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.


Industry All Access Exclusive

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.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

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.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

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.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

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.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

The Climate Crisis is Coming for the Barley Crop

Growers, breeders, maltsters, and brewers will need to adapt faster than they have in the past if they’re going to keep up with accelerating change.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

Taking Malt for a Test Drive: Pilot Kits Help Maltsters Show Brewers What’s Possible

It’s not standard equipment in every malthouse, but many maltsters large and small are using their own pilot breweries to test, demonstrate, and help customers get the best possible malt for their needs.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

Dialing It in: Making the Case for a Malt Sensory Program

Independent brewers are prolific consumers of malt, increasingly nudging growers and maltsters into more characterful varieties. What’s lacking is wider adoption of programs that can evaluate and analyze that character—and then communicate it to drinkers.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

Turnkey Breweries Offer Another Path to Growth

A defunct brewery up for sale can be ideal for others looking to open or expand quickly—but this often comes with compromises on location, size, and space. Here, brewery operators who’ve recently been down that road share some lessons learned.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

Malt Producers Evolve for a Changing Beer Industry

As small breweries proliferate, the largest malt producers—known for consistency, quality, and scale—aim to innovate and stay nimble to serve the changing market.

BY: Ben Keene

Industry All Access Exclusive

Leveraging Local: Craft Malt as a Path to Success & Sustainability

Quality, price, and scalability remain drawbacks for small-batch local malt, but many small breweries argue that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

BY: Ben Keene