Friday, April 13, 2018

In Our Backyard

... is the Port of Vancouver. Established in 1912, the port handles more than 7 million tons of cargo per year and is a global leader in importing wind energy components. A diverse list of products come and go through the Port of Vancouver from all over the world. Not its largest, but perhaps it's oldest, tenant is Great Western Malting.

The Port of Vancouver sponsors a lecture series born of the questions arising out of their public tours. This week's lecture was presented by Great Western Malting.

Great Western Malting has been at the Port since 1934, the oldest malting company in the western United States. Part of GrainCorp, they are currently the fourth largest malter in the world. Most malting companies produce 4-6 malts. Great Western Malting produces 35 and serves not only major breweries but craft beer since 1977. Right here.

Mike O'Toole, President of Great Western Malting, presented an overview of the company's history, current capacity, and its diversity of products. They supply brewers, distillers, and food processors.

Teri Fahrendorf, brewing for nearly 30 years and founder of the Pink Boots Society, currently manages the Malt Innovation Center at Great Western Malting. Malt innovation is a highly technical and creative subject as was Teri. She talked about Great Western Malting's history, their brew lab and tap room, and the week-long process of malting, among other things. She discussed innovations in technique and processes and provided samples of malts at various stages that we could taste. It was clear that she is passionate about everything she does.

Amanda, newly hired by Teri and a recent graduate from Oregon State University in Fermentation Science discussed the science behind malting, the biologic transformation of barley to malt. I don't think that discipline was even invented when I went to school. Not exactly beer school, it is pretty amazing to think of all the very technical science related to beer and Amanda did a great job sharing that with us.

It's also pretty amazing to think that all of this is right here. In our own back yard.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the Port of Vancouver and Great Western Malting. It was the second in the Port lecture series that I attended and I enjoyed them both. Taking one of their public tours is definitely on my list.

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