Admiral Maltings Produces Malt for California Brewers

ALAMEDA POINT, Calif. — California’s first modern floor-malting facility, Admiral Maltings harkens back to pre-Prohibition days when malt houses sourced local barley for regional breweries. With their traditional, yet state of the art facility now in production, Admiral produces premium malt with 100% sustainably grown barley procured from California family farms. Three batches resulting in 27 tons of fresh malt is shipping to Northern California’s finest brewers who will brew more than 500 barrels from Admiral malt.

The first batches of Admiral malts will find their way into single malt brews, SMASH beers (single malt and single hop), blonde ales, pale ales, saisons, collaborations between breweries, and more. The renowned list of Bay Area breweries brewing specialty beers with Admiral includes Russian River Brewing, Cellarmaker Brewing, Faction Brewing, Anchor Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Drake’s Brewing, 21st Amendment, ThirstyBear Organic Brewery, Magnolia Brewing, Almanac Beer, Marin Brewing, Black Sands Brewery, Alvarado Street Brewing, St. George Spirits, Wright and Brown Distilling and many more.

Handcrafted beers with Admiral malts will begin to roll out into the Bay Area marketplace on draft over these next few weeks, including Admiral Maltings Ale (ThirstyBear: Strong Blonde Ale brewed with 100% Admiral malt, hopped with Magnum, Jaryllo, and X-17); McCrary Pale Ale (Faction: Named after Capt. Frank R. McCrary, the first commanding officer of the Naval Air Station Alameda, brewed with 100% Admiral malt, hopped with Grüngeist); Official Name TBA (Magnolia: English-Style Blonde Ale with 100% Admiral malt, hopped with Sterling and Saaz); Official Name TBA (Drake’s: Pale Ale brewed with 100% Admiral malt, hopped with Cascade); as well as a special one-off brew that’s a cross between an English and American style hoppy beer from Russian River; a hazy, yeast-driven double IPA and West Coast IPA from Alvarado Street; and two SMASH beers from Black Sands.

The first batch of Admiral malt is Maiden Voyage, a biscuity, pale malt with earthy and sweet aromas of dry grass, toast with honey and peanut butter. Fritz Durst grew the Organic Metcalfe barley used in Maiden Voyage on his dry-farmed fields outside Woodland, CA.

While the resinous hop cone may have grabbed much attention in recent years, malt is the true backbone and soul of craft beer. Today, most malt is mass-produced by a few, very large manufacturers. Only a handful of malting companies around the world still practice the art of floor-malting, wherein small batches of grain are steeped in water, allowed to germinate in a thin layer on the malt floor, gently turned, then dried and cured in a kiln. Craft brewers and distillers revere floor-malted barley for its flavor, aroma and character. Admiral Maltings will combine traditional methods with modern quality control technology to produce consistently fresh, distinctive and innovative malt. Each batch of Admiral Malt can be directly linked to one farmer, one field and can express the terroir of the barley in a way none of the larger commercial malting facilities could hope to achieve.

With access to fresh, top quality ingredients, brewers are able to advance their craft while strengthening community ties and reducing their carbon footprint. In working with local farmers, brewers help create a new market for barley, wheat and other grains that are well suited to California’s arid climate and can be dry-farmed, grown without irrigation. Admiral Maltings sources all of its grain using organic or no-till practices to promote ecological health.

Admiral Maltings is comprised of three stalwart Bay Area craft beer and malt experts. Ron Silberstein is the owner and founding brewmaster of ThirstyBear Organic Brewery. A founding member of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, Silberstein is a graduate of the inaugural class of the American Brewers Guild and a graduate of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre’s (CMBTC) Malt Academy — the only such course in North America.

Dave McLean is the founding brewmaster of Magnolia Brewing Company. A founding board member of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, McLean has a diploma from the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and is a diploma member of the London based Institute for Brewing and Distilling.

Overseeing the day-to-day malting operations at Admiral Malting is co-founder Curtis Davenport. With a background in biology and organic farming, Davenport built a small-scale malting system in 2013 to malt and sell his barley harvest to craft brewers and artisan bakers in Southern California. He has completed malting courses at the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre and North Dakota State University.

About Admiral Maltings

Admiral Maltings produces premium quality malt using traditional floor-malting methods and sustainably grown, locally sourced grain. With our focus on process, terroir and grain variety, Admiral Maltings seeks to meet the changing demands of a growing craft beer and spirits industry by offering creativity, choice and innovation to craft brewers and distillers. Admiral Maltings fosters a robust connection between craft brewers and distillers and their local agricultural community.