DBTB Episode 101: Caleb Michalke of Sugar Creek Malt

Corn gets beat up in beer circles. 

That’s thanks to years of it being maligned by craft brewers who saw it as an adjunct ingredient that didn’t bring a lot to the conversation or messed with “purity.” 

Corn is dynamic. Flavorful. Impactful in a beer recipe and should be celebrated. 

That’s why in Indiana, a state known for corn production, there are rows and rows being grown annually by Caleb Michalke.

He’s the owner, maltster, and farmer of Sugar Creek Malt Co. The farm come up in our conversations quite a bit so it made sense to dial him up. 

Small breweries are into what Michalke is doing. And after you listen to this episode, you’ll hear why. 

Yes, Rauchbier fans we are talking about smoked beer during the show, but there is more to Sugar Creek than their smoked malt program. The products are  historical and forward thinking. The farm It’s the constant worry of a grower and that undefinable urge to push forward anyway. 
From talking about harvesting malt that hasn’t been grown since World War II and is now destined for lagers, to building his own brewery, and how malt is OK being the bass player in the beer band, Michalke is the cartographer of the roadmap of his business as he drives. 
This episode is sponsored by:
Briess is the leading supplier of specialty malt to craft brewers  They offer the broadest product line in the industry, including a wide range of roasted malts that add flavor, color, and character to beer. Their experienced operators handcraft every batch of roasted malt to ensure the product you get is consistent.  Check out BrewingwithBriess.com for beer recipes using roasted malt.

NZ Hops, the co-operative of Master Hop Growers are a passionate collective of farms dedicated to innovation and sustainability. Leading the charge in sustainable farm practices, some NZ Hops farms have over five generations of knowledge that inform their composting program, used by growers to promote healthy regenerative growth of hops year upon year. This creates high quality soil, a critical component of healthy growing conditions. At NZ Hops, they feel that sustainability is not only being a steward for the land, but for our future. We’re in it together. 

New Holland Brewing Co.
Dragon’s Milk White from New Holland Brewing Company reimagines what a stout can be. Your vessel will be filled with the color of gold, and yet there is more to this white stout than meets the eye. Aged in bourbon barrels, Dragon’s Milk White is smooth and velvety, abounding with notes of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla to present classic stout flavors in a delicious new way, all in a session-able 6% ABV package. Find Dragon’s Milk White near you at dragonsmilk.com

About Drink Beer, Think Beer With John Holl

Drink Beer, Think Beer is a weekly podcast gets to the bottom of every pint with brewers, growers, and industry leaders on all aspects of the brewing industry. From ingredients and process, to philosophy and the art in each beer, the podcast is hosted by long-time journalist John Holl and is available on all the major podcast platforms.

Beer Edge releases new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl every Wednesday


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