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Schwarz a Speaker at Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend in Massachusetts

Dr. Paul Schwarz, NDSU professor of Plant Sciences, was a featured speaker at the second annual Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend held on the campus of Amherst College, Amherst, MA, and sponsored by Valley Malt of Hadley, MA. The event was attended by more than 60 people interested in locally grown hops and grains, and malting and brewing.

Dr. Paul Schwarz, NDSU professor of Plant Sciences, was a featured speaker at the second annual Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend (FBWW) sponsored by Valley Malt of Hadley, MA, and held on the campus of Amherst College, January 18-19. Subtitled Getting Wild and Making Local Beer, the event was attended by more than 60 people interested in locally grown hops and grains, and malting and brewing.

Presentations covered the basics of malting and brewing, grain farming, growing and selecting hops for brewing and other topics such as malting and brewing with “less than perfect” barley and malts, production of traditional and novel (such as sour) beers, utilizing wild yeasts and understanding how to identify and correct off-flavors in beer.

Schwarz presented two lectures titled Modification: What happens to grain when it is malted and Grain and Malt Analysis: Understanding why and how we test, and interpreting results. A YouTube recording of Schwarz’s presentation can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc5uWW2wfkU

Other presenters were Nick Bokulich, Brewing Scientist from the University of California, Davis; Chris Jarvis Brewing Professor, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA; Steve Miller, Extension Hops Specialist, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Thor Oechsner, Organic Grain Farmer, Ithaca, NY; Bill Vachon, Maltarie Frontenac Thetford Mines, Quebec, CA and Bill Verbeten, Dairy and Livestock Field Crop Specialist, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. About a dozen New England brewers also participated in panel discussions on brewing with local ingredients. Beer tastings and beer/dinner pairings were offered as well as tours of the Valley Malt facilities.

Andrea Stanley, Owner/Maltster of Valley Malt says that they began planning the FBWW to “bring together people that are interested in beer and locally grown hops and grains.” She praised Schwarz for providing very informative presentations and for being “very approachable for attendees coming from a wide range of experience.”  She said that having Schwarz in attendance at the FBWW really helped to “bring the caliber of speakers to a very high level, and we hope to have him back again next year.” Planning for the 2015 weekend is underway.

Stanley and her husband Christian began growing barley and malting on a small scale in 2010 and have grown to produce 4 tons of locally grown barley malt weekly. They have expanded their farm from 25 to 70 acres, and grow legumes, vegetables and corn in addition to small grains used for their malting operations. They also work in partnership with local organic grain growers and craft brewers.

Education has played an important role in developing their business. In 2010 Andrea attended the biennial Barley Malt Quality Evaluation Course offered at the Northern Crops Institute on NDSU’s campus and taught by Schwarz, which she says was a “phenomenal experience”.

For information on the Barley Malt Quality Evaluation Course, check out the Northern Crop Institute Short Course listing at http://www.northern-crops.com/education/education.htm

For more information on Valley Malt and the 2015 Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend, go to http://valleymalt.com/

Sources: Paul Schwarz (Paul.Schwarz@ndsu.edu) and Andrea Stanley (andrea@valeymalt.com)
Author: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384, karen.hertsgaard@ndsu.edu
Editor: Kamie Beeson,  701-231-7123, kamie.a.beeson@ndsu.edu

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