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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.

Ben Keene May 23, 2022 - 13 min read

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

Todd Boera and some Bloody Butcher corn. Photo: Courtesy Fonta Flora.

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Todd Boera has been brewing Bloody Butcher for almost a decade. Made with a namesake variety of red heritage corn, the grisette is part of the year-round lineup at Fonta Flora, the North Carolina brewery where he is partner and head of brewing operations.

From the beginning, Boera has used this grain raw, preferring its flavor over malted corn. In his words, using a grain in its raw form showcases its “unadulterated flavor.” Dry and slightly funky with a lemony tartness, Bloody Butcher: Appalachian Grisette has gained a fanbase beyond the boundaries of the Tarheel State. It has also introduced other brewers to an ingredient they likely hadn’t considered using before tasting this beer.

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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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