Oskar Blues Brewery in Austin, Texas, is now brewing their flagship beer, Dale’s Pale Ale, using locally crafted malt developed by neighboring malthouse, Blacklands Malt. The Oskar Blues team is excited to incorporate quality, sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients, while supporting the community and calling attention to the art of craft malting. Dale’s Pale Ale brewed with Blacklands malt is now available throughout Texas and surrounding states.
Dale’s Pale Ale has historically been brewed with commercial Munich malt; but an idea started germinating when Oskar Blues’ Head of Brewing Operations, Tim Matthews, met Blacklands’ founder, Brandon Ade, in 2016.
“Two malt geeks get together and before you know it, you’re talking about the future,” said Matthews. “Malt people understand the long term, the agronomic aspects, mother nature, and the pursuit of flavor.”
Ade started Blacklands Malt in 2012. Located in Leander, Texas, approximately 20 miles from the Oskar Blues Austin Brewery, Blacklands was the first malthouse in the modern history of Texas. The company uses equipment custom-designed and built in the U.S. and sources grain only from Texas and Colorado.
“I started Blacklands because I wanted to sit in a bar with my buddies, have a beer and know that the malt in that beer was made in Texas,” said Ade. “I wasn’t going to wait around for someone else to figure that out. People should be able to be proud that these products were made right here.”
Ade and Michael Harris, Oskar Blues’ Head Brewer in Austin and malt enthusiast, first started working together by incorporating Blacklands malt into specialty beers; then in the fall of 2017 they started talking about a larger project.
What followed were months of research and development, and collaboration between the two teams, including the Oskar Blues’ lab headed by Brian Roye. Eventually the kiln schedule and recipe were dialed in to develop Brown Field 10 Texas Munich, which meets the color and toasty flavor profile required to brew Dale’s Pale Ale.
“I don’t know of any other iconic flagships doing something like this,” said Matthews. “And we hope people will start coming into the taproom and saying, ‘I want something with Texas malt in it.’ It’s sustainable, and contributing back to a sustainable world is definitely important to us. This is a major way we can illustrate that.”
Ade added that it’s important to raise awareness around the connection between the consumer and the supply chain, and to call attention to the farmers that grow the barley that ends up in beer. Blacklands has worked with Texas A&M University since 2012 on research that aims to empower farmers to grow barley.
“It’s about supporting farm families outside of hops – hops get a lot of limelight. Malting is equally important,” he added.
Founded over 20 years ago in Lyons, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft beer-in-a-can apocalypse with their hand-canned flagship brew, Dale’s Pale Ale. Today, Oskar Blues operates breweries in Colorado, North Carolina and Texas while reaching 200,000 barrels per year and featuring Dale’s Pale Ale as the nation’s #4 top-selling craft can six-pack at U.S. supermarkets. Oskar Blues is available in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and parts of 17 other countries. Along with Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing Company, Squatters Craft Beers and Wasatch Brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing and Three Weavers Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery is a member of CANarchy, a disruptive collective of like-minded craft brewers dedicated to bringing high-quality, innovative flavors to drinkers in the name of independent craft beer.