Podcast Episode 152: Matt Riggs of Riggs Beer Goes Grain-to-Glass with Estate-Grown Ingredients and Six-Row Malt

Fifth-generation farmer, first-generation brewer Matt Riggs dives into the farming of their low-oil corn, wheat, and six-row barley, while sharing insights on brewing with these ingredients to make beers inspired by years in Germany.

Jamie Bogner , Riggs Beer Company Sep 14, 2020 - 5 min read

Podcast Episode 152: Matt Riggs of Riggs Beer Goes Grain-to-Glass with Estate-Grown Ingredients and Six-Row Malt Primary Image

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For Matt Riggs, the drive to open a brewery on their family farm in central Illinois was driven by two passions—a desire to sustain the farm into future generations by adding value to their crops beyond typical commodity pricing, and a love of the German brewing tradition fostered by years spent there studying brewing (and brewing professionally). As farmers, the Riggs family has a special love for the agricultural side of brewing, and now grows 60 acres of barley, wheat, and corn that they malt nearby and use in their various beers.

In this episode, Riggs discusses:

  • the ins and outs of six-row barley, and how he uses it in their American Lager
  • the origins of their low-oil corn variety, and the gelatinization process necessary when brewing with unprocessed corn
  • yields and varieties for their various brewing crops
  • how they efficiently accommodate out-of-spec grains in the brewing process
  • the cost, challenge, and philosophical background of vertical integration
  • brewhouse strategies for achieving classic characteristics like head retention in American lager
  • supplementing with two-row barley when seasonal variations require it

And much more.

From field to fermentor, Riggs Beer has focused on a tight integration between agronomics, farming, beer design, and brewing technique. In this detailed conversation, Matt Riggs explores the various ways each impacts each other.

This episode is brought to you by:

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].