Ska Brewing Co. has a new silo at its brewery, one that is filled with malted grains from Proximity Malt, a Milwaukee-based malt producer with a plant in Monte Vista.
The green storage tank, which can hold more than 48,000 pounds of malted grains, will ensure that the brewery can store more ingredients – something that can be crucial if mountain passes close and distributors cannot get to Durango, said Jeffrey Mason, Ska’s plant manager.
This makes planning for ingredients much easier, Mason said. Silos must be completely emptied before they can be filled again, so timing a truck to bring malted grains, especially in the winter, can be challenging, he said. The new silo will give the brewery about a week of reserves so if it runs out of malt in one silo, the brewery doesn’t have to shut down.
“This will be a huge business advantage,” Mason said.
The silo also further solidifies a partnership between the brewing company and the malt distributor. Ska financed the silo through Proximity Malt, Mason said, and is paying it off with a premium on the malted grains it buys. The two companies have been working together since Proximity opened its Monte Vista plant about a year and a half ago, said Amy Germershausen, marketing director with Proximity Malt. The company supplies about half of Ska’s malts for its beers.
“We love Ska. They have been true supporters of us, and we are proud to be collaborating with them in creating new products,” she said.
Malted grains are a vital part of the beer-making process. The roasted grains add color and flavor to beer, providing a starch the yeast turns to alcohol. Barley is the most common malted grain, although beer can also be made from malted wheat, rye, oats, rice and corn.
The silo at Ska Brewing is now full of malted rye, a special product Proximity Malts produced for the brewery. The two are collaborating on a new brew: a dark rye saison called Green Silo Saison.
The plant is in the process of brewing that now and is planning to release Green Silo Saison on Jan. 11, Mason said.