Oregon farm to grow and malt barley on-site
Christensen Farms Malting Company in Oregon’s Willamette Valley plans to soon become the first commercial operation capable of supplying small batches of site-malted grain.
Fifth-generation farmer Zach Christensen, 33, is planning to launch a malting operation on his family’s farm early next year.
Other small brewers have grown and malted barley to produce ‘estate’ beers, but Christensen’s farm will be one of the first small-batch maltsters targeting craft brewers in the country.
Christensen’s alma mater, Oregon State University, is currently working on small-scale malting techniques that can be used on Oregon-grown barley.
His family has 3,000 acres raising mostly grass seed and another 500 growing hazelnuts. But with the grass seed industry reeling, he has shifted more than 200 acres to barley, which he is reserving for malting. Christensen developed the pilot plant in a 5,000-square-foot building on his farm. He intends to use it to house the larger-scale system to come as well.
Christensen is now making the final adjustments to a smaller-sized steeper, germinator and kiln system that will process up to 10 tons at a time.