Many know Seth Klann as the owner, farmer, and maltster at Mecca Grade, an estate malthouse in Madras, Oregon but I know him as a champion of flavorful malt.
In this episode, Klann discusses his path from drinking macro beer in college to malting estate grain at Mecca Grade (0:40). He dives deep into his farm acreage (3:47), how his malting process contrasts to big malt houses (6:03), his one-of-a-kind uni-malter (10:11) and what typical malt production looks like at Mecca Grade (11:47). Klann also touches on how malt can be the new hops (14:07), his biggest supports and supporting local agriculture (17:12) and integrity in craft beer (19:26).
The state of craft malt and estate malt in North America (21:07) sets the stage for Klann to highlight the variables driving the unique flavor of Mecca Grade malts (25:05) and why he believes craft malt should not be relegated to specialty grains alone (29:42). He overviews the history of Full Pint barley (32:27) and how it helps differentiate Mecca Grade (37:12).
Klann touches on his research and development process (40:10) and updates us on the status of Mecca Grade’s proprietary barley variety that was bred for novel flavors (42:37). He talks about the significance of doing fewer things exceptionally well, instead of many things marginally well (45:56) and then shares his grist recommendations for New England IPAs, Farmhouse ales, Mixed-fermentation beers, and Rye IPAs (49:23) before highlighting how Mecca Grade’s Opal malts are not your traditional crystal/caramel malts (53:48).
The conversation shifts from malt production to Klann’s newly licensed brewery (57:32) and how he connects with local producers and anticipated life after the COVID-19 pandemic (1:00:52). He praises the determination of homebrewers to push the envelope of flavor in craft beer (1:06:29) before highlighting his annual celebration of indigenous ingredients called Brewing Man/Fermethera (1:06:29). Lastly, Klann discusses how you can contact him and purchase Mecca Grade Estate Malt (1:10:40).