and taste the malts, including their famed chocolate malt! They will also be bringing barley and wheat plants which are currently growing in Hadley and Northhampton.