Ben Keene

Author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour, a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Beer, and former editor of BeerAdvocate, Ben Keene has judged beer competitions across the US and has spoken at industry conferences and conventions. He lives in Seattle.

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Malt Insider: Mining the Might of a Magical Mold

Could koji malt open new doors to flavor for creative brewers? Some researchers and a few breweries already are tinkering with the versatile molds responsible for sake, shōchū, and more.

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When Investing in a Mash Filter Press Makes Sense

While not without its costs, a mash filter press can dramatically increase efficiencies and lower costs. It can also open the door to some unusual beers that would be challenging or impossible with a typical lauter tun.

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Faithful to the Field: Putting Raw Grains to Work in the Brewery

In pursuit of character and in support of farms, brewers are looking to unmalted grains, including unusual varieties and those grown close to home.

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Get Ahead of the Season Ahead: Tight Barley Supply in 2022

A poor harvest in North America last year is combining with hot weather and war in Europe to constrain supply and raise prices. However, there are reasons to be optimistic. Here’s what you need to know to stay on top of your malt supply.

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Old Malt, New Tricks: Adding Flavor and Interest with Heritage Varieties

Some brewers are turning to heritage barley varieties for malts that can add new character to their beers—and attract new fans.

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Storage Wars: Battling Mother Nature to Keep Your Grain Fresh and Pest-Free

The enemies of fresh malt are many, and some have legs and multiply. The damage can be costly. Here are practical tips on keeping your grain high, dry, and free of critters.

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Rising Prices, Shrinking Supplies: Malt Is in for a Rough Year

A historically poor barley harvest is piling on to supply-chain and cost issues that independent brewers have been facing with raw materials. Here’s what you need to know before placing your next order.

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In a Jam: Record Heat Causes Shortages, Driving Up Fruit Costs

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but fruit does—and yet, it can be a finite resource. For all the talk of how climate could affect malt and hops, fruit is another raw material of modern beer that’s vulnerable to weather, as well as to supply-chain issues.

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Linking Barley Varieties to the Taste of Your Beer

It’s an immensely complex task, but sensory science and chemical analysis are bringing us closer to understanding the relationship between barley genetics and beer flavor.

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Terroir by the Ton: Regionally Adapted Malt Has a Future

Efficiency and the needs of industry have dominated North American barley growing, limiting what’s grown and where. However, independent brewers seeking locally grown options are spurring the development of new, distinctive varieties in unusual places.