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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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From Pivot to Permanent: Looking Ahead to the Post-Pandemic Landscape

Breweries that altered their businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic are beginning to see that many of those changes will stick around. Here are several ways the industry will look different on the other side.

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Brewing with Purpose: Making the Most of a Good-Cause Beer

Last year was big for brews that raised funds and awareness for causes, from social injustice to hospitality workers in need. Here, four brewers from different parts of the country share experiences and advice on doing the most good with good-cause beers.

Raw Materials: Hop Producers Cope with Crisis

The pandemic’s unpredictability also affects the laborers, farmers, and dealers who supply breweries’ raw ingredients. Their experience, flexibility, and optimism are helping to buffer a potentially volatile market.