With its bright fluorescent lights and shiny malting gear that trails tubes and cords, the Hogarth floor-malting room has the feel of a hospital operating theatre. In contrast to its clinical appearance, the air is invitingly fragrant with the sweet and earthy aroma of warm, moist malting barley in the germ stage.
Craft brewers produce premium beer on a small but spirited scale, though often can’t maintain in-house laboratories to manage quality control. Calgary’s Raft Brew Labs, comprised of a small team of chemists and microbiologists, provides the scientific analysis brewers need to ensure their end-products are safe and consistent.
Farmer Keith Woynorowski built the Hammer Malt facility and the entire malting system from scratch. He processes the farm’s own malting barley within silver, cylindrical dairy tanks repurposed as combination kilns and germination vessels. The malt is transported from one stage of processing to the next through pneumatic tubes and the entire system is computer automated. Far from being cobbled-together in appearance, the rig looks something like a homey space station.
Non-alcoholic beer is often associated with weak flavour, or worse, no flavour. But that’s changing. More and more, consumers are reaching for low- or no-alcohol beers when they’re cutting calories or avoiding alcohol. A growing variety of options and flavour profiles is now available to beer lovers.