Drinking Rice on The Rice Stuff Podcast

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Take a deep dive into the world of brewing with rice
May 25, 2021
ARLINGTON, VA – Many people are surprised to learn the largest end-user of U.S.-grown rice is Anheuser-Busch.  The brewing empire uses rice in Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and to a lesser extent the new Bud Light Seltzer drinks that are sure to fill coolers at newly-opened beaches and backyard barbecues this summer.  That was just one of the interesting rice facts that made it into a trivia night back at Washington, DC’s Hellbender Brewing as part of USA Rice’s popular 2019 Ride With Rice program.

That consumer activation led to the first collaboration between USA Rice and the craft brewer, resulting in a Louisiana purple rice saison that debuted in 2020.  This project, and others like it, are the focus of “The Beerisode,” the newest episode of The Rice Stuff podcast.

“We’ve been talking a lot about agronomy, trade issues, and promotion on the podcast, but we haven’t spent a lot of time talking about the end results of all the hard work that goes into bringing rice to consumers,” explained show co-host Michael Klein.  “We decided to take a deep dive into the world of brewing with rice – the unique challenges the ingredient presents, and the wonderful results that can be achieved.”

Hellbender Brewing Company’s co-founder and head brewmaster, Ben Evans, joined the podcast to talk about his experiences using rice in beer for the first time and the subsequent rice beer projects he’s working on.

USA Rice Director of Domestic Promotion and beer enthusiast Cameron Jacobs sat in with Klein and co-host Lesley Dixon to talk about Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to sustainability and the rice industry, and a local Louisiana brewer, Crying Eagle, that makes a Louisiana Lager with long grain rice from up the street.

Klein said that in the interest of journalistic integrity they had to taste the products they were discussing to get a clear picture of the issues.

“Of course, we enjoyed these products responsibly, however, it was fortunate that we recorded at the end of the day,” he said.

“It was interesting to hear Ben talk about the variety of ingredients he experiments with in pursuit of an interesting and satisfying beer, and his commitment to using local ingredients when possible – something Anheuser-Busch certainly does with most of their rice coming from within a 30-minute drive of their Arkansas mill,” said Dixon.  “It was another side to this very satisfying adult beverage that I think everyone will find informative.”

New episodes of The Rice Stuff are published on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month and can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.  All episodes and additional information can be found on the podcast’s dedicated website at thericestuffpodcast.com.  The site includes a “Podcast 101” section on the “About” page for people new to the medium and a means to reach out to the show hosts and guests via the “Talk to Us” button.