Local Farm-to-Beer Partnerships are Brewing in Arizona
On July 31st, Sinagua Malt invited local beer enthusiasts to its first ever tap takeover at the Attic Alehouse in Phoenix. Local First Arizona’s Business Sustainability Coordinator, Jake Swanson, was able to sample some of the 10 different all-local AZ beers and learn more about this groundbreaking collaboration.
The journey to creating an all-local Arizona beer started with a crop of malt barley planted by Hauser and Hauser Farm and Speck Farm. After harvest, the barley was taken to Sinagua Malt for malt processing. Once the malt was beer-ready, it was sent to local brewers like Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., Wren House Brewing Co., and Pedal Haus Brewery where it was used to make unique craft brews. Not only does this new farm-to-beer system lead to fantastic brews, it also keeps 47 million more gallons of water in the Verde River each year.
This hyper-local system emerged from a conversation between the Verde Conservation District and the Nature Conservancy about how to reduce the strain on the Verde River. With the realization that malt barley uses up to fifty percent less water than a standard Verde Valley summer crop like alfalfa or corn, yet sells for a similar rate, a solution fell into place. These days, Sinagua Malt, a benefit corporation in Camp Verde, processes four tons of malted barley each week for local breweries and bakeries.
To put things in perspective, a standard beer takes roughly 37 gallons of water to make. The average person utilizes 80-100 gallons of water at home every day. Going out for a few beers with friends could easily match or outweigh the water used at home. Lucky for Arizonans, beers brewed through this partnership with Sinagua Malt are making water conservation and going local as easy as reaching for another pint.
But how good can this malt be?
I was able to chat with master brewers from Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Pedal Haus Brewery and Wren House Brewing at Sinagua Malt’s Tap Takeover at Attic Ale House. The brewers confirmed that the malt it is an aromatic and flavorful product with incredible versatility. For them, choosing a local, water conservative option was a no brainer. Arizona Wilderness Brewing specifically stated that as long as Sinagua Malt is being produced, they will make mouth-watering brews with it. With 10 unique Sinagua beers on tap at Attic Ale House, the diversity of flavor was obvious and delicious.
Wondering where can you snag one of these locally sourced, water-conscious beers?
Pedal Haus Brewery and Wren House Brewing have both made one brew with the malt and AZ Wilderness Brewing has made eight different beers. All are available at their locations and the Attic Ale House, if you get there soon! With multiple local companies collaborating to support local farmers and conserve water, it’s easy to make a difference. Go check out the Sinagua Malt and dive those taste buds into a creative and tasty solution.