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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Introducing Pilot Malt House, Locally Grown and Malted Grains

By Steve Siciliano

Germinated grain
Siciliano’s Market’s beer making customers will soon have the option of using locally grown and malted grains to produce their hand crafted ales and lagers.

Pilot Malt House has been in the planning stages for the past eighteen months and, according to co-owner Erik May, the operation is currently awaiting lab analysis reports before making products available to area breweries, distilleries and homebrewers.

May said that the Jenison, Michigan, malting operation will initially focus on three base grains—a 2-row, a 6-row and wheat—but will eventually produce a number of base malt varieties as well as a line up of specialty grains.

“The quality of the product is paramount,” May said. “We won't add new varieties until those we are currently producing are hitting the benchmarks we set. We are working with a local lab to produce independent analysis of our grains to assist us with a robust quality assurance/quality control process and to offer the analysis to customers.”

Malted grain
May said that a passion for craft beer and homebrewing was the motivation he and partner Paul Schelhaas needed to start the malting operation. “We feel really strongly, as do many others, about the Michigan craft beer industry and the explosive growth we've all seen in recent years. It has really become a source of pride for so many, those involved in the industry and just those that are avid fans.”

May said that he and Schelhaas are excited about the prospect of bringing local farmers together with local brewers. “The tighter the craft beer and spirit supply chain is, the better off we all are, provided there is no compromise on quality.”

The malt house is currently getting its grain from a farm near Niles and is planning on working with a number of additional growers, one of which is a farm located just northwest of Grand Rapids that also grows hops.

“We decided early on that it was best to leave the growing to the experts,” May said.

Look for products from Pilot Malt House
to hit the shelves at Siciliano's very soon!

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