MiVT: Vermont Malthouse

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 2:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, Vt. (WCAX) - At Charlotte’s Vermont Malthouse, their mission is clear.

“We make malt,” said Rob Hunter of the Vermont Malthouse.

While that may not mean much to the average consumer, Vermont and New England beer lovers reap those benefits directly.

“You can make beer without hops but you can’t make beer without malt,” Hunter said.

The folks at Vermont Malthouse say they are the only malthouse in the state. They’re currently putting out about 45 tons of malt per month. Upgrades in the works will help them put out 75 tons a week and potentially 150 tons a week down the road.

For now, the malting process is simple but takes about eight days.

First, the grains are brought in, quality-checked and soaked.

“Essentially we get them from 12% moisture up to 44% moisture,” Hunter explained.

Once that’s done, they’re dropped into a climate-controlled room to grow.

“We want to make the best environment for the grains to grow in,” Hunter said.

Then, they’re dried and kilned before being vacuumed up by the appropriately named Suc 500, bagged, and trucked off.

All of these grains are sourced regionally at the very least, with about 20% coming from Vermont.

“Our goal is to be 100% Vermont but it’s a tough climate. So we’re working with a lot of growers right now to get their abilities up to creating high-quality grain that we need to use in order to make the malt,” Hunter said.

Sourcing from Vermont growers comes with a variety of benefits. Malthouse Manager Hunter says among them-- helping offset the loss of dairy in our state.

“At full capacity, we’re going to need probably about 2,000 acres worth of farmland to produce the barley that we need. And our goal is to help farmers transition from dairy to the growing of these grains so that we can actually save these family farms,” he said.

You can enjoy Vermont Malthouse malt in Lawson’s Brave Little State, foam beers, as well as Hired Hand and Hogback. That could expand as Vermont Malthouse continues work to connect Vermont farmers with Vermont’s beer scene.

“We’re just so fortunate to have this community of just amazing brewers,” Hunter said. “I’m always excited to go there and take this product, this locally grown product, and then see what they can create with it.”

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