May 13, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA -- American Craft Beer Week started in 2006 as a way to bring beer lovers and retailers together in celebration and support of craft breweries and all that they contribute to their communities. And while U.S.-grown rice has been an ingredient in commercial beer production for a long time, craft breweries are using rice to deliver new and unique flavor profiles.
Traditionally, when rice is used in beer production it lightens the color and body of the beer and produces a much drier product in comparison to similar brewing ingredients like corn. Initially the use of rice in brewing was all about the clean and dry drinkability, but the craft beer world is utilizing rice as more of an adjunct ingredient -- a non-malt source of fermentable sugar that boosts the alcohol in a beer while keeping it light on the palate.
In rice country, you can sample home-grown favorites like "Louisiana Lager" from Crying Eagle Brewery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, "2nd Rodeo" at Lost Forty Brewing in Little Rock, Arkansas, and "Farmers Light" from Farmers Brewing Company in Princeton, California.
"The nation's capital is not technically rice country, but you can get craft beer brewed with U.S.-grown rice here, too," said Cameron Jacobs, USA Rice director of domestic promotion. "Thanks to a connection we made during last fall's Think Rice Truck Tour and a rice trivia event at Hellbender Brewing Company in the Fort Totten neighborhood that turned into a beer brewing opportunity."
Hellbender partnered with Black Narrows Brewing Company of Chincoteague, Virginia, and used Blanca Isabel Purple Rice grown in Louisiana to brew “Serves You Rice” a purple rice saison with can art featuring rice fields, industry messaging, and Federation logos. In addition to “Serves You Rice,” which was available in six-packs, Hellbender also created another U.S.-grown purple rice beer called “Social Rice-Olation,” a slightly tart brett saison with a higher alcohol content, available only in crowlers.
“Craft breweries do a lot to bolster the economy from using local ingredients to job creation to providing community gathering places. And we really appreciate the fact that the local ingredient many are using is U.S.-grown rice,” said Jacobs.